The Stevensville American Legion post, Fort Owen Post #94, is in the process of erecting a new Veterans Monument in the Veterans Park at the intersection of Main Street and Eastside Highway. This monument is intended to honor those Stevensville area citizens who have given their lives while on active military duty.
The individual inscriptions will be more inclusive than just honoring the names of those Killed-In-Action (KIA). The post has expanded the definition of “who have given their lives on active duty” to include those individuals who died while in Prisoner of War custody, were killed in training accidents, etc.
A list of names is being developed to be inscribed on the monument. Most of the names and associated information has been extracted from three books published by a former Stevensville citizen, Jack Bird, on WWI, WWII and Korea, or from newspaper clippings. However, the Peacetime, Vietnam and War-On-Terror names have primarily come from searching the local funeral home records.
In order to further develop information on the names currently on the list, and to obtain information on individuals that might be been missed, the post is soliciting help from the community. If you have information on anyone contained in the following list and/or have information about someone not on the list, contact the American Legion by email at [email protected] or phone at 531-8234.
• Tory Brown was killed in France in July 1918.
• Arthur and Orville Young died while on active duty stateside probably from the Spanish Influenza epidemic.
• Earl Squires died from malaria while a POW after being captured at Bataan.
• Danny Moore was killed when the ship full of POWs being transported to Japan was torpedoed by an American submarine.
• Burton Wilhamson was captured at Bataan and died in a prison camp.
• Ora Hilton was wounded while on a reconnaissance mission but was able to deliver information to his commanding officer before he succumbed to his wounds.
• James Huggans was KIA in North Africa.
• Mark Campbell was KIA in Italy in 1943.
• Robert Murphy was killed in January 1945 after he attempted to fly an airplane loaded with blood plasma form Biak Island to Leyte.
• John Brown was KIA in March of 1945 in Luzon.
• Gerald Scruggs was killed in Navigator training when the C-47 he was riding in crashed near Tampa, Florida in July 1945.
• Patrick Griffin died while undergoing emergency surgery.
• Sydney Bebee was KIA in France on June 26, 1944.
• Dennis Gray ws Navy Aviator flying the Corsair fighter. On a strike over southern Japan, his airplane was damaged by enemy fire and his instrument panel was shot out. He radioed his group that he would attempt a water landing. Planes and destroyers made an intensive search, but no trace of him was ever found.
• Clarke Irvine was KIA on June 3, 1944 in the South Pacific while assigned to the USS Enterprise.
• Grant Carruthers was KIA in Luxemburg. He had only been in Europe for six weeks.
• Harlan Hoyt was KIA in the Philippine Islands.
• Randall Jarvis died from an intestinal infection while on duty in the South Seas.
• John Case was killed in the Philippines.
• Wilbert Anderson was KIA in the South-West Pacific on August 2, 1943.
• Arthur Ellsworth Collins was KIA in Sicily on July 28, 1943.
• Robert Reinbold was killed during training as a pilot of a B-17.
• Charles Graff died in a POW camp in Japan.
• Harry Beausoliel died in a hospital in the South Pacific two years after he was wounded.
• Al Thomas, a Naval Aviator in WWII, was KIA in April 1951 while flying a Corsair.
• William Potter had been wounded in WWII but returned to service in Korea where he was severely wounded from which he died in a hospital.
• Carl Munsey was KIA in Vietnam in 1966 (his wife was from Stevensville).
• La Grande Nelson was KIA in Vietnam in 1965.
• Louis Wandler was KIA in Vietnam.
• Dean Pratt was KIA early in the war.
• Zachary Brooks was killed in a motorcycle accident.
• Lee Whitesitt died in Cavite, Philippines in 1936 from a medical emergency while serving in the Navy.
• Stephen Taylor died in 1997 while on active duty as a recruiter in Missoula.
The post also intends to include Governor Isaac Stevens, the first Governor of the Montana Territory, who was killed during the Civil War. The town of Stevensville is named after him.
The following veterans are buried in local cemeteries and may fit the criteria for inclusion on the monument but the post does not have sufficient information to make that decision:
• Phillip Holt buried in Riverside in 1970. Tombstone states: “Korea & Vietnam, USN. LM-Aviator.”
• Fred Jeffries buried in Riverside in 1974. Tombstone states “Vietnam, USA.”
• Ralph Logan buried in Riverside in 1918. Tombstones states “A Hero & Martyr.”
• Howard Martin buried in Riverside in 1977. Records show USMC and “killed in car accident.”
• William McFadgen buried in Riverside in 1972. Tombstone shows “Vietnam, USA, TRP D 2BD 10CAV.”
• Stanley Overholtzer buried in Riverside in 1958. Records show “died during military training.”