Plymouth County

Pvt. Eugene Keihn

Born 26 Apr 1922
Died 16 Feb 1944


Our Neighbors in the Service

LeMars, Iowa – Private Eugene Keihn is spending a two-weeks furlough with his wife and parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Keihn. Private Keihn is in training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

Source: The Sioux City Journal, August 16, 1943

Wife Notified By Secretary Of War Department

Mrs. Eugene Keihn of LeMars received a telegram Thursday night from Washington D. C., saying “The Secretary of the War Department desires to express his deep regret that your husband, Private Eugene P. Keihn, has been reported missing in action since February 16, in Italy. Letter will follow. Acting Adj. General Dunlap.”

Mrs. Keihn received a letter dated February 14 from her husband in which he stated he was well. Private Keihn was home on furlough last October.

Private Keihn known to his friends as “Chink” was a sophomore at Western Union college after graduating from the LeMars high school. While at school and college he was prominent in athletics and a member of the football team and also played in the LeMars high school band. After induction into the Army, March 18, last year, he was sent to Camp Dodge and was successively at Camp Robinson, Ark., Camp Young, California, Shelby, Miss., and Fort Meade, Maryland, before going overseas. He left for overseas, November 18, and was a member of Company E, 157th Infantry. He was in action at Casablanca and went to Italy, January 13.

He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Keihn of this city and has four brothers in service: Raymond Keihn, second class seaman in the cold storage department, Corpus Christi, Texas; LeRoy Keihn, boatswain’s mate off the coast of California; Edward Keihn, first class seaman on board the U.S.S. Nassau, in the Pacific; and Charles “Billy” Keihn, second class seaman on board the U.S.S. Belleau Wood.

Source: LeMars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, April 4,1944

LeMars Soldier Believed To Have Been on Anzio Beach Head

The War Department Thursday night notified Mrs. Keihn that her husband, Pvt. Eugene P. Keihn, better known here as “Chink” was missing in action.  The telegram states:

“The secretary of war desires me to express his deep regret that your husband, Pvt. Eugene P. Keihn, has been reported missing in action since February 16 in Italy.  Letter follows. ~Dunlop, Acting Adjutant General.”

Pvt. Keihn spent a furlough in LeMars, coming home on convalescent leave on October 18, last year, following an operation.  He completed a year in the service on March 18.  He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Keihn, of this city and married to the former Betty Papenhausen.

Pvt. Keihn returned to camp on October 26, and was shipped to No. Africa with a replacement group.  His wife believes that he was fighting on the Anzio beach head, as in one of his letters he mentioned another soldier who was known to have been in that vicinity.

Mr. and Mrs. Keihn have five sons in the service.  Four boys are in the Navy.  They are:  Edward, seaman first class, somewhere in the Pacific; LeRoy, chief Bos’n mage, San Francisco; Raymond, ship’s cook, second class, Corpus Christi, Tex.; Billy, seaman second class, Pacific area; and Pvt. Eugene Keihn, in the Army.

Source: Unknown publication, but likely one of the LeMars Iowa newspapers, dated after 16 Feb 1944.

Killed in Action February 16, 1944, At Carrocetto, Italy

After months of patient waiting to hear about a son who was reported missing in action in Italy, a telegram arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Keihn, 209 Third avenue S.E., Wednesday, announcing that he had been killed. The mother was prostrated with grief after receiving the announcement and was ordered to bed by her doctor.

The telegram came from the war department and stated that the Pvt. Eugene Keihn was killed in action on February 16, the same date he was reported missing. He met death in a battle around Carrocetto, Italy.

Pvt. Keihn enlisted in the army in September, 1942 and was called to service on March 18, 1943. He was in the infantry and received his training in Mississippi, California and Maryland. He was shipped overseas from Fort Mead in November, 1943, and landed in Africa with a contingent of replacement troops.

Sgt. Lowell Betsworth, who returned from the war front in Italy sometime in January, reported that he met Pvt. Keihn on the way up to the Italian front as a replacement.

Mr. and Mrs. Keihn were notified on March 30 of this year that their son was missing in action on February 16. The telegram was addressed to the victim’s wife, for former Betty Papenhausen, who is now in the WAVES. She made her home with the Keihn family until signing up for service. She decided to enter the WAVES after receiving the report that her husband was missing. Mrs. Keihn is expected home some time this week for a furlough and so far has not been notified of her husband’s death.

Pvt. Keihn was born in LeMars on April 22, 1922, and was graduated from the LeMars high school. He also attended Western Union college and during his school years was very outstanding in athletic events.

Surviving besides his wife and parents are four brothers, all of whom are in the service. The brothers are: Edward and LeRoy, members of the Navy, now somewhere in the Pacific; Raymond, Navy, at Corpus Christie, and Bill, a seaman first class, in the Pacific.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, August 24, 1944

Widow and One Brother Obtain Leave From The Navy

Memorial services for the late Pvt. Eugene Keihn, whose death in the battle of Carrocetto, Italy, was recently confirmed by the War Department, will be held Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the Baptist church.

Hospital Apprentice 1/c Betty Keihn, widow of the deceased soldier, arrived home on leave Sunday afternoon, and will be here for the memorial services and will go to San Diego, California, for further training, Sept. 5. Pvt. Keihn’s brother, S2/c arrived Monday evening on leave from Corpus Christi, Texas, and will also be here until Sept. 5.

S2/c Keihn’s wife was unable to come here, and is remaining at Corpus Christi. Their marriage took place three months ago. Mrs. Keihn is the former Miss Annabelle Hartley of Houston.

The services at the Baptist church will be in charge of the regular Baptist minister, Rev. Dale. Rev. S. A. Jones, former pastor, now at Independence, Iowa, will also be present. Wasmer Post, American Legion, of LeMars, will be in charge of the military ceremonies.

Pvt. Keihn was born in LeMars April 26, 1922, and grew up here. He had an outstanding athletic record in the LeMars high school, being proficient in all sports, and was also a promising Golden Gloves boxer. He enlisted in K Company while still attending high school, but did not go to Camp Claiborne with the rest, as he was attending college. He reenlisted in the Army in Sept. 1942, and was called in March, 1943. He was sent overseas in October, 1943, but did not get to rejoin his original K Company comrades, although they were fighting in the same area.

He was reported missing in action Feb. 16, 1944, and later investigation disclosed that he was that he was killed on that day, but there was an almost 7 months delay in the final report.

A letter from the War Department said that he and several others volunteered to go on a military mission, and that they did not return. Under the circumstances, it was reasonable to presume that they might have been captured, but it now appeared that they were killed in the fighting when their mission was discovered.

Survivors are his widow, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Keihn. He had four brothers, all in the Navy. Gene was the only one in the Army. The brothers are:

Billy, S1/c, 17 years old, who has been in the South Pacific for 9 months; Edward, who has been in the Navy since January, 1942; LeRoy, chief boatswain's mate, a Navy man for 7 years, who is in the Pacific right now; and Raymond, who is home on leave.

Source: LeMars Globe-Post, August 31, 1944