Purple Heart

Ernest Swart

The Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
28 Feb 1941

Ernest Swart was one of the Gove County men who left Monday night for military training camp.

Grinnell Record Leader (Grinnell, KS)
16 Oct 1941

Our local draftees, who left almost a year ago to do their part for National Defense, are home on a furlough from Camp Robinson, Ark. Ernest Swart and Robert Hilb[h]eb are two of our draftees home looking just perfectly handsome in their army uniforms. Ernest and Bob both like their jobs with Uncle Sam. Medals on both boys show that they don’t intend to still be buck privates 18 months from now.

Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS)
25 Dec 1941

Christmas in the Heart

Mrs. George Gilkerson, Oneida, with her daughter, Mrs. Bernice McDonald at 2400 West 13th Little Rock, Ark, writes “I am here with my daughter and am always glad to get the Courier to see what has happened at home and feel all folks in Nemaha are friends. When I see a car with a Kansas tag on I wonder if its anyone I know. I have been here since August. Bernice is going to business school to brush up on her typing and shorthand, expecting to work, I have a grandson in this war, Ernest Swart. He is in Fort Benning at present, going to a motor maintenance school. Camp Robinson sent him there last Thanksgiving.” Mrs. Gilkerson sends the Courier to her children, Mr. and Mrs. George Swart and Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Gilkerson, Oakley, for Christmas gifts.

Grinnell Record Leader (Grinnell, KS)
31 Dec 1942

Cpl. Ernest Swart will receive the Record-Leader as a gift from some one in this community. The name of the donor is not known, but we’ll be glad to learn who is sending this paper and we are certain Ernest will appreciate the gift. His address is
Cpl. Ernest Swart 37002828
AT Co. 137 Inf.
A.P.O. NO. 35
Los, Angeles, California

The Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
8 Jan 1943

Word comes from Ernest Swart that he has joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. He is a Cadet Lieutenant. His address is
Ernest G. Swart
Santa Anna, Calif.

Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
9 Jul 1943

The Oakley Graphic
Oakley, Kansas

Every time I move, my paper gets behind and I begin to miss it so I again have to take out a minute of a crowded day to write a letter. the paper is most enjoyed. It seems the part I enjoy most is the letters form the rest of the boys.

This time my stop is at a basic flight school. We have just got organized here and started to ground school. I got an hour up yesterday and from now on will be pretty steady time. A great lot of difference between these and the primaries. I got in sixty-five hours in primary at the Cal. Aero Flight Academy. Was lucky to have no accidents and receive the Gold Star of the school. I will be satisfied to get through here and advance without mentioning awards. The tough grind lies ahead, and we all now it.

Our post is excellent but rater out away from the city. We do have a swell orchestra which plays on a broadcast and dance for us each Thursday in Taft. The orchestra is composed of the main orchestras of the country, including Glen Miller’s Tommy DOrsey’s Harry James’ and others. I mean men from these. In case any of you would like to hear it, listen to the Blue Network on Thursday evenings at 9:30 P.W.T. I’ll be there.

Must close for now. Will be looking forward for the paper.


Yours Truly,
Ernest Swart

Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS)
18 May 1944

Ernest Swart, son of geo. Swart, Oakley, Kans., is a pilot on a liberator. He expected to go across and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Swart went to California to see him, driving his car home. Orders were changed, however, and he was given a 20 day leave to visit home and he is now at Oakley. Miss Dorothy Swart, a daughter with WACS in England, was made a captain last March. She cabled Mother’s Day greeting to her parents.

Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
7 Jul 1944

Miss Ethel Swart received a letter from her brother, Lt. Ernest Swart saying they had landed in India. The weather reminded him of western Kansas in 1935.

Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
9 Feb 1945

Lt. Ernest Swart Missing in Action

Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart received word Wednesday morning from the Adjutant General’s office that their son, 1st Lt. Ernest Swart had been missing in action in the China area, since January 18. Lt. Swart was a pilot in the China-Burma-India theatre of operations and had completed his missions on transport duty “over the hump,” and it is presumed he was on combat duty. He had been in this section since last June.

Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS)
12 Feb 1945

Henry Swart has received word from Geo. Swart of Oakley, Kans., that Ernest Swart, son of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart is missing in action. Earnest was born on the Swart farm in Head District.

The Grinnell Record-Leader (Grinnel, KS)
15 Feb 1945

Lt. Ernest Swart Is Now Reported Killed in Action

Died on Day He Was Reported Missing in China Jan. 18

The cost of war in human lives has once again been brought home to the people of this community and especially to the home of Mr. and Mrs. George Swart of Grinnell, who were advised by telegram Saturday, February 10th from the War Department that their son 1/Lt. Ernest G. Swart had been killed in action on January 18th the date he was reported missing in action. On February 7th word was received by the family that 1/Lt. Swart was missing in China.

