Thank you to Patricia Ring, FHS Class of 1936, for her collection of newspaper articles about the WWII Veterans from Fairview High School.  After graduation, Patricia became Mrs. Roland Diers.  Roland, also a Fairview graduate, served in the U.S. Army during the war.

 

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In Honor of Fairview WWII Veterans

There is no greater love than this: that a man would
lay down his life for the sake of his friends, for when he gives up
his life, he gives up all that he has
.
 
— Reference to
John 15:12-14 —

At the beginning of December, 1941, Americans had suffered through the Great Depression for a decade.  Although the growing manufacture of armaments produced some economic stabilization, unemployment was still at 10%, the average weekly wage was about $29, and the federal government seemed to be out of new ideas to improve the economy.  The majority of Americans believed the Great Depression would last another 10 years. 

By this time, the rest of the world was at war and daily newspapers were full of war news, but Americans wanted no part of it.  Even though US Navy and merchant vessels had been attacked and sunk by German U-boats, there was still a strong and widespread sentiment that the United States should not become involved in the fighting that raged throughout Europe and the Pacific.  Americans had seen their sacrifice and contribution to victory in WWI last less than a generation, and they were in no mood to become involved again.  This was the world known to the students and recent graduates of Fairview High School in 1941.  

On Sunday, December 7th, everything changed.  The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor united Americans as they had never been before.  In all previous decisions to enter armed conflict, the people of the United States had been deeply divided.  Not this time.  It now became clear to most Americans that aggressive, totalitarian governments posed a mortal danger to our nation as well as the peace and stability of the world.  It would take a total commitment by the United States to rid the world of this danger.

Among the Americans willing to make this commitment were 1600 graduates of Fairview High School.  Before the war ended on August 15, 1945, fifty-one Fairview graduates would make the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

We will never know the full extent of the sacrifices made by our classmates who served in WWII.  We don’t know how many were wounded or injured and had to deal with the pain of their wounds for the rest of their lives.  We have no list of limbs lost or disfigured bodies.  We don’t know how many lives were shortened by disease or service-related injuries.  Nor will we ever grasp the mental anguish of some who could never forget the horrible scenes of death and suffering they witnessed, feelings of guilt that they survived while their comrades did not, or sorrow for the lives they took.  And we will never have any idea how our returning classmates struggled to forget combat and re-enter the peaceful home life they so often dreamed about.

How can we measure the pain of separation from families and loved ones?  Is it possible to put a value to years lost from a career, or leaving family dependent upon your financial support, or absence from a new spouse or young children?  How much does it hurt to know loved ones are worried about you every day?  To think about these things makes the word “sacrifice” somehow inadequate.

Space does not permit listing all of our classmates about whose service in WWII we have a record, but below are representative examples of the sacrifices made by all:

