PFC Henry L. Hooper

I have always been in awe of the various memorial sites around Europe from WWII. I am a veteran and have spent some time in dangerous places, but I find it very hard to imagine the world as it must have been for these men that made the ultimate sacrifice.


I have lived more than a decade in the Netherlands and have often visited the American Memorial Cemetery Margraten. I can not even begin to describe to you the feeling you get when you approach such a field of crosses, more than 8000 of them…

Just a few months ago I became aware of the possibility of adopting one of the graves. Many local families have adopted a grave and been taking care of them since they were first laid to rest, gratefull for the sacrifices they had made. I was just not aware that a non Dutch citizen could also adopt. I received immediate response to my inquiries and was sent an adoption certificate that states only the basic information regarding the person I had been given:


Name: Hooper, Henry L.
Rank: Private First Class (PFC)
Unit: 1 ENGR CMBT BN 1 DIV
Date of Death: 17 APR 1945
State: WASHINGTON

I visit the grave regularly and make sure he is remembered even though I am missing any details such as: what he looked like? where he grew up in Washington? does his family know where he lays? how he died? where he died? etc? More pictures of PFC H.L. Hooper grave site.

(Updated 01 April 2006)

Today I received a copy of PFC Henry L. Hoopers World War II Army Enlistment record from a family friend that has genealogy as a hobby. It contains the following data:
Name:Henry L. Hooper
Birth Year:1924
Race:White, citizen
Nativity State or Country:Washington
State:Washington
County or City:Snohomish


Enlistment Date:9 Apr 1943
Enlistment State:Washington
Enlistment City:Seattle
Branch:No branch assignment
Branch Code:No branch assignment
Grade:Private
Grade Code:Private
Term of Enlistment:Enlistment for the duration of the War or other
emergency, plus six months, subject to the
discretion of the President or otherwise according
to law
Component:Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Source:Civil Life


Education:Grammar school
Civil Occupation:Gas And Oil Man
Marital Status:Single, without dependents
Height:63 inches
Weight:092

(Updated 20 September 2006)
Today I received some new information from my contact in the United States (Imogene, many thanks for your work in digging this all up!):

Service Number - 39206277

Awards won:

  • Bronze star
  • Purple Heart
  • European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • World War II Service Lapel Button
I also found this site Bridge to the Past with a bit of history on the Engineers in WWII, from 1944 I found references to the same unit that PFC Henry L. Hooper was in:

December 16th, 1944 - When Germany launched its offensive from the Eifel region against the First United States Army lines in the Ardennes section of Belgium and Luxemburg, it marked the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. It also set the stage for the development of the largest continuous minefield ever laid on any American division front. The 1st Engineer Combat Battalion planned and installed this extensive 12-mile minefield of 31,480 antitank mines, 127 anti-personnel mines, and 38 trip flares in 2 weeks beginning on 20 December. The minefield aided the 1st Infantry Division in firmly repelling three of Von Rundstedt’s best divisions, thereby preventing a successful breakthrough in the Monschau shoulder.”

The site Veterans of the First Engineer Combat Battalion’s holds some history from WWII:

” Prior to the start of World War II, the 1st Engineer Regiment was reorganized as the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion and again assigned to fight as part of the 1st Infantry Division. In 1942, the battalion landed with the initial forces spear-heading the North Africa invasion. In 1943, the battalion cleared underwater obstacles and destroyed enemy pillboxes during the landings on Sicily. During the Normandy landings at Omaha Beach in 1944, the battalion led the assault forces, breaching gaps in the extensive enemy mine and wire obstacles and clearing the combat trails leading off the beaches. The battalion received its third Presidential Unit Citation for actions at Omaha Beach and received the Distinguished Unit Citation for combat action at Gafsa, Tunisia, and Normandy. The battalion fought as part of the 1st Infantry Division during the remainder of the war in the European Theater and after 10 years of occupation duty moved to Fort Riley, Kansas.”

I will continue to dig, trying to find out more about his time between enlistment and up to his passing. If you have any information, please feel free to contact me through this site.