Lieutenant Swart was serving as first pilot on a B-24 bomber witht he 14th Air Force in China. His crew had made many trips over the “Hump” and across the Himalaya mountains which is considered the world’s most dangerous territory for planes Heavily loaded with gas and supplies these bombers made their trips across this stretch and these were the hard trips, according to letters written home by Lt. Swart, As they made their trips, flying with only the aid of their instruments and with small margins of gas when returning, the hazardous trips were made, one after another until Ernest’s crew had completed more than three-fourths of their missions in this territory. The bomb trips which made up about the same number, were considered the easier of the trips.

Lt. Swart left on June 3, 1944 for overseas duty and had served fro the base in China since arriving there. He received his commission as First Lieutenant on August 1, 1944 while on overseas duty. He entered service on February 24, 1941 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and received training in the Anti Tank Co., 137th Infantry, 35th Division at Camp Robinson, Arkansas the first nine months of his military career. the next three months he spent in Motor Maintenance School at Fort Benning Georgia, moving then to fields at San Francisco and Long Beach, Calif where he took further training.

Then he transferred to the Air Corps on December 16, 1942. He took his preflight training at Santa Ana, his advanced training at Ontario, Calif., and received his wings and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at Stockton Field, California, on November 3, 143. He was then given a 15 day furlough which he spent at home. When he returned form the furlough he was assigned to Kirkland Field, Albuquerque, New Mexico where he was assigned to the ship he was to fly, a B-24 Bomber. From there he was sent to Muroe Field, Calif., where he was assigned his crew and took his advanced flight training.

Ernest Gilbert Swart was born June 11, 1919 at Seneca, Kansas. He attended grade school in Nemaha and Gove Counties and was graduated form Grinnell rural High School with the class of 1937. Prior to entering the Army he was engaged in farming and implement sales service.

He was initiated into the Grinnell A.F. & A.M. Lodge No. 444 on May 5, 1944.

He is survived by his parents
(Continued on back page)

Lt. Ernest Swart is Killed in Action
(Continued from front page)
Mr. and Mrs. George Swart, his brothers, Wilbert, Alfred, John and Lloyd; his sisters, Oura Lee, Jessie, Bettie, Ethyl and Gladys all of the Grinnell community and his sister, Captain Dorothy Swart, who is now serving with the U.S. WAC’s somewhere in England.

In letters written to home folks, Lt. Swart had told of his successful missions having reached the three fourths mark in number of those required to start the homeward journey. He also told of having helped another crew to take off on their homeward journey, their missions completed. At the time one letter of January 16th was written, he told that there was only one older crew than his own, and this crew was waiting replacements before they cold leave for their trip tot he U.S. and this was the journey Ernest and his crew were eagerly anticipating, until the fatal accident which cost his life and the details of which will not be known immediately.

Courier tribune (Seneca, KS)
15 Feb 1945

Lt. Ernest Swart, Oakley, Killed in Action over China

Mr. and Mrs. George Swart, Oakley, Kans., received word Tuesday that their son, Lt. Ernest Swart, was killed in action over China on January 18th, four days after he was reported as missing. He was a pilot of a B-24 and was 25 years old. He was born on the Swart farm now occupied by Frank Wilhelm, the family moving to Oakley in 1928. He is survived by his parents, several brothers and sisters. A sister, Capt. Dorothy Swart, was one of the first WAC’s to go overseas and is stationed in England. Ernest had been overseas about six months and had completed three-fourths of his missions. He had been shot down three times previously. Miss Wanda Swart, a cousin, had a letter from Lieut. Swart, written January 14th, four days before he was fatally injured. Beside the members of his immediate family he leaves his grandmothers, Mrs. Louise Swart, now in Donna, Texas, and Mrs. Grace Gilkerson, who is with her daughter and family at Oakley. He is not married.

Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS)
19 Feb 1945

Mrs. Louise Swart, in Donna, Texas, with her daughter, Mrs. Thomas P. Johnstone, has six grandsons, a granddaughter and a grand-son-in-law in the service. Lt. Ernest Swart, Oakley, Kan., whose death was recently reported, is a grandson.

The Grinnell Record-Leader (Grinnell, KS)
8 March 1945

News of Our Men and Women in Uniform

The following letter was received by Mr. and Mrs. George M. Swart of Grinnell from three members of the crew of their son, Lt. Ernest Swart. The letter explains that Swart lost his life while returning from a mission over occupied China:

Friday, Feb. 16, 1945

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Swart

We are sorry that we have waited so long to write this letter but we wished to get all the information possible concerning Ernie’s death.

On January 18th he was on a mission into occupied China, flying first Pilot with a new crew on their first mission. About an hour from our base on the return trip from the target several other planes heard Ernie call on the radio and say that two of his engines were out and they were all leaving the plane. They were losing altitude very rapidly and Ernie being the last one to leave the plane, was too close to the ground for his parachute to open completely when he did jump.

We wish to express our deepest sympathy. If we may be of any assistance at all, please feel free to get in touch with us.

The other ten members of the crew landed safely. The next day they found and buried his body with the assistance of the Chinese.

