North High School Wall of Honor
George William Kochheiser, Jr.
Class of June, 1943
Research done by Claradell Shedd, Class of 1953.
George William Kochheiser, Jr.
George was a member of North High's class of June, 1943. His next of kin was G.W. Kochheiser who lived at 3215 First Street, Des Moines, IA. George's service number is 17170384.
George William Kochheiser, Jr.
Year   Rank   Status
June, 1943   x   Graduated from North High, Des Moines, IA
1943   US Army   Enlisted at Camp Dodge, IA. Service number is XXX.
1943 x US Army x Three months of training at Kansas University;
ASTP (Army Specialized Training Program/Engineering)
1943 x US Army/Infantry x Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA
1943 x US Army x Camp Livingston, LA. 86th Infantry Division; Blackhawk Division
1943 x US Army x San Luis Obispo, CA
1944 x US Army x *Camp Callan near San Diego, CA. We had lengthy amphibious training here with the Navy.
January, 1945-
February 2, 1945
x US Army/Enroute x In January, 1945, Blackhawks prepared for movement to east coast for embarkation to Europe. On February 2, 1945, loaded troop trains in California to Camp Myles Standish near Boston for eventual embarkation to Europe (via New York).
February 19, 1945 x US Army/Enroute x To France via troop transport. **USAT Edmund B. Alexander, sailing from Boston on February 19, 1945, Blackhawks joined a convoy of over 60 ships, including the USS John Ericsson, to cross the Atlantic. Troop ship USAT Edmund B. Alexander arrived at La Havre de Grace, France; then on to Normandy (Camp Lucky Strike). ***Camp Lucky Strike was in Janville, France (5 miles NE of Cany-Barville).
1945 x US Army/Staff Sgt. x 3rd Army/7th Army/15th Army/Europe
France, Germany, Austria. Back to Des Moines for furlough.
June 6, 1945-
June 17, 1945
x Enroute x 30-day furlough to Des Moines. We were the last division to be sent to Europe, but the first division to be returned to the States. Leaving Le Havre, France on USS General T.H. Bliss enroute to Long Island, NY
August,1945 x Training x ****Camp Gruber, OK near Muskogee, OK. (Atomic bomb on August 6, 1945).
1945 x US Army/Enroute x Troop train to San Francisco, CA
August 19-20, 1945 x Sailed from San Francisco x To San Francisco. Sailed to Japan. On September 2, 1945, Japan surrendered to General Douglas MacArthurr while we were at sea.
September 9, 1945 x Arrived in Philippines x Arrived in Manila, Philippines on September 9, 1945. Arrived in Batangas on Sepember 11, 1945. Legaspi. In 1945, American and Filipino liberation forces supported by Bicolano guerrillas liberated Legaspi City from Japanese Imperial forces during WWII.
April, 1946 x Enroute x Troop ship to San Francisco, CA.
April, 1946 x US Army/Staff Sgt. x Train to Fort Leavenworth, KS. Discharged.
1946-1949 x Student x Drake University. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa in June, 1949.
July 25, 1948 x Married x To Kathleen Kay. (now 62 years of marriage)
1949-1991 x Employment x President of Employers' Mutual in Des Moines, IA.
1991-2010 x Retirement x Scottsdale, AZ
2010 x Relocated x Residing in OH.
June 17, 2015 x Deceased x Cincinnati, OH
*Camp Callan was a United States Army anti-aircraft artillery replacement training center that was operational during World War II. It was located in La Jolla, California, but was closed after WWII ended. Few traces of the former base can be seen today.

Camp Callan was located near U.S. Highway 101 about 15 miles (24 km) north of downtown San Diego in the La Jolla area. It occupied a roughly rectangular piece of land approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north-to-south and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) east-to-west. This land is on the Torrey Pines Mesa and is near the Pacific Ocean. The northern portion of the former base is today the Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Torrey Pines State Reserve. The southeastern portion of the former base is now part of the University of California, San Diego campus. The rest of the southern portion of the former base includes private land (both residential and commercial), the Scripps Green Hospital and research institutes such as the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. This portion of the former base is in the vicinity of present-day Genesee Avenue and North Torrey Pines Road.

**USAT Edmund B. Alexander (U.S. Army Transport)
Originally America (German Passenger Liner, 1905) Served as USS America (ID#3006) in 1917-1919 and USAT America in 1919-1921.
In late 1940, as part of the National defense expansion undertaken in response to the Second World War, the thirty-five year old passenger liner America (formerly USS America (ID 3006) and USAT America) was reactivated for U.S. Army service. Renamed Edmund B. Alexander, she initially served as a barracks ship at St. John's, Newfoundland. After mid-1941 the ship was used as a transport in the Gulf of Mexico area and in May 1942 entered a Baltimore, Maryland, shipyard to begin a major modernization. This work, completed in April 1943, gave her new, oil-fired boilers, greater speed, and a much-changed appearance. Edmund B. Alexander spent the rest of the World War II era making transport runs between the United States, North Africa and Europe. She continued her work with the Army into the post-war era, primarily carrying military dependents. Placed in reserve in May 1949, USAT Edmund B. Alexander was sold for scrapping in January 1957.

