Extol Magazine

OCT-NOV 2016

Extol Magazine Celebrating Southern Indiana is a local publication that covers stories about businesses people places or events throughout the cities of New Albany Jeffersonville Clarksville Sellersburg and Louisville KY

Issue link: http://extol.epubxp.com/i/729879

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 48 of 83

young man, just a year out of high school, walked into the Milltown movie theater with his girlfriend just after hearing the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor over the radio. Turning to the crowd inside of the theater, he announced what he'd heard: Japanese bombers have attacked American soil. America is going to war, Edward "Duke" Roggenkamp, Jr. knew, and, due to the nature of the draft, so was he. Today, Roggenkamp is a 95-year-old World War II veteran who is too humble to acknowledge himself as a hero. In his eyes, he simply "worked in earnest to do what (he) was trained to do." Despite his heart-warming humility, many would agree he downplays the Despite his heart-warming humility, many would agree he downplays the state of his heroism, both in service and to his own family. "He's the kindest person," said his daughter, New Albany resident Rebecca Vance. "I couldn't have asked for a better father." JANUARY 1945 It's January 1945 and 23-year-old Roggenkamp is on a transportation convoy between Sansapore and Lingayen Gulf off the coast of the island of Luzon, home to Manila, the main capital of the Philippines. He recalls the jarring alarm from the ship's loud speakers, calling for the soldiers to man their battle stations. He looked up to see five black specks in the sky. "Japanese (kamikaze) stations. He looked up to see five black specks in the sky. "Japanese (kamikaze) planes coming out of the sun," Roggenkamp recalled. "I didn't know where all of them went, but I knew where one of them went. …It was so close I could see a grin and smile on (the pilot's) face." Narrowly passing Roggenkamp's ship, the plane dropped two bombs on either Narrowly passing Roggenkamp's ship, the plane dropped two bombs on either side of the ship directly to his right before completing a U-turn and crashing into the ship's super structure, causing "fire and explosions." e convoy is "three ships wide and nine to ten long," Roggenkamp said. "You couldn't see the front ships or back ships." e side ships, however, were merely "a quarter mile away; very visible." He saw 40 to 50 sea burials the next day. ese men are among 400,000 American soldiers who lost their lives serving during World War II – roughly 70 of which lived in Roggenkamp's hometown of Milltown, a town in Southern Indiana. Fort Knox, as well as Camp Grant in Illinois, are two of several camps where Roggenkamp trained as a wheel vehicle mechanic during the stateside service portion of his enlistment. He also trained in several other camps around Texas 47 STILL STANDING Meet Edward "Duke" Roggenkamp Jr., a 95-year- old World War II veteran who is still standing, despite the dour reality: According to the Veteran's Administration, World War II veterans are dying at a rate of approximately 492 a day. This means there are approximately only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II. Their stories are important, and we were lucky enough to spend a few hours with Mr. Roggenkamp, a longtime Milltown resident, who shared harrowing tales of war, heart-warming love for his family and country, and proof that age love for his family and country, and proof that age is just a number. BY GRANT VANCE PHOTOS BY TONY BENNETT DON'T FORGET 11/11/16 VETERANS DAY A

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Extol Magazine - OCT-NOV 2016