Elgin Strahm

Purple Heart Recipient

In October 1940, Elgin Strahm registered for the ‘young men’s’ draft. According to his registration, he was living with his mother in Nemaha county, Kansas and employed by E. L. Seidel in Sabetha.

In March 1942, Elgin Strahm wa one of 35 men from Nemaha county that was accepted for military duty.

List of 35 About to Go
From Two Days’ Exam

Reports Not Yet Received from Ft. Leavenworth on Two Other Groups

The Nemaha county selective service office has received names of 35 men, accepted for military duty from two groups sent to Ft. Leavenworth for examination. These men are now listed “as about to be inducted” into military service.

Lists have not yet been received from two other groups sent later.

Sixteen passed from the first group; five were rejected; one is conditional. Nineteen passed from the second group, three were rejected.

Those who passed
Byron Nightingale, Centralia
Samuel Robbins, Centralia
William Kennedy, Oneida
George Geisel, Bern
Garth Smith, Seneca
Albert Rilinger, Baileyville
Lawrence Wessel, Baileyville
Wilbern Oenbring, Baileyville
Henry Hunninghake, Baileyville
Elver Swart, Seneca
Lawrence Miller, Sabetha
Wilfred Johnson, Seneca
Earl Meyer, Sabetha
John Niehues, Kelly
Elgin Strahm, Sabetha
Leo Cornell, Seneca
Jacob Streit, Seneca
Raymond Battin, Wetmore
Benedict Schmidt, Baileyville
Howard Bigalow, Baileyville
Alfred Hammes, Seneca
Carl Staehli, Sabetha
Albert Ketter, Goff
Andy Lehman, Sabetha
Sylvester Nordhus, Seneca
Charles Mathews, Seneca
Charles Bauer, Centralia
Bernard Heideman, Axtell
LeRoy Ritchie, Centralia
Joy Meyer, Oneida
Elmer Lindeen, Seneca
Albert Rogers, Seneca
Donald Lehmkuhl, Oneida
Callistus Kramer, Goff
Ross George, Wetmore

The Courier Tribune, March 2, 1942, page 1

In April, Nemaha county had a farewell program to send over twenty young men off to war.

More Men to the Army
Over Twenty Today

Takes Most of Those Who Had Pre-Induction Examinations

Nemaha County sent some 20 more young men to the colors this afternoon, with a fitting farewell program on Main street. There are other groups to go soon.

The war has steadily become more serious. The public is more deeply concerned about it. Fall of Bataan peninsula, held bravely far longer than could have been expected a glorious chapter in American fighting, was none the less a hard blow. The happenings of recent weeks have shattered hopes for a short war.

Today’s group included:
Norman Stauffer, Bern, who returned here from California for induction.
Elgin Strahm, Sabetha
Raymond Battin, Wetmore
Benedict Schmidt, Baileyville
Howard Bigalow, Baileyville
Alfred Hammes, Seneca
Carl Staehli, Sabetha
Albert Ketter, Goff
Andy Lehman, Sabetha
Aloysius Boeding, Corning
William Woltkamp, Seneca
Charles Mathews, Seneca
Charles Bauer, Centralia
Bernard Heideman, Axtell
LeRoy Ritchie, Centralia
Albert Rogers, Seneca
Donald Lehmkuhl, Oneida
Lawrence Freel, Goff
Callistus Kramer, Goff

The Courier Tribune, April 13, 1942

By January 1943, Elgin was stationed in the South Pacific.

Elgin Strahm, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Strahm, who is somewhere in the South Pacific, has recently been promoted and is now a staff sergeant.

Sabetha Herald, Jan. 20, 1943

In July 1943, the family was notified of Elgin’s death.

S. Sgt. Elgin Strahm Dies Fighting Japs
Was in Amphibian Boat Service

Mr. and Mrs. Ed. B. Strahm received the following message on Tuesday morning. “The Secretary of War desires that I tender his deepest sympathy to you in the loss of your son, Staff Sergeant Elgin A. Strahm. Report just received states that he was killed in action on July 1st in the Southwest Pacific are. Letter follows. Signed Ulio, the Adjt. General.”