Sgt. Willard Marquardt, USMC, graduate of Fairview and Denison University, left his wife and teaching job to enlist in the Marine Corps.  He won a Bronze Star for gallantry while leading his squad to neutralize enemy occupied caves during the battle for Peleliu in 1944.  He was interviewed while recovering at home from a leg shattered by an enemy grenade; he expressed his pride in his six-month old daughter, and his hope to be a football coach when the war was over.  He did survive and was Athletic Director for Dayton Public Schools in the 1960’s.
Second Lt. Robert E. Wilcox, 15th AAF, was reported missing after a bombing mission over Yugoslavia.  His wife and parents were later informed he was being held as a POW.  He had been in the service for three years at the time of his capture.
Donald Barber enlisted in December 1941.  He was trained as a gunner on B-24 bombers and was wounded in his first mission over Germany.  After recuperation, he was assigned to a Marauder squadron in Italy.  After 12 missions he was reported missing in action when his plane failed to return.  His parents, of 41 W. Maplewood Ave. were later informed he was being held as a POW by the Germans.
Edsel Albert Weaver, USMC, 1st Marine Division, was killed in action on Peleliu, 1944.
Calvin V. Senseman, PFC, USMC, killed in action by a Kamikaze aircraft while serving aboard the USS New Mexico during the invasion of Okinawa in 1945.
Perry Ritchie, Major, AAF, Test Pilot, was serving in an important capacity testing combat aircraft, near Los Angeles where many aircraft factories were located.  Major Ritchie had been decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement and outstanding heroism” for his work testing the ability of the P-47 Thunderbolt to recover from a dive. He was killed in a crash during a test flight early in 1944.
• 22 year old Lt. Harold Howdieshell had a talent for capturing German soldiers.  He won a battlefield commission for two instances of capturing enemy soldiers while a member of the 84th Infantry Division in Belgium.  He was later awarded the Bronze Star for capturing 17 more of the enemy.  Lt. Howdieshell was killed in action in Germany March 1, 1945.
Pvt. Ken Kinzie worked at Delco after graduating from Fairview.  He and his wife, Genevieve, had a young son.  His parents lived at 21 Waverly Ave.  He had been in combat only three weeks when he was wounded in France on October 31.  He died from his wounds November 5.
SSgt. Richard M. Jackson was killed in action on December 28, 1944, in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge.
Lt. Blaine K. Wiesner, Army pilot, whose parents lived at 3720 N. Main, was reported missing in the Pacific after his plane failed to return from a mission.  Like all other service members, his next of kin were notified by a brief War Department telegram.  Lt. Wiesner never returned home.
First Lt. Eunice Thorp, who after Fairview graduated from Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing, volunteered as an Army Nurse in February, 1942.  In 1944 she was treating combat wounded in an evacuation hospital in Normandy, France.
Charles Driscoll, Jr. as one of the few Fairview graduates in the US Navy was assigned a very dangerous duty.  Charles, a Coxswain, piloted landing craft that moved assault troops from ship to shore in amphibious attacks on hostile shores.  In the war there was perhaps no more vulnerable target than landing craft plodding slowly ashore through the surf.  At some point, Charles Driscoll was reported missing in action and never returned home.
1st Lt. Arthur Carley, USMC, was the son of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Carley of 401 Willow Wood Dr., and the husband of the former Dorothy Daum, 612 Cambridge Ave.  After graduating from Fairview in 1937, Arthur attended UD for two years before transferring to Georgetown University where he graduated in 1941.  He enlisted in the Marine Corps, attending OCS in Quantico, VA., and reported for duty overseas in December of 1942.  Lt. Carley was wounded by shrapnel in the invasion of Saipan, which began June 15, 1944, just a week after the Normandy invasion of Europe.  After hospitalization in the Solomon Islands, Lt. Carley participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945, as a member of the 23rd Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.  He was killed in action during an enemy counter-attack on March 9.  He was survived by his wife Dorothy, a brother, Capt. Don Carley, USMC pilot, and a seven month old daughter, Susan, whom Lt. Carley never got to see.
Major George Oxrider was reported missing in action after his B-17 failed to return from an Easter Sunday mission over Poland.  George Oxrider was a B-17 pilot, 8th Air Force Squadron Commander and a Dayton hero.  After graduating from Fairview with honors he attended the University of Virginia.  He was in his third year of medical school at the University of Cincinnati, when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in July 1941.  In February, 1943, returning from a bombing mission over France, then Lt. Oxrider’s plane was hit by flak.  He flew the plane back to the coast of England with only 1 of his 4 engines operating.  Believing he had little chance to land safely, he convinced his eight other crew member to bail out, promising he would do the same.  After they jumped, he heroically landed the plane, in the process avoiding a group of children on the ground.  In a March 20, 1944 mission Major Oxrider’s plane lost 2 engines and had 4 bombs stuck in the bomb bay.  He went back to the bomb bay wearing a portable oxygen mask and managed to release the bombs one at a time.  His oxygen supply exhausted, he lost consciousness until a fellow crew member reconnected him to the main oxygen supply.  Revived, he went back to the bomb bay doors stuck in an open position and got them closed so the plane could return to England and land safely.  Major Oxrider received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters for meritorious achievement in five combat missions over enemy-occupied Europe.  He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the British Distinguished Flying Cross presented at Buckingham Palace.  George Oxrider, FHS Class of 1936, tragically, never returned home from the war to fulfill his potential and enjoy the peace his service helped bring to the world.

Each one of our classmates who served in WWII, no matter in what capacity, deserves a description of their contribution.  None of the contributions were glamorous.  They were more likely to be exhausting, lonely, boring and occasionally terrifying.  Each and every one of them agreed to offer their lives to their country.  They had no way of knowing what sort of danger and risk they would face before their contribution was completed.  We regret we cannot tell every story here, for it is our responsibility to remember.  We owe them a great debt.

The father of one of our classmates wrote the poem below while serving in Italy and sent it home to his wife who he hoped to see again one day.  Its simple lines express very eloquently the thoughts and feelings that must have been in the minds of our classmates as they did the hard work to create a future most of us have enjoyed ever since.

(Please view the news articles about Fairview’s WWII Veterans that follow the poem.)

 

A LONELY SOLDIER

 

While sitting under an Olive tree,

I take my pen in hand,

To write to my dear wife

In a far off land.

 

The moon is shining brightly,

The hour is half past ten,

I am guarding a bridge

With a few of my men.

 

The weather is warm

And the land is flat,

The Mosquitoes are big

But our “Skat” helps that.

 

With planes flying overhead

And vehicles all around.

It makes me wish that I were

Back in our old home town.

 

I love my wife so dearly

I know she loves me too,

Our home shall be a wonderful one

When all this war is thru.

 

Grave days lie ahead,

The path will not be smooth,

But we are quite safe,

Until our next move.

 

So until this war is over

We must put our trust in God.

And hope it won’t be too long.

Until I can step on U.S. Sod.

 

Our travels have been far

The experiences very strange,

But I’ll still take pre-war life,

Without too much change.

 

My poetry is poor,

But the thoughts are true.

So until I see you once again,

May God Bless You.

 

Written by 1st Lt. Paul Gorrell to his wife, Faith, on April 6, 1944 somewhere in Italy.

 

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This 1948 Tower News  article includes a list of the alumni from Fairview High School who made the supreme sacrifice in
This 1948 Tower News article includes a list of the alumni from Fairview High School who made the supreme sacrifice in World War II. (Image provided by Virginia Burroughs) More information about the stained glass window dedicated to these alumni can be found on the "FHS Stained Glass" page.

Additional information plus more news clippings from Patricia Ring Diers
scrapbook collection will be added to this page. 
Please check back often.

 

Those who contributed or facilitated information for this page:

The Diers Family

Mr. David Gates

The Gorrell Family

An anonymous 1966 FHS Alumnus who served in the U.S. Military