Hamilton County


Sgt. Bruce Alan Yungclas




U. S. B29 BASE, TINIAN—(Delayed)—(AP)—Four Iowans have been awarded the air medal by the 21st Bomber command. They are S/Sgt. Rolland W. Hensley, Kellerton; Sgt. Bruce A. Yungclas, Webster City; Sgt. Russell W. Willardson, Forest City, and Sgt. Eugene R. Abels, Kanawha.

(Sgt. Yungclas is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Yungclas of Webster City and is a radio operator aboard a B29.)

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - June 6, 1945


W. C. Radarman on B-29 in Raid on Japan; Believed Safe.

Sgt. Bruce Yungclas, a radar operator on a B-29, is missing in action following an attack on Yokohama May 29, his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Yungclas of this city, have been notified in a letter from an AAF chaplain.

The sergeant’s parents had previously received two unofficial reports from members of the serviceman’s unit, saying that the Webster City airman’s ship had failed to return after a mission over Japan.

Big Ship Damaged

The chaplain’s letter stated that the B-29 was apparently damaged while over the target and had been flown back toward its base but had gone into the seas. All the men were reported to have “bailed out”, and a fighter pilot followed them down to protect them from strafing attacks by enemy planes.

It is reasonable to hope, the chaplain wrote, that Sergeant Yungclas came down safely and probably was taken prisoner.

Increased Hope

The chaplain’s message brought increased hope to Mr. and Mrs. Yungclas that their son is safe though a prisoner. The first two letters from fellow airmen had presented little encouragement that the sergeant had escaped the plane crash.

According to the chaplain, Sergeant Yungclas had completed 16 missions over enemy territory. In a recent Associated Press report carried in the Freeman-Journal he was announced as having won the air medal award.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - June 26, 1945 (photo included)

Radio Says Yungclas Is Safe, Freed

Official word from the war department is being awaited by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Yungclas of this city following receipt of a radio report over the weekend that their son, Sgt. Bruce Yungclas, had been released from a Japanese prison camp.

The Webster City soldier, a radar operator on a B-29, had been missing for three months.

Sgt. Yungclas based at Tinian, was on his 19th mission when his plane was reportedly downed during a bombing raid on Japan. He was reported missing but it was believed he had been rescued by the Japanese since the B-29 crew was seen to have parachuted from the stricken plane near the Jap coast.

In the radio broadcast, the sergeant and Abraham Ginsberg of Winston, Mass., were reportedly evacuated from a Nipponese camp. The Yungclas family has received word from Ginsberg’s father in Massachusetts that the radio report was carried there also.

If the war department verifies the radio message, Sergeant Yungclas will be the first Webster City serviceman to be reported freed from a Japanese prison.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, September 4, 1945


B-29 Radar Operator Shot Down May 21 Over Yokohama.

Confirmation of a radio report that he was safe after being evacuated from a Japanese prison camp was received Thursday by Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Yungclas from their son, Sgt. Bruce Yungclas, who has written them a letter dated Aug. 31 and postmarked at Washington, D. C.

A radar operator aboard a B-29, the sergeant had been missing since May after the plane was destroyed on a raid. He is the first Webster City serviceman to be reported rescued from a Jap prison camp.

In his letter, Sgt. Yungclas stated that he was feeling well although he had lost a little weight during his more than three months in prison.

He said his plane was shot down May 21 on a raid over Yokohama and the entire crew bailed out. He added that he still hadn’t figured out what was wrong with the big aircraft but hoped to see the captain soon.

“Those jokers took my fountain pen, ring, wrist watch, and even my dog tags,” the sergeant said, adding that he hadn’t gotten them back.

Sergeant Yungclas hopes to be home soon, he concluded, since the men are reportedly scheduled to fly back.

Based at Tinian, Sgt. Yungclas was on his 19th mission when his B-29 was downed and he was reported missing. Other B-29 crews claimed they had seen the crew jump from the ship and it was generally believed that the men were rescued by the Japs and put in prison camps.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, September 6, 1945


Mrs. Yungclas and Son on ‘We the People.’

(The following dispatch was furnished the Freeman-Journal by the army air forces public relations office at Miami Beach, Fla. Mr. and Mrs. William Yungclas and son, Staff Sgt. Bruce Yungclas, were scheduled to leave Friday on their return trip to Webster City.)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla.—Happily relating their reunion, S/Sgt. Bruce Yungclas, liberated prisoner of the Japanese, and his mother, Mrs. William Yungclas, both of route 2, Webster City, Iowa, participated in a nationwide broadcast of the “We the People” program from Miami Beach, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 9.

