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Wisconsin’s WWII Lost Sons and Daughters Will Not Be Forgotten
Stories Behind The Stars honors more than 421,000 Americans that lost their lives in World War II. For the next 50 weeks, fallen soldiers from Green County will be highlighted in the Monroe Times. To learn more about the project, visit

A project to write a story about the lives of over 8,300 Wisconsin WWII fallen service persons has been underway for the past two years. More than 1,500 stories have been successfully completed by 20-plus dedicated volunteers. The volunteers come from all walks of life and not only live in Wisconsin but other states as well. All are connected to Wisconsin in some way and are driven to make sure that Wisconsin’s fallen heroes are remembered. You can help tell these stories. The stories will be posted on and can be accessed through a Find A Grave App so that anyone can read the stories of our Wisconsin WWII fallen heroes. 

The project is part of a national non-profit organization called Stories Behind the Stars. SBTS was founded by Don Milne who started writing stories about the WWII fallen. Milne says, “The daily writings have always been fascinating and well worth the effort. It never got old to find another story about World War II fallen — as a group, they are a microcosm of the America of the mid-20th century. Highly representative of rural and blue-collar America, coming from large families, and usually with less than 12 years of education. They also reflected the vast, diverse melting pot that is America. Barely a few days went by without one of the fallen being an immigrant, a child of an immigrant, or a grandchild of immigrants. They came from dozens and dozens of countries to live the American Dream and tens of thousands from these immigrant families gave their lives for their adopted land.” 

Stories such as 2nd Lieutenant Julia Hermina Schmid Barnes, who was the valedictorian of her high school class in Plymouth in 1932, she went on to attain her nursing degree and served with the Army Nurse Corp. She was declared missing in action on March 4, 1945, when the plane on which she was a passenger crashed killing 27 on board including 15 Army nurses. (Read the story at

Or the story of Seaman First Class Earl Lloyd Merchant, a farm hand from Monroe County. He joined the Navy and was assigned on the USS Hancock. In April 1945 he was killed when a Japanese kamikaze pilot crashed the plane into the Hancock causing a bomb that the ship was carrying to explode killing 62 men and wounding 71 more. (


Or Captain Benjamin Louis Salomon Jr. of the Milwaukee area who served with the Army Dental Corp. He was working in an aid station as a surgeon in Saipan in the Marianas Islands when it was overrun with Japanese soldiers. Captain Saloman jumped into action protecting the wounded American soldiers by engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy. He fought his way to the outside of the tent where he took control of a machine gun and fought bravely until his life was taken. He was found draped over the machine gun with 98 dead enemy soldiers piled up in front of his position. (



These are just a sample of the thousands of brave Wisconsin sons and daughters who fought for our freedom in World War II. You’ll be telling stories for those who never could.

Wisconsin WWII Fallen Project Director, Jean Cookle, is asking for your help in joining the mission of writing all the Wisconsin WWII fallen stories. Those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in serving their Country deserve to be remembered, wouldn’t you want your loved one to be remembered in such a way? Volunteering is easy, you work at your own pace from your own home. This could also be a group project for a high school or college history classroom or a genealogy or historical society project. 

Please consider joining the Stories Behind the Stars Wisconsin WWII Fallen Project and helping us remember those who fought so bravely for us all. Volunteer writers receive free access to research sites, and You can contact Jean Cookle at jean@ for more information. You can also learn more about the project at Stories Behind the Stars website at