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Earl Edward Oertley
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Lt. Oertley was inducted into the Army on February 16, 1942 at Ft. Riley, Kansas as a 2nd Lieutenant. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in 1943. After extensive reconnaissance training at various U.S. installations, he left New York by ship on April 6, 1944, bound for England, taking more than a week to arrive due to heavy weather during the crossing. Earl was trained as a reconnaissance officer and served as a mechanized reconnaisance platoon leader, a very dangerous assignment. He spent several weeks in the English Midlands and Northern Wales training prior to deployment to Normandy on June 19, 1944, landing on Omaha Beach and proceeding to near Bricqueville and shortly on to Carentan where his unit was immediately put into action, relieving the 101st Airborne Division on June 26, 1944. His unit was one of the key participants in the brutal hedgerow battles against the German 17th SS Panzer and 6th Parachute divisions in that area prior to the July 25, 1944 Allied breakout from Normandy. Earl was severely wounded in combat on July 19, 1944, north of St. Lo, Normandy, France (probably near the village of Auxais) and died July 20, 1944 in a field hospital while serving with the 83rd Thunderbolt Division, Reconnaissance Troop Mechanized, attached to the 1st Army. For his heroic actions Earl was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. He was buried in the St. Mere Eglise Military Cemetery and his remains were later re-interred in the Princeville Cemetery. Earl's military dress uniform and other memorabilia are on public display at the Princeville Historical Society Museum in Princeville, Illinois
Added by: Jeff Hall

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