Linn County

Sylvan Thomas Runkel




World War II Bonus Case File, 1949

Sylvan Thomas Runkel, Born 30 Aug 1906, Jacksonville, IL
Legal res at enlistment: Marion, Iowa, (Linn County)

Two enlistments:

1st date of entry: July 8, 1942; Date Separated: January 31, 1944
2nd date of entry: Feb. 1, 1944; Date of Separation: August 12, 1947
Date of Departure from U.S. = 07 May 1944
Date of Return to the U.S. = 19 Aug 1944

Source: - World War II Bonus Case File

Sylvan Thomas Runkel was born Aug. 30, 1906 to C. A. and Myrtie Annabelle Barnett Runkel. He died Jan. 2, 1995 and is buried in Fairview Cemetery, Story City, IA. He registered with the selective service (legal residence) Marion, Iowa - Linn County, Iowa.

Sylvan served with the 434th Troop Carrier Group, 72nd Squadron as a glider pilot. He was a co-pilot on a Horsa glider filled with men and communications equipment that was in the second wave of gliders to invade Normandy, France on D-Day.

He suffered a broken left arm and left leg when their glider crashed through a hedge. The German patrol broke through the hedge and started shooting. His knee cap was shot off. It was the next morning before he was taken to a battalion aid station in a French farmhouse and carried down to the beach and placed on an L.S.T. and hauled across the channel and placed in an army hospital at Cirencester, England; later to Prestwick, Scotland; Cleveland, OH for two years; and one year in Battle Creek, MI until retired for disability in Aug. 1947.

He was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, Bronze Arrowhead and Presidential Unit Citation.

Sylvan was a well known forester and conservationist and co-author of five books on wildflowers in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, the upper Midwest and other plants of Iowa wetlands.

He has received many awards for his dedication to the natural world and promoted conservation in many ways, including developing a wildlife series for the Iowa Public Television Network. He was recognized for his particular efforts in the Loess Hills by becoming the namesake for a state preserve in Monona County, Iowa in 1996.

Sylvan T. Runkel Papers, MS 619, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library
World War II Glider Pilots - Turner Publishing Company - page 134
Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA
World War II Memorial Honoree