Dickinson County

Gilbert R. Luchtel


Milford Man Killed in Action

Another Milford young man was called upon to make the supreme sacrifice by giving his life for his country when Gilbert R. Luchtel was killed while fighting the Japanese on Leyte island. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Luchtel, prominent and respected citizens of Milford, received the message from the War Department about 5:30 Saturday afternoon, Dec. 16, that their son had been killed in action Nov. 12, 1944.

Excerpts from his last letter, written Nov. 2, were printed in last week’s Mail.

Gilbert was a staff sergeant in the 96th division of the infantry, and had gone into action on the Philippine island of Leyte on D-Day, Oct. 19, 1944.

Gilbert was born in Milford Dec. 30, 1920, and would have been 24 years old his next birthday. He has always lived here and has numbered his friends by the score. He attended St. Joseph’s school and graduated from the 10th grade, then went to the Milford public school and graduated with high honors from that high school with the class of 1938. While in school he was very active in all musical organizations and a popular member of his class.

Another member of his class, Lt. Leon Place, met his death in a plane accident Aug. 2, 1943, as he was ready for overseas duty.

Source: The Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, Thursday, November 30, 1944, Page 1

G. R. Luchtel Rites Sat’day


Friends and relatives of the late S-Sgt. Gilbert R. Luchtel gathered Saturday morning at Saint Joseph church to humbly honor his memory in final religious and burial rites.

Solemn Requiem High Mass was read by Father James B. Greteman with the assistance of Father A. Behrens, Fort Dodge, deacon; Father Everett Apt., Storm Lake, sub-deacon; and Father Frank Bady, Estherville, master of ceremonies.

Casketbearers were H. R. Jorgensen, Clarence Askeland, Bernard Reiman, DeWayne DeMuth, Earl Marley and Harlan Miller.

Honorary pallbearers were army friends of Gilbert, who were members of the 96th Division. They included Elmer Polcyn of Chicago, Oscar Oeder of Enderlin, N. D., Lester Polhill of Stockton, Ill, W. D. Langford of Sioux City, and George E. Banning and James R. Watts of Spirit Lake.

Ushers serving at the church were Otto Fisch, Carl Habbena and Virgil Trebblen.

Gilbert was born in Milford on Dec. 30, 1920, the son of Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Luchtel. He received his education in the Milford parochial and public schools, having graduated from both. He also attended an art school in Washington, D. C.

He was inducted into the U. S. Army Nov. 2, 1942, and was sent overseas late in July, 1944. On Nov. 12, 1944, he was killed in action on Leyte Island, Philippines, were he was interred in an army cemetery until the final return of his body to his home. M-Sgt. D. S. Shriner of Kansas City accompanied the body to Milford Friday.

The tributes given by Father Greteman at the services Saturday, and by Father O. A. Dentlinger at memorial services held Dec. 18, 1944, also in Saint Joseph church, bring fully to mind the high esteem in which this young man held in his home community, where he was known by everyone.

He was a member of Saint Joseph church and burial was in Calvary cemetery at Milford. Gilbert is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Luchtel, two brothers, LeRoy and Harold, of Milford, and three sisters, Mrs. Matt Richtner of Milford, Mrs. A. F. Warneke of Oelwein and Mrs. Marvin Leritz of Sioux City.

Friends and relatives from out of town, who were in attendance at the services were the honorary pallbearers and the following: Mr. and Mrs. Art Warneke of Oelwein; Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Leritz and Virginia of Sioux City; Mr. and Mrs. C. Luchtel of Carroll; Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Schueller of Omaha; Clem Luchtel of Detroit, Mich.;

Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sanders and Leonard of Maple River; Joe Saunders of Carroll; Mrs. Fred Middendorf of Manning; Mr. and Mrs. Ben Leiting of Arcadia; Anton and Ann Becker of Maple River; Mrs. Anna Fee and Mrs. Mary Schulte of Breda; Mr. and Mrs. Clem Detterman, Mr. and Mrs. B. B. Lemker of Carroll; Mr. and Mrs. William Lonneman of Adrian, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. Carl Lonneman, Mr. and Mrs. Bob Sieve of Ashton; Mrs. Elizabeth Lonneman and Mary of Little Rock; Mr. and [Page 12] Mrs. R. J. Klaus, Janice, Aileen, Donna and Norman of Breda; Mr. and Mrs. F. J. Lemker of Ivanhoe, Minn.; Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Lemker of Mason City; Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Ludwig of Varina; Mr. and Mrs. A. Leritz of Sibley; Herbert Jorgensen of Chicago; and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Fee of Spirit Lake.

Source: The Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, Thursday, September 09, 1944, Pages 1 & 12

LUTCHELS (sic) Receive Word About Gilbert’s Death

Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Luchtel have this week received a letter from the company commander of Gilbert Luchtel’s outfit. The letter related the details of Gilbert’s death, of the splendid way in which he served, and the fine regard with which he was held by those with whom he worked.

The Mail is pleased to have the opportunity to pass this letter along to Gilbert’s many friends. The letter follows:

7 January 1945.
Company K
382nd Infantry, APO 96.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Luchtel:

It is with deepest regret that I inform you of the death of your son, Gilbert R. Luchtel, on the 12th day of November, 1944, five miles west of Dagami, Leyte, Philippine Islands.

Gilbert’s platoon was called upon to assist another company against heavy enemy opposition. After being engaged, his squad was given the mission to flank the enemy’s gun positions when he was mortally wounded by rifle fire. Although medical aid was rendered immediately, he never regains consciousness, and died shortly thereafter. His buddies carried Gilbert’s body back to our lines.

Gilbert was buried in the United States Armed Forces Cemetery, San Jose Number One, Leyte, Philippines Islands. He was buried according to the rites of his own faith, with full military honors in a peaceful and quiet setting.

I realize that my words can do little to ease your sense of great loss. Perhaps the knowledge that he died as he had lived, with courage and honor, will give you some small measure of comfort. Gilbert was an irreplaceable member of our organization, and could always be counted upon by his comrades to work and fight in a thorough and conscientious manner.

The officers and men of this company join me in extending our deepest sympathy to you in your bereavement. Please feel free to call upon me for any additional information that you may desire.

Yours most sincerely,
Cledith W. Bourdeau,
1st Lt., 382nd Infantry, Commanding.

In addition to the letter from his commanding officer, Mr. and Mrs. Luchtel have had a letter from a close friend of their son, a man who was with him at the time he was killed. He gave them more details of their son’s popularity among the men and about his death, and other facts that have been considerable consolation to them and members of their family.

Source: The Milford Mail, Milford, Iowa, Thursday, February 15, 1945, Page 1