Hamilton County

~Photo DesMoines Register March 5, 1944
Donald Fredric Wahlers





Donald F. Wahlers, 19, Previously Reported Lost At Sea.

Donald F. Wahlers, 19, Webster City sailor who was reported missing in August 1942, is now officially listed as “deceased,” according to a message from Secretary Frank Knox to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Wahlers.

The message, received Saturday, said in part:

"After a full review of all available information, I am reluctantly forced to the conclusion that your son, Donald Frederic Wahlers, fireman second class, U. S. navy, is deceased, having been reported missing in action August 9, 1942, being a member of the crew and serving aboard the U.S.S. Quincy when that vessel was sunk as a result of enemy action during the battle of Savo Island.

12 Month Absence

In accordance with Section 5 of public law 490, 77th congress, as amended, your son’s death is presumed to have occurred on August 10, 1943, which is the day following the day of expiration of an absence of 12 months.”

The Webster City sailor enlisted in the service in March, 1941, taking his initial training at Great Lakes, Ill. He took advanced training at a service school at Dearborn, Mich., and was graduated from there Sept. 16, 1941.

Convoy Duty

Wahlers saw plenty of action in the Atlantic as his ship, a cruiser, was on convoy duty and helped escort the first contingents of American soldiers to northern Ireland.

Transferred to the Pacific fleet, Wahlers left San Francisco in April. He was last heard from in June in a letter in which he said he was getting along well. His parents were notified that he was missing in a navy dispatch received here early last September.

USS Quincy (CA-39)  (photo of ship included with this news item)
Quincy caught in Japanese searchlights, moments before sinking off Savo Island wth great loss of life, on 9 August 1942.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, September 24, 1943

Iowa Honor Roll

These Iowans, like those pictured here on previous Sundays, have given their lives for their country. They were fatally wounded in combat or died in prison camps. The fourth line under each name designates the war area in which the man last served.

Source: The Des Moines Register, Sunday, March 5, 1944 (33 photos included)

Donald Fredric Wahlers, Fireman Second Class U.S. Navy - MIA/KIA

Donald Fredric Wahlers was born 1923 to Fred and Alma Wahlers. He died Aug. 10, 1943 and is memorialized at the Tablets of the Missing, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines. He has a cenotaph at Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Donald was listed as missing in action aboard the USS Quincy (CA-39). On Aug. 9, 1942 the Quincy was surprise attacked and caught between two columns of Japanese cruisers and was not able to overcome the heavy firing. She capsized and sank. 370 lives were lost aboard the Quincy during the Battle of Savo Island, and 167 were wounded. Donald was awarded the Purple Heart.

Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA
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