|Birth: ||Sep. 3, 1921|
|Death: ||Oct. 5, 1944|
William Heister Dukeman Jr.
On September 3rd 1921, William Heister Dukeman Jr. was born in Strasburg, Colorado (Living Springs Ranch). Together with 3 brothers (Herry, Charles and Cles) and a sister (Mildred Christine) they are part of a family that was founded by Gertrude Nordow and William Hester Dukeman Sr.
William Heister Dukeman Jr. got the nickname and at the same time the clamour name "Buddy". It wasn't unusual to have a nickname in the USA. Possibly the nickname "Buddy" was ideal since his father had the same names as his son. Remarkable and yet real unclear was, why the mother of Buddy (Gertrude Dukeman - Nordow) deliberately stated that Buddy was born on September 3rd of 1922 instead of 1921.
In Strasburg, Buddy went to school until the entire family moved to Keenesburg (Colorado) in 1929. In Keenesburg he continued school and succesfully passed his education halfway the year 1939. It was in the summer of that year that he, together with Everett Gray and two other good friends, left to see more of the world. They traveled approximately 453 miles to the South West. After this distance they arrived in a small city called Albuquerque, in New Mexico. Here they found jobs, what helped them a lot since they started to run out of money. As a result of the depression, finding and keeping a job became a problem, which Buddy also started to experience.
It was March 1942 when Buddy contacted his sister (Mildred) from a small town called Cheyenne in the State of Wyoming and asked her if she knew if there would be any work. Mildred was married to Henry Wilson in 1937 and had three sons (one of these three sons is Douglas Wilson. He has played a key role in the realization of this story). Mildred suggested that Buddy came to her, since she new a job for him. Buddy had spent so much money by that time that Mildred had to send him money to be able to pay the costs of fuel.
In the summer of 1942, Buddy worked for several concrete companies, also at the Wilson Brothers Sand & Gravel which still exists. Four-year old Douglas sat next to Buddy on a tractor when they drove back on a working day to have lunch. They stopped for lunch and got off the tractor. Douglas climbed from the tractor, but lost his balance. In a reflex he grabbed the exhaust pipe of the tractor. The pipe was extremely hot what resulted in a hand full with blisters and a crying Douglas lying on the ground. Buddy immediately kneeled and took little Douglas in his arms to comfort him with the words that everything would be allright and that he would take care of that. Until this very moment Douglas can still remember clearly being held by Buddy, who brought him to his parent's house.
t was the autumn of 1942 when Buddy and his best friend Everett went to the State of California. Here they saw the ocean for the first time and submitted an application at the army in California. When Buddy and Everett heard about the new Airborne Division and the extra 50 dollars a month their choice was made pretty fast. They decided to join the Airborne Division and after signing the necessary papers, the training began. Buddy trained to become a paratrooper in Camp Toccoa, Georgia. In Camp Toccoa Buddy and Everett were part of E-Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Division. They were both part of the first group of soldiers since the foundation of E-Company. These first soldiers are also known as "Toccoa-men".
Written by Bernie van Doorn
Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial
Plot: G, Row 2, Grave 11
Maintained by: Ralph Peeters
Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
Record added: Aug 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 56305623