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World War II Honor Roll

George F. Frederick

Captain, U.S. Army Air Forces

0-372630

12th Air Liaison Party
Headquarters, Fifth Air Force

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: March 30, 1944
Buried at: Plot F Row 6 Grave 102
Manila American Cemetery
Manila, Philippines
Awards: Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Purple Heart


CAPTAIN GEORGE F. FREDERICK was born in December 14, 1914 in Pennsylvania to Harry and Mary L. Frederick. The oldest child, his father was by 1930 working as a clerk for the railroad, and the family had purchased a home on Walnut Avenue in Laurel Springs NJ sometime after 1920. The family later moved to Beach and Lakewood Avenues in Laurel Springs. Besides George, there were two younger children, Harry and Eleanor E. Fredrick.

Harry Frederick and his two sons were all members of the New Jersey National Guard. When the Guard was mobilized in 1940 both brothers were sent to Camp Claiborne. George Frederick was already an officer; brother Harry Jr., then a sergeant, was sent to Officers Candidate School at Fort Lewis in Washington state.

After qualifying for flight duty, George Frederick trained as a pilot. During the summer of 1942 he was stationed at a flight training center at Pittsburgh, Kansas for six weeks. While there he met a local girl. The dated, and before George Frederick was sent to his next stationed he proposed. He was transferred to Lubbock, Texas, where the November 20, 1942 evening edition of the Camden Courier-Post reported that George Frederick, then a lieutenant, was at the South Plains Army Flying School. His father, Harry Frederick Sr., was on active duty at the time with the rank of Captain.

George and Cleo Frederick were married on November 25, 1942, the day day before Thanksgiving at South Plains.  Mrs. Frederick returned to Kansas to finish her teaching contract, and returned to Lubbock day before Christmas.

 

George & Cleo
Frederick

On a date
August 1942

Sent to the southwest Pacific on the 1st of April, 1943, Captain Frederick was stationed for some time at Port Moresby Australia, where he served with a unit that was part of the 309th Bomber Wing.

The main theater of operations in the southwest Pacific at that time was New Guinea. Captain Frederick was trained as a glider pilot, but flew reconnaissance and was assigned one point provide reconnaissance for the 3rd and 7th Australian Infantry Divisions. Begininning on August 22, 1943, piloting the unarmed Stinson L-5, a plane similar to a Piper Cub, he began flying missions in New Guinea. In early September of  1943 he aided the Australian 3rd Division during the siege of Salamua, which fell on September 11th. Attached to the Australian 7th Division, he participated in the battle for Lae, which was taken on the 16th. 

The Australian 7th Division continued the offensive, moving up the Markham Valley and the Ramu River, to occupy Dumpu by 4 October. Captain Frederick flew many missions in the Ramu and Markum Valleys during this period. He was was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for finding a usable airstrip at Dumpu and flying wounded men out of New Guinea while under enemy fire from there during this time. Captain Frederick was flying missions as late as October 16, 1943. For his deeds in August, September, and October of 1943, Captain Frederick would be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal. 

Heavy fighting developed on Shaggy Ridge in the Finisterre Mountains to the north, and Captain Frederick saw action there as well. As he was photographed carrying a rifle, it appears that his duties were change, and he was performing the duty of air liaison officer, coordinating air support with infantry actions. He would go on to perform heroically in this role later. Japanese resistance collapsed on New Guinea by the end of January 1944.

Late 1944 in New Guinea

By the time this picture was taken, George Frederick was seeing a lot of action on the ground, coordinating air strikes. Note that in the picture on the right he is carrying a rifle.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Cleo Frederick gave birth to a son, George Clinton "Clint" Frederick, in November of 1943.

As the campaign in New Guinea drew to a close, Captain Frederick was given a new assignment. Named commanding officer of the 12th Air Liaison Party, which was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division, to coordinate air-ground operations. Captain Frederick came ashore with the 1st Cavalry Division on Los Negros in the Admiralty Islands early in March 1944 as American ground forces attempted a quick capture of Momote airfield. Captain Frederick landed with the first wave on the invasion of the Los Negros at 1100 hours. Captain Frederick personally received credit for killing two Jap soldiers. General MacArthur himself came ashore at 1400 hours.

The
Los Negros Assault

February 29 to March 9
1944

 

Click on Image
to Enlarge

After MacArthur pulled out promising to send troops and supplies, for about four days and nights 1,000 of the 1st Cavalry held off over 4300 crack Jap troops.  As air drops were the only means of bringing food and ammunition to the Americans on the beachhead, the role Captain Frederick played during this action cannot be understated. In his  diary Captain Frederick wrote that the Japanese dead were piled up in front of his position three and four deep after the night attack of March 3rd, 1944. It is thought that Captain Frederick was stationed behind Troop G, which took the brunt of the Japanese counter-attack. Captain Frederick's own attitude towards his performance during this time, as evidenced in a letter home, was that he was simply doing his job. For directing air traffic while under fire from atop a revetment, he was nominated for the Silver Star, he was, however, awarded the Legion of Merit.

On March 9, 1944, Major General Ennis C. Whitehead, Deputy Commander of the Fifth Air Force, wrote a note to congratulate Captain Frederick on a job well done. A testament to George Frfederick's character is his request General Whitehead that he write a similar note noting the work of his unit, the 12th Air Liaison Party.

