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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 28, 2012, Pages 1 & 8

Purple Heart medal for soldier killed in WWII conveyed here

 

A Purple Heart medal was conveyed to a family representative for a Mount Ayr soldier who was killed in World War II in a special ceremony at the Ringgold county courthouse assembly room Friday, July 19. The conveyance had never been made to the family of Ivan W. MICKAEL after his death in action in the Pacific on October 25, 1944. He was one of 55 Ringgold county men who died serving in World War II.

Accepting the medal in the ceremony given by the Purple Heart Association of Iowa was MICKAEL'S nephew, Charles MICKAEL of Mount Ayr. Jerry L. MEEK, a retired major in the U. S. Air Force and a representative of the Military Order of the Purple Heart organization, made the conveyance at the ceremony.

The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military.

Ivan MICKAEL was born in Ringgold county June 25, 1909, the son of Leroy B. MICKAEL and Lizzie WILSON MICKAEL. He never married and lived with his parents on farms in Athens township and Liberty township before the family moved to Mount Ayr prior to his father's death in 1939.

According to a short biography written by Raymond BANNER, MICKAEL was a large man, tall and stocky. He was remembered as quiet and reserved, easy going, good natured, having a ready smile or grin. He was also known as a dependable person.

In the 1930's MICKAEL had traveled to the Dakotas during the farming season and worked at such jobs as shucking corn. His main job was as a laborer for Charlie KREAMIER in plumbing and well construction from the time he was a young man until he entered the Armed Services at the age of 33.

He entered the service in March 1942 on the same day as his uncle [Page 8] Loyd "Bun" MICKAEL.

For the first part of his service time, he was stationed in San Diego, CA, doing guard duty. In April 1944 he was shipped out to Hawaii. He was a member of the 323 Infantry of the 81 Infantry Division.

The division joined other divisions in the slow and costly battles of the South Pacific war against Japan. One of the most costly battle sites to American forces was the island of Peleiu in the Palua islands of the Western Carolines, located 500 miles east of the Phillipines.

This seven-mile long, rain-drenched island with temperatures rising well over 120 degrees had some 11,000 Japanese soldiers dug into natural caves and fortified tunnels on the rough high ground, dedicated to defending the island to the death.

The island was supposed to be won in two days, but the battle took over two months to complete.

The 1st Marine Division landed on the beach there on September 15, 1944.

After heavy losses and battle fatigue, it was eventually re-inforced by the 81st Infantry Division, with the 321st division bearing much of the burden.

In late September 1944, MICKAEL'S unit, the 323rd, joined the battle.

The 81st Infantry was left to finish the conquest and he was killed on October 25. Organized Japanese resistance ceased on November 25.

His burial marker is next to his parents in Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.

His mother died in 1972 at the age of 94 and his sister, Alma, died in 1992.

Purple Heart medal

The Purple Heart is "conveyed" to family members of a dead veteran but can only be presented to the veteran himself, MEEK explained.

The first such medal was presented by General George Washington in 1782 but the U. S. Congress passed the law making it an official medal in 1932, it was noted.

The Purple Heart differs from all other decorations in that an individual is not "recommended" for the decoration -- rather he or she is entitled to it upon meeting specific criteria. An organization of veterans who have received the Purple Heart is active in Iowa, MEEK said.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, June of 2012

To submit your Ringgold County items, contact Sharon R. Becker at
srbecker@windstream.net.
Please include the word "Ringgold" in the subject line. Thank you.


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