This news brings sorrow to the whole community, especially to the family and the friends, who include all who knew Elgin.

The Strahm family has been reared in this community Elgin was born January 3, 1919, and was 24 years old at the time of his death.. His entire life was spent int he Sabetha community, until he left for camp, April 13, 1942. He was stationed first at Camp Robinson Ark. Subsequently he spent some time at Camp Edwards, Mass, Camp Carrabelle, Fla and Fort Ord, Calif., obtaining further training. He arrived in Australia March 3rd of this year and in New Guinea May 6, where he saw action. HE advanced rapidly in his work and had attained the highest non-commissioned rank in the Engineering Amphibian Boat service, on eof the most effective of army services.

Elgin was community spirited at home. He was an active worker in the local and county Young Republican organizations. He served as committeeman for Rock Creek township and never failed to attend county and state meetings.

Through his friends, Eugene Pfleider and Wilbur Wurzbacher he became affiliated with the Congregational Sunday school and church. He was active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce.

Elgin loved life and lived a happy and useful twenty-five years in which he brought happiness to his family and friends. When the time came to serve his country, he entered whole-heartedly into the work assigned to him and advancement came regularly. He wold be in the thick of the fighting, all who know him feel assured. He would give his best and we know that when he paid the supreme sacrifice, eh was giving his best.

Elgin is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ed B Strahm, four brothers, Silas of Fairview, Orville of Wichita, Leland in army service, Milan of Sabetha; four sisters, Mrs. Lee Wenger, Mrs. Louis Wenger, Mrs Roy Alderfer of Sabetha and Mrs Harry Wherry of Lawrence. Among the many relatives surviving are eleven cousins, who are in the service of their country.

The amphibious engineer services are among the most daring and dangerous in the army, demanding the most exacting type of work at the most delicate moment of any offensive. Elgin Strahm’s grade in this work is indication of his ability, courage and leadership.

While there is no indication that such is the case it appears probably that Elgin’s death came as a result of the recently renewed American action int he New Guinea area. It is some source of satisfaction to know that this offensive is gaining momentum, is an important phase of the general plan of action against Japan, and that the Sabetha boy’s life was sacrificed in what is fast becoming a great and successful blow against the forces of oppression.

Sabetha has been more fortunate than many communities in the percentage of loss of its fighting men, who are at work on all fronts. Elgin Strahm is the second Sabetha lad to make the supreme sacrifice, although several others from nearby communities well know here have been lost. The death of these boys should live in the memories of home folks, and be an inspiration for greater sacrifice and effort. How little is demanded of the rest of us compared with losses sustained by a few. Their passing may well be justified in bringing the war closer to home and cruelty and selfishness to banishment from the earth, that liberty might live and some day thrive again.

The Sabetha Herald, July 14, 1943

In November, the family held a memorial service.

Men in the Service
Memorial Service for Elgin Strahm

Memorial Services for Elgin Strahm, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ed B. Strahm, who lost his life in the service of his country, July 1 of this year in the Pacific battle area, were held Sunday afternoon in Sabetha. The Apostolic Christian church was crowded with relatives and friends who wished to pay tribute to one held in deep affection by all who knew him. All available space in the church and about the building was occupied.
The American Legion was represented by these men who sat in a body: B W Grimm, Henry Imthurn, Max Mock, Roy Mishler, C L Pautz, Paul Luckert, Elba Stine and C R White A group of Legion Auxiliary members also sat in a body.
The Scripture lesson and singing of hymns preceded a very thought-provoking and inspiring address by the Rev. Noah Schrock of Iowa. Rev. Joe Wittmer assisted in the service.

The Sabetha Herald, Nov. 3, 1943

According to Find a Grave, Elgin Strahm is listed on the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

The record for Elgin A. Strahm on the American Battle Monuments Commission website shows that Elgin recieved the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

Elgin A. Strahm’s memorial certificate indicates that his date of death was July 1, 1943 while serving as a Staff Sergeant in the 532nd Engineer Shore Regiment of the U.S. Army.

A search for more information about Elgin’s service in the South Pacific turns up several articles about the Amphibious Engineers in New Guinea.