During this period Captain Frederick was in and out of foxholes and under fire from Japanese ground forces, directing air strikes in support of American ground forces. Captain Frederick was credited with killing a third Japanese soldier later in March. With a day off he went souvenir hunting. He broke into a shack and found a wounded Japanese soldier, and called for medics who evacuated injured man. The Japanese soldier died on the way to the hospital, so although he didn't wound the soldier he did get credit for taking him prisoner before he died.  On March 22, 1944 George Frederick had the opportunity to use a Signal Corps typewriter and compose a letter to his father. This would prove to be his last letter home.

After the Los Negros and the neighboring island of Manus fell, operations were scheduled against the outlying islands in the Admiralty chain. 

Amphibious assaults on the lesser islands of the Admiralties, along with mopping-up actions on Manus, comprised the last phase of combat operations. In light of the losses on Hauwei and with the expectation that landings would be opposed, attacks on the outlying islands would be made in considerable force. Pityilu Island, 3 miles north of Lugos Mission, was the first scheduled for attack on March 30, by the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry, reinforced (Map No. 3, pages 8-9). 

Pityilu Island, thought to be defended by 60 Japanese, is nearly 3 miles long and varies in width from 250 to 650 yards. The beach chosen for the assault is the only one suitable for landing; it is of white, hard sand and is located about the center of the southern shore. Six waves transported in LVT's, LCM's, and LCV's would make up the assaulting force, which would move inland through the coconut plantation covering the western two-thirds of the island. Captain Frederick accompanied the landing force to coordinate air support. 

Naval gunfire, artillery, and air strikes had been used against this island at various times before the attack date. Destroyers had first bombarded it to keep down hostile fire when the approaches to Lorengau and Lugos Mission were being cleared of mines. A Japanese naval gun captured on Hauwei Island had been put back into commission and used to augment the fires on Pityilu. Preparation for the attack began at 0630 on 30 March by 2 destroyers which fired 30 rounds each until 0730. A spectacular air strike followed the naval fire.

For the first 10 minutes P-40's dive-bombed the landing beach; the next 10 minutes P-40's and Spitfires strafed the entire island. Immediately afterwards the 61st Field Artillery Battalion, which had registered the previous day from positions on the south side of the Lorengau air strip, pounded the island with a heavy concentration of 105's. When the artillery barrage was lifted, two LCS's (Landing Craft, Support) on either flank of the beach opened up with their rockets. By this time the assault waves were approaching the shore, and the rockets searched the island in front of the first wave.

The successive waves landed unopposed and the troops established a beachhead with Troop C as the left wing, Troop A in the center, and Troop B on the right. At 1000 some patrols sent out immediately after landing reported no contact with the enemy. The Reconnaissance Platoon moved by buffalo to the west, while Troop C in reserve on the beach sent patrols west into the interior. Troops A and B, with one medium tank leading the way, began an advance east toward the rain forest which covered that end of the island.

As the troops advanced they ran into light machine-gun and sniper fire which was easily silenced. Enemy guns in a hut, encountered by Troop B after moving 1,000 yards along the south coast, were neutralized by the tank, which blew up the entire position.

At 1212, after progressing 1,500 yards, Troop A ran into heavy resistance from dug-in positions midway between the north and south shores. Troop A started to withdraw to permit an artillery concentration to be placed on the position, but the Japanese followed the withdrawal so closely that it was impossible to evacuate our wounded until a light tank was brought up to cover this operation. Then a 45-minute artillery concentration was placed on the enemy bunker, after which Troop A, aided by the light tank, attacked the position and killed 14 Japanese.

Troop B came upon a hastily constructed trench containing 21 Japanese, who gave their position away by loud chatter. When 2d Lt. John R. Boehme and two privates went out to investigate the position, they were wounded by fire from the group. In spite of his wound, Pvt. Paul A. Lahman advanced on the position, firing clip after clip from his BAR. He was credited by Lieutenant Boehme with the destruction of practically the entire force. At 1720 the squadron withdrew on regimental orders to a position on the western edge of the rain forest and established a perimeter for the night. The Reconnaissance Platoon patrolled the western end of the island and returned to report no contact. Although the attacking force then did not know it, all the Japanese garrison had been killed or wounded. After a bombardment the next morning, the squadron advanced and discovered more dead Japanese, which made a total of 59 killed against 8 cavalrymen killed and 6 wounded in the mopping up of Pityilu. Also lost was Captain Frederick, killed in action at 1400 hours on March 30, 1944. 

Seizing Pityilu was an expensive operation compared with the other small islands, which turned out to be either unoccupied or harboring only a handful of Japanese who hid out in the interior. 

George Frederick was survived by his wife, Mrs. Cleo Frederick of Hiattsville KS; a son, Clint; his parents, Major and Mrs. Harry Frederick of Laurel Springs NJ; and his siblings. Besides the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Legion of Merit, he also was awarded the Air Medal. 

Harry Frederick Sr. had been promoted to Major, and had requested a transfer to the Southwest Pacific so he could serve alongside his son. This request was initially denied. After Captain George Frederick was killed he was transferred. In the Pacific he ran into a number of Australian and American soldiers who had served with his son.  Harry Frederick remained in the service, and served in Japan and Germany before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1954.

The STINSON L-5
Above: Stinson L-5 with ambulance door
WWII-era photo of an L-5

Letters to Captain Frederick
from
Major General Ennis C. Whitehead, Deputy Commander of the Fifth Air Force
Click on Image to Enlarge

March 22, 1944 - The last letter home from Captain George F. Frederick
Click on Image to Enlarge

May 18, 1944
Distinguished Flying Cross Award

August 18, 1944
Distinguished Flying Cross & Air Medal Award

Click on Image to Enlarge

October 16, 1944 - Legion of Merit Award
Click on Image to Enlarge

Thanks to Clint Frederick for his assistance in building this page.

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