Remembering the sacrifices of Fox/502

The 101st Airborne Division lost 752 men while operating in the Netherlands from September 17 until November 26, 1944. During that campaign, 14 paratroopers of Fox Company, 502nd PIR, lost their lives. Some may have had a field grave before they were reburied at a temporary facility by the American Graves Registration, after which these men were given a final resting place when the war was over.  

Featured image: SGT Ted Blazina holding a BAR, Browning Automatic Rifle (Courtesy of his cousin, Ted Blazina). 

The temporary U.S. Military Cemetery at Wolfswinkel 

On September 19, 1944, a temporary U.S. Military Cemetery was set up at Wolfswinkel (Son) for the paratroopers and glidermen of the 101st Airborne Division. They were laid to rest together with the other dead soldiers from the field hospital at the sanatorium in Son. Soldiers of the American Graves Registration wrapped the deceased soldiers in available parachutes. German prisoners of war had to dig the graves for these men. Impressive rows of white crosses stood on the grounds of Wolfswinkel’s Cemetery. A sign at the entrance read “Here lie the honored dead of the 101st A/B DIV.” Ultimately, 411 American, 48 British, and one Canadian were buried in this temporary war cemetery. From 1944 to 1946, 236 German soldiers were also buried here, at the edge of the cemetery. These German soldiers were later reburied in Ysselsteyn in the province of Limburg. The British soldiers were reburied in British war cemeteries in Mierlo and Bergen op Zoom in 1947. 

PVT Johnnie Kilgore (Source: Daily Mountain Eagle, Thursday, November 9, 1944).


Around 1948, relatives of fallen American soldiers were given the choice of a reburial in America or a final resting place at the American cemetery at Margraten, Limburg. About 60% of the American dead soldiers were thus transferred to the United States. After all the dead at Wolfswinkel were reburied, the cemetery was closed down on May 30, 1949 (Source: 

SGT Ben Shaub (Courtesy of M. Bando collection).

F/502 trooper’s final resting place 

From Fox Company, nine paratroopers who were laid to rest at Wolfswinkel were reburied at Margraten. Al Mazzeo is the exemption of the F/502 KIA paratroopers buried close to their former battlegrounds. He is interred at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium probably because he had been treated in a Belgian hospital after he was fatally wounded at Best. Four Fox Company paratroopers were reburied back home: SGT Ted Blazina, PVT Johnnie Kilgore, SGT Ben Shaub, and SGT George Spear.
SGT George Spear (Courtesy of Donald van den Bogert).
If you are interested in learning more stories about these and other brave Fox Company paratroopers, please go check out the Flying Pencil News section or order a copy of the book in our webshop!

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