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World War II Honor Roll

Morris Wilson Rickenbach, Jr.

Pharmacists Mate Third Class

5th Engineer Special Brigade,
6th Naval Beach Battalion

United States Navy

Entered the Service from: New Jersey
Died: June 6, 1944
Buried At Plot F 1560
Beverly National Cemetery 
Beverly, NJ
Awards: Purple Heart
      Morris Rickenbach is also memorialized in Normandy, 
France at Point du Hoc. Click here for photos of this monument.
      Letter from brother-in-law Robert Maycott to commanding
officer, Lt. Hall, dated August 30, 1944.
      From the memory of his friend, PHM1C Joe Wojnowski, an
 account of Morris W. Rickenbach
 
                                                  As related to Eleanor Wojnowski 

   A website devoted to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade

    5th Engineer Special Brigade Monument 

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Items of Interest Concerning Morris Wilson Rickenbach Jr.

August 30, 1944

Dear Lieutenant Hall,

    I am Morris Rickenbach’s brother-in-law, and since his mother is as yet unable to concentrate on writing a letter, I am taking this opportunity to answer your letter for her.

   It is impossible to find words to show our appreciation for your most enlightening and beautiful letter. There is little anyone can do to heal the wound that Rick’s passing has inflicted on his mother and father and the rest of us who knew and loved him, but the message of condolence that you and others, who served in the same company with him, have sent or delivered in person to us have been like a soothing salve that has helped us more than any
of you will ever know to bear the sorrow which his passing has brought to us.

      If you are ever in this vicinity and have the opportunity to pay us a visit, please do not hesitate to do so. It may be of interest to you to know that so far we have had the pleasure of seeing Lieutenant Collier, Dick Grewelle, Dennis O’Leary, Russell Dickinson, and Joe Wojnowski. The latter hitch-hiked all the way from Elizabeth, N.J., to bring Rick’s mother his
identification tags and a religious medal he had been wearing.

    All these gestures of friendship and kindness, we can never hope to repay. All we can do is thank you- - - thank you all from the bottom of our hearts, and pray that God will watch over and protect all of you.
                                                                          
          Sincerely Yours,                                                                        

          Robert Maycott

         P.S. Your letter to Rick’s mother and father was addressed to Camden, New York, instead of Camden, New Jersey.

From the memory of his friend, PHM1C Joe Wojnowski

My dad never talked about the war as I was growing up until after my Mom passed in 1973. Maybe a tragic and early death brings back these terrible memories in one's life. The story was almost always the same one about when he landed on the beach of Normandy.

    I believe his ship landed on the 3rd wave and this is how the story went: the beach was deserted except for Dr. Hall, Rickenbach and Dad. They were walking very slowly in a straight line, Dr. Hall led, Dad was next and then Rickenbach. They were oblivious to their surroundings, maybe it was fatigue, maybe it was shock, when suddenly Dr. Hall realized that there was shelling going on all around them. He yelled to Dad "run Wojo." They started to run
and Dad turned to yell to Rickenbach to hurry but when he turned around, Rickenbach was hit and his body exploded right then. Every time he told me this story, it was like I was hearing it for the first time because he would just stare straight ahead and included every detail as though he were reliving it. I could see in my head the whole thing playing out as though I was actually there. And that's all he would say about that incident. The story ended there.

     In the early 1990s, Dad told me he had a strong desire to visit Rickenbach's grave site. I did some research and found out that he was buried in a Burlington County, NJ cemetery by the name of Beverly National Cemetery. It's about an hour and a half from our home. That started our yearly ritual. On June 6th of every year that was to follow, Dad and I would go and visit Morris Rickenbach, Jr. at section F, grave # 1560 at the Beverly Cemetery. Mr. Rickenbach's date of death was June 6, 1944. We continued that ritual until the year Dad couldn't walk anymore. 

My Dad enlisted in the Navy on January 10, 1942 until December 10, 1945. He was a Pharmacist's Mate First Class. I hope this helps you Ken. And if you ever get a chance, would you send that letter from Rickenbach to Dad. 

Thank you,

Eleanor

August 15, 2001


Photos of monument at Point du Hoc, Normandy, France. Pictures courtesy of Morris Rickenbach's cousin,  Mark Stettler, who is pictured. Click photos for enlarged views. Click here for photo of shell holes at Point du Hoc. These pictures were taken in January of 2002.

     A web-page devoted to the monument devoted to Fallen Members of the 5th Engineer Special Brigade 

Uniform worn by members of the 5th Engineer Special Brigade on June 6, 1944



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