Technical Sergeant James Warren DeForest was born in DeKalb, Illinois, on February 9, 1925, and was living in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, with his parents at the time he registered for the draft. He graduated from Wauwatosa High School. DeForest was a U.S. Army Air Forces radar operator on a B-24 Liberator and was killed on August 7, 1945, while on a bombing mission over Kyushu, Japan. He was initially buried overseas but was brought back to the United States for burial at the Chattanooga National Cemetery in Tennessee in 1949. Mr. and Mrs. Walsh of Wauwatosa were listed as DeForest’s next of kin. For many years, the James DeForest Memorial Golf Cup was awarded by the Westmoor Country Club.
TSgt DeForest was killed as U.S. military attacks on Japan were escalating. His death came one day after the U.S. Army Air Forces dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and days before more than 100 bombers attacked aircraft factories and arsenals near Tokyo.
Seaman Second Class Robert Wojculis was serving on the USS President Hayes when he was killed 19 days before his 19th birthday. The President Hayes took part in the Okinawa campaign and performed general transportation duty. During the last four months of 1945, the transporter supported the occupation of Japan.
Days after his parents Constantine and Helen Wojculis were notified of their son’s death, they posted this message in the Milwaukee Journal: “Cards of Thanks: The recent loss of our beloved son and brother, Robert Wojculis, seaman second class, would have been much more difficult to bear but for the comfort and consolation given us by our relatives, friends, and neighbors. And we hope to reach everyone with his public acknowledgment. Our special thanks to the Rev. S. Studer, Rev. Stevkuis; the organist C. Zablocki; the VFW firing squad; the bugler; the beautiful floral offerings and spiritual offerings; the Navy personnel pallbearers, and the funeral director. Mr. and Mrs. Wojculis and family.”
The year he played at Wojculis’s memorial service, Clement J. Zablocki had been a Wisconsin State Senator for three years. He would become a U.S. Representative in 1948. Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center is named after him.