A Hero found

My good friend Sarah is fearless when it comes to genealogy so with a gift for ancestry.com she asked for my mom’s maiden name.  I knew there is some story there with my mom being one of 14 (maybe 15 kids).  Since my mom has passed, I rely on Marilyn and Skip for my info but this info that Sarah uncovered was amazing.  I always wondered about my oldest uncle – poor guy’s name was Fernis and all I knew was he died when my mom was young (she was the youngest of 15 – he the oldest).  He died in WW 2 and that is all I never knew until the obit was unearthed by Sarah it reads:


Jun. 30, 1915


Sep. 7, 1944

Mr. and Mrs. George R. Balcom received official notice from the war department this month that their son, Fernis, is now listed as having died in action Sep. 7, 1944. He had been a Japanese prisoner of war for three years and was being moved from Mindanao on a Japanese freighter, which was sunk by torpedoes somewhere off the western shores of Mindanao. The Japanese government has reported all of the prisoners as lost, indicating that no survivors are in the hands of that government. The war department states, “There is no information as to what happened to the individual prisoners but known circumstances lead to the regrettable conclusion that all of the unaccounted for prisoners lost their lives at the time of the sinking.”

Fernis R. Balcom

ID: 06558868

Entered the Service From: Washington

Rank: Sergeant

Service: U.S. Army Air Forces, Headquarters Squadron, 5th Air Base Group

Died: Thursday, September 07, 1944

Memorialized at: Manila American Cemetery

Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines

Awards: Purple Heart

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