Pvt Kenneth G. Fields

Pvt Kenneth G. Fields

Birth
Death 26 Nov 1943 (aged 19–20)
At Sea
Burial Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia
Plot Tablets of the missing
Memorial ID 56246926 · View Source
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THE CHARLEROI MAIL, CHARLEROI, WASHINGTON COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 1944, FRONT PAGE

ELCO SOLDIER REPORTED AS WAR CASUALTY: PRIVATE KENNETH FIELDS IS KILLED IN ACTION IN NORTH AFRICA
Word has been received by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel H. Fields, of Elco, of the death of their son, Private Kenneth G. Fields, of the Corps of Engineers, on November 26, 1943. His death presumably occurred somewhere in North Africa.

The official casualty report received in the office of the Adjutant General in Washington had stated the Elco man was missing in action, but on Nov. 26, his death from injuries received in action was reported.

Private Fields had been in service since February 4, 1943. He was 20 years of age and had attended school in Long Branch, later at East Pike Run high school.

Preceding his induction he was employed by the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad.

Major General J.A. Ulio, of the Adjutant General's office, said in writing to the parents of the heroic soldier;

"The significance of his heroic service in defense of his country will be preserved and commemorated by a grateful nation, and it is hoped that this thought may give you strength and courage in your sorrow."

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US Army Air Corps WORLD WAR II
Passenger Private Kenneth G. Fields MIA/KIA
853rd Engineer Battalion, Aviation
Hometown: Washington County, Pennsylvania
Ship: HMT Rohna
Service # 33423004
Awards: Purple Heart
Captain:

Kenneth Fields was one of the 1,015 American troop casualties when the HMT ROHNA was attacked by the Luftwaffe in the Mediterranean and sank north of Bejaia, Algeria.
Submitted by Eric Ackerman

Mission: Troop Transport Convoy KMF-26
Loss Date: Friday, November 26, 1943
Location: Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Algeria.
Cause: German guided missile
Crew: On Board 2000 · Saved 606 · Lost 1138

This was the first successful "hit" of a merchant vessel at sea carrying US troops by a German remote-controlled, rocket-boosted bomb, thus giving birth to the "Missile Age", and it resulted in the greatest loss of troops (1,015) at sea in U.S. history. Combined with the loss of ship's crew and officers, and three Red Cross workers, more lives were lost than on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor.

The "hit" was so devastating that the U.S. Government placed a veil of secrecy upon it. The events which followed were so shameful that the secrecy continued for decades until recently (1967), when documents were grudgingly released under pressure of the Freedom of Information Act. The government still does not acknowledge this tragedy, thus most families of the casualties still do not know the fate of their loved ones. In 1995, over fifty years later, a group of survivors, next-of-kin and rescuers, came together for the sole purpose of enabling the creation and dedication of a Rohna Memorial.

On November 26, 1943 nearly two thousand American soldiers faced the most traumatic experience of their young lives. They woke up that morning aboard a vessel that some described as unfit for human habitation. Just a bunch of kids, mostly only a year or so out of high school. Exhibiting the expected Yankee cockiness, they were ready to take on anything the war had to offer. Having survived a Thanksgiving Day dinner the day before, things just had to get better. The sad part of it was, this would be the last Thanksgiving for over half of them!

The minesweeper USS Pioneer rescued 606 survivors of the sinking.

Private Fields appears Tablets of the Missing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial Carthage Tunis, Tunisia. He also has a cenotaph memorial Howe Cemetery Coal Center Washington County Pennsylvania, his body was never recovered.

Visit the virtual cemetery of the " HMT Rohna Crew

Gravesite Details Entered the service from Pennsylvania.

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  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: CWGC/ABMC
  • Added: 6 Aug 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 56246926
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt Kenneth G. Fields (1923–26 Nov 1943), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56246926, citing North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial, Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .