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Local News

Flagpole, monument to be added to local WWII veteran's grave in Montgomery

Lt. Walter E. Truemper
Lt. Walter E. Truemper

The Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club of Montgomery has raised funds to install a 25-foot-tall flagpole and memorial monument at the grave of Lt. Walter E. Truemper, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient, at St. Paul’s Cemetery at Douglas and Montgomery roads in Montgomery.

The public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony for the flagpole and monument at 3 p.m. Saturday, Veterans Day.

Refreshments will be served at the cemetery after the dedication by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Aurora.

Truemper served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during WWII and is the only soldier from Aurora to receive the Medal of Honor.

He was born on Oct. 31, 1918, in Aurora. After high school, he attended business college and worked as an accounting clerk. He entered military service on June 23, 1942.

After basic training, he served briefly with the 174th Field Artillery at Camp Bowie, Texas. In September 1942, he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program. He took pre-flight training at Ellington Field, Texas; flexible gunnery training at Harlingen, Texas; and advanced navigator training at Hondo, Texas. He graduated on Aug. 26, 1943, and was commissioned a second lieutenant.

He served with the 796th Bomb Squadron at Alexandria, Louisiana, until December 1943, when he was assigned as part of a replacement crew to England. Arriving in England, he was assigned to the 510 Bomb Squadron, 351st Bomb Group, located at RAF Polebrook.

He flew several combat missions between December 1943 and February 1944.

On Feb. 20, 1944, as part of “Big Week,” he flew on a mission to Leipzig. The aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters, and the pilot severely wounded and another member killed. Most of the crew bailed out. Truemper and the flight engineer, Sgt. Archie Mathias, would not leave the wounded pilot, so they attempted a landing. The aircraft crashed and all three were killed. Truemper and Mathias both were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Truemper was 25 years-old at the time of his death.

The installation of the flagpole, lighting and monument are the result of donations from several local residents and businesses, including The Dunham Fund Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley; The Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club; The Fox Valley Marine Detachment 1233: Vietnam Moving Wall – Oswego; Roosevelt American Legion Post 84; Omer and Wanda Horton; Herschel and Eva Luckinbill; St. Paul Cemetery; St. Paul Lutheran Church; Uncommon USA Flag Co.; and other private donors.

To become a contributor, make check payable to Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club (FVVBC) and mail to 1603 Timber Lane Drive, Montgomery, IL 60538. Designate Walter E. Truemper Memorial Fund on the memo line.

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