Sergeant Yungclas and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William Yungclas are enjoying a two-week recuperative vacation in Miami Beach with all expenses paid by their hosts, the army air forces. They have been deep sea fishing, swimming and getting plenty of Florida sunshine, and the sergeant has regained all of the 30 pounds lost during his internment.

Sergeant Yungclas, A B-20 radio operator was shot down on his 16th mission over Japan and captured in May, 1945. The family heard of his liberation on the radio, Sept. 1 , the day he was recovered from the Yokohama compound. He returned home Oct. 3.

During the 1945-46 winter season, the AAF will be host to some 1,600 former prisoners of the Japanese who are invited to Miami Beach to enjoy the beneficial climate for a fortnight of fun, rest and relaxation intended to put the finishing touch to their complete recovery. Each repatriate may bring with him as guests of the AAF two members of his immediate family.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - Dec. 15, 1945

Bruce Alan Yungclas, Tech Sgt. U.S. Army Air Corps - MIA/POW

Bruce Alan Yungclas was born May 3, 1924, to William H. and Ethel Wilson Yungclas. He died Jan. 8, 2000, and is buried in Graceland Cemetery, Webster City, IA.

Sgt. Yungclas was reported missing in action following an attack on Yokohama, Japan May 29, 1945. He was a Japanese prisoner of war in Tokyo POW Camp (Shinjuku), Tokyo Bay Area.

His Obituary dated Jan. 10, 2000:

Bruce A. Yungclas, 75, a longtime Webster City area farmer, died Saturday, Jan. 8, 2000 at his home. Funeral services will be Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Webster City, with Rev. James Buffington officiating. Military rites will be conducted by American Legion Post #191. Following services, Mr. Yungclas will be cremated and graveside services will be at a later date. Visitation will be at the Foster Funeral Home on Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. and at the church after 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Bruce Alan Yungclas, son of William and Ethel Wilson Yungclas, was born May 3, 1924 at the Wayside Farm, west of Webster City. He attended the Fremont Township rural school #9. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1941 and from the Webster City Junior College in 1943. He farmed, raised and sold seed corn. Entering the Army Air Corps, he served as a radar operator on a B-29 Bomber based in Tinian, until being shot down on a bombing raid over Yokohama on Memorial Day 1945. He remained in Japan as a prisoner of war until the peace treaty was signed in September of that year. Following his discharge, he attended Iowa State University and graduated in 1949 with a degree in farm operations. On June 20, 1948, he married Patricia May Olson at Ellsworth. He served with the Extension Service in Hamilton County for the summers of 1947-48 as 4-H Youth Assistant. In 1950, they moved back to Fremont Township to farm with his father and brother. He continued to teach veterans on an interim basis as needed at Webster City. The couple moved to Webster City in 1977.

Survivors are his wife, Patty, sons and daughter-in-law, Alan and Karen Yungclas, Webster City, Rolf Yungclas of Sublette, KS., a daughter and son-in-law, Leah and Robert Maass, Ellsworth, grandchildren, Allison, Jennifer, and Lara May Yungclas, Emily, Amanda, Jenny, Rebecca, and Robbie Maass, his father William Yungclas, Webster City, brothers Don Yungclas, Grinnell, Thomas Yungclas, Webster City, Kreg Yungclas of Denver, CO, Bill Yungclas of Ames, sisters, Virginia Wold of Paso Robles, CA, Gretchen Forrester of Murphy’s, CA, several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his mother, a son Gary Yungclas in 1970, and a brother, Reed Yungclas.

He was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church, and had served in many phases of its operation, district and state church offices, and was elected state Moderator in 1961. He was a longtime member of the Noon Kiwanis Club, also serving as Kiwanis Division 5 Lieutenant Governor in 1980-81. Other areas of involvement were past president of the Hamilton County Farm Bureau, Soil Conservation District, Pork Producers, Soybean Association, Webster City Community Theatre, Hamilton County Alumni Association, the Cyclone Club, board member of the ISU Alumni Association, board member of the ISU Alumni Corporation of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity for 20 years and district governor, longtime member of the Hamilton County Republican Central Committee, the ISU National Alumni Association, former chair, past commander of American Legion Post #191, past commandeer of Ex-POW’s, AEA, School Board for 20 years, mentor at the Middle School and Sunset School, Hamilton County SALT taskforce member, Iowa Grain Indemnity Board, the ABI (Agriculture Committee), volunteers, Overseas Cooperative Association—trip to Russia sponsored by VOCA and to Ukraine sponsored by ICI Seeds, a former Jaycee President and Men’s Senior Golf.

Memorials may be given to the Hamilton County Hospice/Respite, Bess Lyons Scholarship of the Four Seasons Lodge at Pilgrim Heights Camp.

Sources: Daily Freeman Journal and ancestry.com