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Date of Birth: 12/5/1916
Died On: 1/12/1945
Street Address: 45 Wainwright Street
Service Number: 42048602
Branch of Service: U.S. Army - 1896th Engineers Battalion Aviation, 6th Army

Veteran Code: KIA-23

BIOGRAPHY Extended Information
George W. Strange Jr.

George W. Strange Jr. was born on December 5, 1916 in New Jersey, he lived on 45 Wainwright St. and later Intervale Place and graduated from Rye High School. He was the son of George W. and Jessie Fraser Strange. His father came to the US from England and his mothers parents came from Scotland and were members of the Presbyterian Church. In 1945 his mother, now a widow, was living at 448 Forest Avenue in Rye. George was married to the former Ruth E. Slater of Regent Street in Port Chester, NY when he enlisted in the U. S. Army on October 21, 1943.

George W. Strange Jr. first served as a Military Policeman MP and later was transferred to the 1896th Engineer Aviation Battalion stationed in Virginia.

Near the small town of Elko, VA, he and other trainees actually built a fake airport, complete with a runway, landing lights and empty buildings. It was a decoy to distract German bombers from the nearby Richmond Airfield should they cross the U.S. coastline. Luckily, the Nazi aviators never came calling.

After finishing up in Virginia, George headed by train for California. There he began a nearly-month-long voyage to New Guinea on a military transport ship with 3,500 men crammed aboard. After arriving in Lae, New Guinea, he helped build airfields and housing for American forces fighting the Japanese.

His second stop was Biak, where his Battalion followed the infantry ashore during a bloody fight to wrest the island from Japanese control. As the Army engineers there built roads and a landing strip for U.S. bombers, George helped fend off attacks from hold-out Japanese soldiers.

George attained the rank of Sergeant in the 1896th Engineers Aviation Battalion, part of the 6th Army which invaded the Philippines on the southern shore of the Linguyan Gulf. Despite their success in driving out the Japanese forces stationed there, they suffered relatively heavy losses; particularly to their convoys, due to Kamikaze attacks.

On New Year’s Day, 1945, his company joined an 80-ship convoy headed for the Philippines. Twelve days into the trip, near Corregidor, the convoy was attacked by 26 Japanese kamikazes.

His transport ship, the SS Kyle V. Johnson, was struck and badly damaged by one of the planes. When the plane hit the ship, it punched a huge hole in the starboard side and tore a second hole through an inside deck. Gasoline stored below for heavy engineering equipment then exploded in a massive fire.

From 4-12 January, a total of 24 ships were sunk and another 67 were damaged by kamikazes; including the battleships USS Mississippi, New Mexico and Colorado the latter was accidentally hit by friendly fire , the heavy cruiser HMS Australia, the light cruiser USS Columbia, and the destroyers USS Long and USS Hovey.

On January 12, 1945, the 1896th Engineers Aviation Battalions ship was enroot to the Philippines and attacked. George W. Strange Jr. along with 108 others were killed due to a kamikaze attack. His last letter to his wife and mother was dated Dec. 26th 1944. George is buried at Fort William Mckinley, Manila, the Philippines.

Following the landings, the Lingayen Gulf was turned into a vast supply depot for the rest of the war to support the Battle of Luzon. The goal of the 6th Army was Manila where it arrived late in January.


★ World War II Victory Medal★ Purple Heart★ American Campaign Medal★
Army Presidential Unit Citation★ Army Good Conduct Medal

Links to this Veterans History

  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 Walter Pryse October 7, 2023
Reviewer: Brittany McGraw from [email protected]  
I believe my grandfather, Walter Pryse out of Philadelphia, was part of this unit. He was hospitalized for jungle rot in November and December 1944 and did not board the SS Kyle V Johnson with the rest of his unit. He would not speak of it himself so we've only put together details and his journey from phone calls with Sergeant Neil Mulhern Jr. and his own letter sent home. He was also stationed in Tokoyo, Japan after the war has ended until listed aboard the ship Eastland in Jan 1946 due in Seattle, Washington. I would love to hear any additional stories you may have.

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  0 of 0 people found the following review helpful:
5 of 5 John F. Statz April 10, 2023
Reviewer: Steven Statz from [email protected]  
My late father was a member of this unit.  He said very little about his time in the war except he bragged that his unit built the bridges the marines crossed.  His unit was transferred to Japan after the war was declared over.  He also mentioned that during the Luzon landing he returned to the landing site to re-supply the front line and watch McArther repeat his arrival at the beachhead till he got it right with the press!  He also claimed while in Japan rebuilding their infrastructure that his unit was tasked to disassemble the partial structure for atomic weapon’s construction!  He return to America on a hospital ship soon afterwards.  When I was called to serve during the Vietnam war it tore him up from what he experienced during his service and was very proud that I returned in one piece too!

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