Floyd County

Sgt. Orland R. Graper


DEATH CONFIRMED -- After weeks of anxious waiting, Mrs. Albert Trettin of Rockford received word from the war department that her nephew, Sgt. Orland R. Graper, who was reported missing in action over Germany Feb.17, 1945, was killed in action on that date. He served in the air corps as waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator. He was a graduate of Rockford high school with the class of 1943.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette, September 18, 1945 (photo included)


The Rudd American Legion joined the Rockford Legion in a memorial service in the Rockford high school auditorium Sunday afternoon in honor of Sgt. Walter Trettin, son of Mrs. Katherine Trettin of Rockford, and of Sgt. Orland Graper, her nephew who she reared, both young men being in the army air corps, in which they lost their lives.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette, May 15, 1946

Double Funeral for 2 Gunners

Services at Rockford Will Be Held Friday

Charles City -- Double funeral services will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at the Zion Lutheran church in Rockford, with the Rev. Carl Busse, pastor, officiating for S.Sgt Walter W. Trettin, son of Albert F. and Katherina E. Trettin, and Sgt. Orland Ralph Graper, son of Levi and Lena Graper, all of Rockford, who lost their lives in World War II. Grossmann's of Charles City and Rockford will be in charge. Burial will be in a Rockford cemetery.

S.Sgt. Trettin, flight engineer and top turret gunner on a B-17, left Rattlesden, England, Dec. 24, 1944, on a bombing mission to Babenhausen, Germany, it was struck by anti-aircraft fire near Aachen, Germany. The plane went into a spin,part of the tail and wing came off and the aircraft crashed. Only 2 members of the crew parachuted to safety. One year and eight months later, a farmer found S.Sgt. Trettin's remains near Aachen.

Born Near Grafton

He was born Sept. 2, 1921, near Grafton. In March, 1929, he moved with his parents to Rockford, and was graduated from the Rockford high school with the class of 1940.

Walter enlisted in the army air corps, Jan. 17, 1942. He took his basic training at Sheppard Field, Texas, and was then sent to Boston, where he was graduated from the army air corps mechanic school. He was then sent to Lunken Field, Cincinnati, Ohio, then transferred to gunnery school at Tampa, Fla., where he was graduated and received his silver wings. He left for overseas duty on September, 1944, with the 8th army air forces.

He was awarded the air medal, good conduct medal and citation of honor, posthumously. He is survived by his mother, 4 sisters, Mrs. Carl Schutt, Mason City, Mable, Marie and Shirley, Rockford; 4 brothers, Wesley, Floyd; Edwin, Harold and George, of Rockford, besides a host of other relatives and friends.

Crashed in Germany

Sgt. Graper was a waist gunner on a B-24 Liberator bomber which departed England on a bombardment mission to Holle, Germany, on February 27, 1945. During this mission his plane was subjected to enemy anti-aircraft fire, the bomber sustained damage, crashed and Sgt. Graper met his fate. Three of the crew members parachuted to safety. He was posthumously awarded the purple heart, air medal and citation of honor.

When a few months old, he with his parents to moved to Minnesota. His mother became seriously ill and died Aug. 16, 1926. After her death his aunt and Uncle, Mr.and Mrs. Albert Trettin, took him into their home as a member of their family. He remained in their home until he entered the service of his country. In March, 1929, he moved with his aunt and uncle to Rockford. He completed his grammar school and was graduated from the Rockford high school with the class of 1943.

Receives Silver Wings

He enlisted in the army air corps in September, 1943 and received his basic training in January, 1944 at Jefferson Barrack, Mo. He was transferred to Selfridge Field, Mich. He received his silver wings for gunnery training at Tyndall Field, Fl., taking further training at Gowen Field, Ida.

Shortly after Jan. 1, 1945, he went overseas to the European area, and was on active duty with the 8th army air force.

He is survived by his father, and step-mother of Waterville, Minn.; one brother Clarence Graper, Rockford; one sister, Mrs. Elfie Graper Pingree, Berkeley, Cal., 2 step-brothers, Franklin and Oren Graper, Waterville, Minn.; and his aunt, Mrs. Katherina E. Trettin.

His mother and brother, Capt. Melvin H Graper, preceded him in death. Capt Graper also made the supreme sacrifice in the European theater July, 1944. His burial place was in the United States military cemetery near Metz. France.

Source: The Mason City Globe-Gazette, October 29, 1948