Lieutenant Swart was considered one of the best pilots in the squadron and was liked by everyone. We, who have flown with him for the last year, have nothing but the highest praise for him.

As you probably know by now, he was awarded the Silver Star for the wonderful job he did last August 29th when we were all with him.

Very Sincerely,

J. T. O’Neal, Jr.
Orville Miller, JR.
Edward J. Napior
Co-Pilot, Navigator, Bombardier

Oakley Graphic (Oakley, KS)
14 Sept 1945

Posthumous Awards to 1st. Lt. Swart Received

Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Swart recently received the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, representing an additional award of the Air Medal having been posthumously awarded their son, First Lieutenant Ernest G. Swart, Air Corps. They had previously received the Purple Heart. The Silver Star was awarded for gallantry in action on Aug. 29, 1944; the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement in Aerial Flying form July 5 to Nov. 11, 1944 (200 or more hours of combat flight etc.); Air Medal, for meritorious achievement form July 5 to Sept. 16, 1944 (100 or more hours of flight, etc.); Oak Leaf Cluster to the Air Medal, for meritorious achievement as pilot form July 5 to Jan. 14, 1945 (300 or more hours, etc.)

Courier Tribune (Seneca, KS)
2 May 1949

Service at Oneida for Lieutenant Ernest Swart

With family and friends and many servicemen gathered to pay their respect, funeral service was held yesterday at the Oneida Methodist church for Lieutenant Ernest G. Swart, who gave his life for his country. It was a simple service but the kind the soldier would have liked.

The Rev. Steve Parker, Seneca, who was long and army chaplain, called attention that Lieutenant Swart had given his life for the Christian principles that have become what we term the American way of life; that those who live must carry on such principles that those who gave their lives shall not have done so in vain.

Fitting too, were the remarks of Rev. Onan Yale, for he was a member of Ernest Swart’s high school class when they were boys together in high school at Grinnell, Kansas.

The old songs by Oneida singes, the full military honors at the grave, the beauty of the day after a storm had cleared, the profusion of flowers, all added to the service.

An obituary read by Rev. Yale follows

Ernest Gilbert Swart, son of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Swart, was born June 1, 1919, near Seneca, Kansas, and gave his live in action over China Jan 18, 1945.

He moved to Gove county with his parents and the rest of the family in 1929. He attended grade school in Nemaha and Gove counties, graduating from Grinnell high school in 1937. Then he helped on the farm, also did implement sales work until entering the service of his country as one of the first draftees of Gove county on Feb. 24, 1941. He was assigned to the 35th division and took basic training at Camp Robinson Ark. and Fort Bennington, Ga. He transferred to the air corps in 1942, and received his wings at Stockton Field, Calif., Nov 3, 1943. After further training he was assigned to a B-24 bomber. On June 3, 12944 he was sent to overseas duty in China. He with his crew, became a part of the famous Flying Tigers under General Chenault. He soon became a first lieutenant. He lost his life while returning from a bombing mission with a new crew. They were forced to parachute out, due to a disabled plane, when only an hour’s flight form their home base. He was the only casualty.

Ernest attend the Methodist church at Grinnell. HE was initiated into the Grinnell lodge of A.F. & A.M. on May 5, 1944.

He is survived by his parents, brothers, Wilbert, Alfred, John, Loyd and Oura Lee; sisters, Jessie, who is Mrs. A. G. Park, and Gladys, both of Oakley, Bettie who is Mrs. Allan Burns, Dallas Texas; and Ethel, of Lawrence, Kan. There are three brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, seven nieces and nephews, other relatives and many friends.

Oneida and Goff service posts and a Seneca representation join in conducting the military services yesterday. Oakley Legion sent the pallbearers. They were Don Schuman, Royce Teeters, Clarence Hays, Louis Medlin, LeRoy Nelson and Richard Mather.

Relatives from a distance who were here for the service included Mr. and Mrs. George m. Swart, Gladys, John, Loud, Oura Lee and three other of the family from Oakley Mr and Mrs Wilbert Swart, Mr and Mrs. Alfred Swart, Mr and Mrs Leonard Swart, Mrs J J McDonald, Donald McDonald, Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Park, Mrs. T. P. Johnstone and Glenn Johnstone from Donna Texas; Miss Ethel Swart of Lawrence, Kans., Bill McDonald, Manhattan, Mr. and Mrs. Max Krummel and Linda Kay, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Debus, Belleville, Ks., Mrs. Jeanette B[on]n and baby and Robert Duncan Kansas City Ks., Mrs Ed Gilkerson and Miss Nellie Gilkerson, St. Joseph.

Among the friends form a distance were Mr and Mrs R. H. Thomas of Kansas City, Ralph Med[li]n, Don Hall, Noah Frazier and Neil Schwietzer of Oakley, Mr. and Mrs John Bo[rah], Mrs. D. J. H[omsd]ale, Harvey Weinhardt and Leonard Samdon of Grinnell and Rev Onan Yale, Enid, Okla.