Hamilton County

S/Sgt. Helmer Wayne Gangestad

 

 

SGT. GANGESTAD LOST MARCH 15

W. C. Air Gunner Listed As Missing Over Nazi Territory.


Staff Sgt. Helmer Gangestad, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gangestad of this city, has been missing in action over Germany since March 15, his parents have been notified by the war department.

The Webster City airman was just recently promoted to his present rank and had also qualified for his second oak leaf cluster addition to the air medal for meritorious action against the enemy.

Sergeant Gangestad had been overseas approximately five months and was serving as a ball turret gunner on a Flying Fortress with an Eighth air force bomber group. Further word concerning the sergeant will be furnished his parents as soon as it is received, the war department message said.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, April 4, 1945

SGT. GANGESTAD DIED MARCH 15 (corrected from March 12)

W. C. Gunner Was on His Last Mission Before Heading Home.


Word was received Monday afternoon from the war department that Staff Sgt. Helmer W. Gangestad, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gangestad of this city, had been killed in action over Germany, March 15, 1945.

The Webster City aerial gunner, who was on his last mission before heading home, had been reported missing since March aboard his B-17 bomber, attached to the Eighth air force in England.

“Official reports received have established his death,” the message from the war department stated. Further details are awaited.

Mr. and Mrs. Gangestad had previously received word from other members of the bomber crew who managed to escape the ship after it had been hit twice by flak in a raid on Orenburg, Germany, the site of German research on atomic force. Their statements had left little hope that the Webster City gunner had been able to escape the crash.

The sergeant was a graduate of Lincoln high school in 1943 and enlisted in the air corps, Sept. 10 of that year. Because of his many missions he had been awarded the air medal with several clusters.

During his high school career he was active in athletics and was especially active in track.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, September 25, 1945

Find Body of Sgt. Gangestad

Missing since March 15, 1945, when he was taking part in a bombing mission over Europe, the body of Staff Sgt. Helmer W. Gangestad, 20-year old Webster City air corps man, has been recovered and identified, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gangestad, were advised today.

In a letter received this morning from Major James F. Smith of the memorial division of the quartermaster corps, Washington, D. C., Mr. and Mrs. Gangestad were notified that their son’s body is now at the U.S. military cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz in Belgium.

Recovery and identity resulted from investigations carried out by American graves registration personnel in Europe. The soldier’s body will be kept at the cemetery pending decision by the parents concerning possible return of the body to the United States.

Sgt. Gangestad was a gunner aboard a B-17 bomber and had completed many missions which qualified him for the air medal and four oak leaf clusters.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA, November 19, 1948


Gangestad Rites To Be Tuesday

Military services will be held for Staff Sgt. Helmer W. Gangestad Tuesday, June 21, 15 2 p.m. at Foster’s funeral home. Rev. Stewart will officiate and burial will be made in Graceland cemetery.

S. Sgt. Gangestad was lost in action March 15, 1945, while on a mission with the Eighth air force over Germany. Official reports later established his death. Mr. and Mrs. Gangestad had previously received word from other members of the B-17 bomber crew who managed to escape the ship after it had been hit twice by flak in a raid on Orenburg, Germany, the site of German research on atomic force. Their statements had left little hope that the Webster City gunner had been able to escape the crash.

S. Sgt. Helmer Wayne Gangestad, son of Joe and Violet Gangestad was born in Goldfield, Iowa, May 9, 1924. When he was about four years of age, the family moved to Holmes for three years and later to Eagle Grove where they resided for six years. The family then moved to Webster City where they have made their home since that time.

The sergeant was a graduate of Lincoln high school in 1943 and enlisted in the air corps September 10 of that year. Because of his many missions he had been awarded the air medal with several clusters.

During his high school career he was active in athletics and was especially active in track.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Gangestad and one sister, Beverly Gangestad at home. Also surviving are his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Griffith of Eagle Grove.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA, June 18, 1949

Helmer Wayne Gangestad was born May 9, 1924 to Joseph Helmer and Violet Mae Griffith Gangestad. He died Mar. 15, 1945 and was buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

At the time of his death, Sgt. Gangestad was serving as a ball turret gunner on a Flying Fortress with an Eighth air force bomber group. He was first listed as missing in action, later confirmed as being killed in action. He had received the Air Medal for meritorious action and 2 oak leaf clusters.

Sources:
Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA
ancestry.com