Staff Sgt. Walter A. Schaller of the Wisconsin Red Arrow was killed in New Guinea on Feb. 20, 1944.
Schaller, 26, of Milwaukee, was in Company I, 128th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry Division. His body was brought home in 1949 and he is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, in Block 1, Section 4, Row 4, Grave 16.
He enlisted on April 29, 1941, and had four years of high school, according to his record.
A newspaper article posted on his Find a Grave page says he grew up on a farm near St. Nazianz in Manitowoc County and attended St. Gregory’s School there. His mother, Thersia, died in 1927, and father Mathew Schaller moved the family of four children to Milwaukee. It added that Walter had worked at the Lakeside Power Plant on the South Side.
The Red Arrow had started fighting at Buna, New Guinea, in September 1942 and was so depleted by jungle diseases and geographical and weather challenges, plus the Japanese, that it was out of action for nearly a year, based in Australia as it was refurbished and revitalized.
The division returned to combat at Saidor in New Guinea in the first days of 1944. After seven weeks of fighting, Schaller was killed near the village of Saidor on the northeast coast of New Guinea, on the Bismarck Sea.
The 32nd at Saidor killed 119 Japanese and captured 18 while losing 40 killed, 11 wounded, and 16 missing, according to its records.
The Red Arrow’s work at Saidor is discussed at length here.
Schaller was from St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church on North Fourth Street (now Vel Phillips Street). St. Francis lost 13 sons in the war. Their photos ran as a group in the parish bulletin at the end of the war.