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Wilbur Byron Koloen

Born 7/1/1920, Adams, Mower, Minnesota, USA
Gender Male
Parents Isaac and Elizabeth (Lewison) Koloen
Schools Attended

Graduated from Adams High School in 1939

Branch of Service Army
Army Air Force/Corps
Additional Identifiers Killed in Action
Service Timeframe 1941 - 1943
War/Conflict World War Two 1939-1945
Principal Units and Locations
Military Awards and Decorations

Purple Heart


Staff Sergeant Wilbur B. Koloen, was born in Adams, Minn., July 1, 1920. He was baptized in the Little Cedar Church on July 18th the same year. He received his early Christian training in the home in the Little Cedar Week-Day Bible School, and in the confirmation class. He was confirmed May 12, 1935 in this church. After confirmation he was a member of the Luther League and the Church Choir. He attended the Bible Camp one summer from which he received great spiritual blessings and assurance in his Christian faith.

His secular education was received in the Adams Public Schools, graduating from high school in 1939. He was very active in almost all extra activities in the high school, such as basketball, football, and other sports. He also had a keen interest in music and was a member of the high school band.

He attended the Basic course of instruction in Infantry Arm, at the Citizens' Military Training Camp held under the auspices of the War Department of the United States, at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the summer of 1937, and during the summer of 1938 he attended the Red Course of Instruction in Cavalry Arm, at the Citizens' Military Camp held under the auspices of the War Department of the United States, at Camp Harry McHenry, Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for which he received Military Training Certificates. He was a lover of horses and took much pleasure in horseback riding.

He volunteered in the United States Army, March 19, 1941. He was first placed in a Medical and Hospital Corps unit and stationed at Fort Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming. He took up the study of Dentistry and set out to specialize in this highly technical course, attending a special school at El Paso, Texas for three months.

However, as much as he liked the Medical Corps, he had a keen desire to get into the air. His wish was gratified when he was permitted to transfer his enlistment to the Army Air Corps His training in the air took him from his initial air corps training center at San Antonio, Teas to Sheppard Field, Wichita Falls, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Las Vegas, Nevada; Wendover Field, Utah; Scribner Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Kearney, Nebraska and then across to the eastern seaboard and down at Bangor, Maine. He flew across the Atlantic Ocean from an undisclosed base the latter part of April 1943, going to Great Britain.

On June 25, 1943, he was participating in a one-thousand-plane raid over Northwest Germany, when twenty-six fortresses were shot down by anti-aircraft fire and fighter planes.

On July 2nd his parents received a telegram from the War Department in Washington, D.C., stating that Wilbur was missing in action, and that when further information was received they would be promptly notified. On September 4th another telegram came stating the Wilbur was killed in action on June 25th. A letter from the War Department followed confirming the message of the telegram that Wilbur died on June 25th.

Shortly afterward his parents received the following message from the Secretary of State, dated September 27, 1943:

You will shortly receive the Purple Heart medal, which has been posthumously awarded by direction of the President to your son, Staff Sergeant Wilbur B. Koloen, Air Corps. It is sent as a tangible expression of our country's gratitude for his gallantry and devotion.

It is sent to you, as well, with my deepest personal sympathy for your bereavement. The loss of a loved one is beyond man's repairing, and the medal is of slight value; not so, however the message it carries. We are all comrades in arms in this battle for our country, and those who have gone are no, and never will be, forgotten by those of us who remain. I hope you will accept the medal in evidence of such remembrance.

Sincerely yours, Henry L. Stimson"