***Camp Lucky Strike was situated in the town of Saint-Sylvian, 5 kilometers from Saint-Valery-en Caux. Its location was not selected by chance, but rather because the occupying German troops had constructed an airfield there in 1940 with a landing strip 1800 meters long and 50 meters wide. This airfield was one of the defensive elements of the Atlantic Wall: surveillance and coastal defenses were also a perfect starting point for attacks on southwest England. V-1 rocket launching ramps were installed at the beginning of 1944 in the woods surrounding the airfield. It was heavily bombed by the British throughout the war, but especially during the fighting which followed the June 1944 landings. In September 1944 American Engineer Corps troops took control of the area, repairing the landing strips and constructing the camp.

The camp became the most important military camp in Europe. It extended over 600 hectares (1 hectare = approximately 2 ½ acres). It was a mandatory port of entry for practically every American soldier, and 1½ million spent from a couple days up to 18 months there. It was the principal camp used for repatriated soldiers and liberated POWs, but also as a reception station for soldiers on leave. It was also a staging area for the Pacific Theater and — until August 10, 1945 — for the invasion of Japan. There were 100,000 men in the camp each day — 100,000 men to lodge, feed, train, and entertain. (Regarding repatriation, there were 6,000 daily departures by plane or boat from Le Havre, the only port liberated on the western coast that could accommodate large ships.)

****Camp Gruber was an Army training camp between 1944 and 1949. In 1942 and 1944, the United States of America acquired 65,650 acres of land in Muskogee County and Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The U.S. Army used the property as a military reservation known as Camp Gruber. Camp Gruber was named after Brigadier General Edmund L. Gruber, the composer of "The Caisson Song." Construction of Camp Gruber began in February 1942 and was completed in May 1942. At that time, Camp Gruber consisted of approximately 2,250 buildings including a 1600-bed hospital, 479 barracks, 12 chapels, 4 theaters, and various other buildings. Colonel H.C. Luck was the first post commander.

The 88th Infantry Division was reactivated at Camp Gruber in July 1942. In 1943, the 42d Infantry Division was reactivated here. In July 1945, the 86th Infantry Division was relocated to Camp Gruber to retrain for war in the Pacific theater. Camp Gruber was also used as a prisoner-of-war camp until May 1946. Camp Gruber was closed at the end of WWII.
USAT Edmund B. Alexander to Europe Myles Standish
We were the last division to be sent to Europe (02/19/45), but the first division to be returned to the States. Leaving Le Havre, France on USS General T.H. Bliss (06/17/45) enroute to Long Island, NY
USS General T.H. Bliss from Europe
(left) Sechtem on Rhine, Germany; March, 1945
Below: Germany; Spring, 1945; George is _____.
Camp Gruber, OK San Fernando Straits; 1945 Acting 1st Sergeant Discharged; March 1946
Legaspi; December, 1945
Duty Stations
(1) Camp Dodge Enlistment
(2) Kansas University, KS
(3) Fort Benning, GA
(4) Camp Livingston, LA
(5) Camp San Luis Obispo,CA
(6) Camp Callan, CA
(7) Camp Myles Standish,MA
(8) Europe Service
(9) Camp Gruber, OK
(10) Pacific Theater Service
(11) Ft. Leavenworth,KS
US Army Seal

86th Infantry Blackhawk Division

86th Infantry/Dachau
George William Kochheiser
Staff Sergeant
341st Infantry Regiment
86th Infantry Division/
Blackhawk Division
U.S. Army

Combat Infantryman's Badge. The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) established by War Depart. on 10/27/43

1945: George Kochheiser
3rd Army Patch

7th Army Patch

15th Army Patch

Bronze Star; Purple Heart; Staff Sergeant Stripes; Good Conduct; European Theater Campaign w/two battle stars;
Asistic-Pacific Campaign; American Campaign; Occupation Medal; WWII Victory Medal
(1) The World War II Army Enlistment Records contain information on more than nine million indivdual enlistments. These records can be found online at

(2) The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of North High School graduates can be found online at: George William Kochheiser's1943 class page is:
07/06/10. Living in OH. Died 06/17/15.
Music: "Wind Beneath My Wings"
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