The United States National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. In 2021, the Day of Recognition is observed today 17-SEPTEMBER. Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.
The St. Charles County Veterans Museum honors and remembers several veterans in the museum who were POWs or MIA’s.
- Sgt. Robert “Bob” Garvey, Army Air Corps was a B-24 Nose Gunner. Bob was shot down on his 30th mission, wounded, and captured. Imprisoned for nearly a year, after a long ninety day march, their German guards walked their prisoners into American lines in Spring of 1945 and surrendered.
- Lt. John Hickman, Army Air Corp, was a P-51 pilot and was shot down over France doing recon for the Normandy invasion. He escaped from his German captors and with the help of the underground made his way to Switzerland in Spring of 1945.
- Lt. Glenn A. Harrison, was a B-17 co-pilot, shot down and captured. Glenn was imprisoned for about a year. Glenn was liberated by General Patton in Spring of 1945.
- Staff Sgt Emmitt “Bud” Harter, Army Air Corp, B-17 waist gunner was shot down over Germany. Bud was apprehended by German civilians armed with pitch forks and shotguns who prepared to lynch him. Fortunately, a German SS Major interceded and took him prisoner. Bud was liberated by General Patton in Spring of 1945.
Died as POW’s
- Pfc. Richard Bruce Maxon, served in the Marine Corps and fought at Corregidor. On 6-MAY 1942 the garrison surrendered, and Richard was held as a prisoner of war until his death in captivity. He died on 21-OCT-1942 in the camp. His body was never recovered.
- Pvt. Edward L. Griffith. While fighting in the Army after the breakout from the Battle of the Bulge, Edward was captured. Edward was a POW at Stalag 4B Muhlberg Sachsen 51-13. An official report says, Edward was “executed or shot while trying to escape” on 31-MAR 1945. He was repatriated and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in St. Charles MO.
- William R. Adams. 1st Lt. Adams served in the 38th Field Artillery Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. He was taken as a prisoner of war while fighting the enemy near Kunu-ri, North Korea during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir on 30-NOV 1950. He died while a prisoner on 4-APR 1951. William’s remains were returned, and he is buried at Sulphur Lick Cemetery in Lincoln County Missouri.
MIA’s Never Recovered
- Petty Officer 3rd Class, Aloysius Crockwell served in the US Navy on the USS Ticonderoga. His ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine on 30-SEP 1918. He was a member of the front gun crew. Aloysius was reported missing, presumed dead and his body never found.
- Pfc Francis Edmund Rose served with the Marine detachment on the USS Indianapolis, a heavy cruiser (CA-35). After carrying components of the atomic bomb to Tinian, the USS Indianapolis was sunk on 30-JUL 1945. Of a crew of 1195, about 900 went into the shark infested water. Just 317 sailors survived the nearly five day ordeal. Most of the crew was never recovered.
- Motor Machinist’s Mate 1st Class William Edward Vierling served aboard the USS Argonaut. The Argonaut was sunk by surface attack and depth charges near Rabaul while operating in the area southeast of New Britain during her third patrol. William was reported missing and ultimately declared dead on 10-JAN 1943.
- SGT Bernard W. Zimmerman was in the U.S. Army Air Corp as a radio operator on a B-17 in the 323rd Bomber Squadron. After action reports list the plane leaving formation and Bernard was initially reported as missing in action and later, he was officially listed as killed in action on 10-JUL 1943, body not recovered.
- CPL Ernest John Gerdts served in the 193rd Tank Battalion was missing in action during the battle of Kakazu Ridge on Okinawa. Only eight tanks of the thirty making the assault made it back. Ernest John Gerdts body was never recovered and remains missing in action. He was presumed dead 19-APR 1945. Note: We do not have a pictured of Gerdts.
- Coxswain, Petty Officer Frank George Wassilak served in the Coast Guard Reserve beginning in April 1942. He served on the USS Leopold, a destroyer escort built for the United States Navy, manned by a Coast Guard crew. The Leopold would serve in the North Atlantic on convoy duty. On 9-MAR 1943, they encountered a U-Boat, and a single torpedo was fired at the USS Leopold from point blank range. The Leopold was sunk. Though many sailors made it into the water, most perished because of the freezing temperatures and delayed rescue. Only 29 of the crew of 200 survived. Frank’s body was not recovered.
Read their stories at on this website under the “stories” tab.