Two of our Honor Roll fallen service members were killed one day apart in the Battle of Negros Island, the fourth-largest island in the Visayas Islands, Philippines. A third was killed just days later in a POW camp in Tokyo.
Robert W. Gash graduated from West Division High School in Milwaukee. In 1940 he was living with his mother, Rose, while he worked as a traveling salesman. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on September 25, 1941. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Air Corps 97th Bombardment Group, 341st Squadron, which was part of the effort to liberate the Philippines. PVC Gash was killed on May 22, 1945. His name was among Milwaukee’s Jewish service members honored on a plaque installed at Milwaukee’s Jewish Community Center in 1955.
Eugene Panfil was killed in the assault on Negros Island on May 23, 1945, less than a month after his 20th birthday and one day after Robert Gash’s death. Panfil attended Kosciusko Trade School and was working at Kranz Wire Works on Lincoln Avenue before he enlisted in September 1943.
Assigned to the 40th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Sunshine Division, and attached to the 185th Infantry Regiment, PFC Panfil arrived on Negros Island on March 29 as the assault on the Japanese in the region mounted. “On April 9, all three regiments of the 40th Infantry Division, attached to the 503rd Parachute Infantry, pushed east into the steep mountains of the island. Initially, the Japanese held their positions by using booby-trapped terrain and counter-attacks at night, but despite this and torrential rains, the 40th drove the enemy from the ravines and cliffs. As the 40th Infantry Division drove the enemy deeper into the mountains of Negros, the Japanese forces scattered in the jungle and were largely ineffective by August 1945,” according to the book “Little Minnesota in World War II.” PFC Panfil was most likely killed in the heavy battles as each side tried to lay claim to the hills on the island.
Three days after Eugene Panfil died, Milwaukeean Harvey Morris Glick was killed at a POW camp in Tokyo. The son of Harry and Rose Glick, Harvey attended Washington High School and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he studied economics and was a member of the Pi Mu Epsilon fraternity.
Glick enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on August 18, 1942. His specialty was radar operator, assigned to the 9th Bomber Group, 5th Bomber Squadron. According to information found at Honor States.org, 2nd Lt. Glick was serving aboard a B-29 Superfortress that crashed on April 16, 1945, from an unknown cause at Ishigami Chiba, Japan. Three crew members were killed in the crash. Of those who were able to parachute out, one was shot by the Japanese. The survivors were sent to the Tokyo Military Prison. On May 26, 1945, the prison was hit by an American bomb and it was reported that 65 U.S. airmen were killed, including Harvey Glick. He is memorialized at the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.
If you have photos or more information for Robert Gash, Eugene Panfil, or Harvey Glick, please email email@example.com.
Honor Roll researcher Fred Thorne contributed information for Gash and Glick.
These stories were compiled as part of the War Memorial Center Honor Roll research project. To support this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.