Stevens, Earl F. (602nd)
Earl F. Stevens
Biography: Earl F. Stevens was born in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri in 1909. Earl worked as a shipping clerk prior to entering the service.
Service Time: Earl entered the service in 1942 and received his basic training at Camp McCoy, WI. It would be while stationed there that he would meet and ultimately marry the former Mildred Boehlke Plomedahl, in June of 1943. She was the daughter of Herman and Minnie Boehlke and had two children, Shirley and Richard, from a previous marriage. The family made their residence in Eau Claire, Wisconsin which is where Mildred had been born.
Earl was assigned to the Reconnaissance Company of the 602nd Tank Destroyer Battalion and traveled with the unit, receiving additional training at Camp Forrest, TN before moving to Fort Dix, NJ for final preparations for shipment overseas. The unit landed at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on August 26, 1944 and were committed to battle along the Moselle River in September. They then supported operations leading to the capture of Metz, France in November. They moved into Belgium during the Ardennes Offensive, arriving at Neufchateau late in December and supported operations against the Bulge in January 1945. The unit fought through the Siegfried Line in February and in March they returned to Moselle River area and crossed the Rhine River at Boppard on the 26th.
The following is an excerpt from the official Historical records of the 602nd TD Battalion:
17 April 45: C Company with 355th Infantry Regiment attacked Zwickau, which had refused terms of surrender. Lt. Kilborn's Recon. Platoon with the aid of an escaped British POW made a bold dash through the streets of the town. Although avenues of approach were defended by German rifleman and bazooka teams, the platoon's speed enabled them to reach and secure a vital bridge over the Mulde River. While the platoon was dismounted, trying to cut demolition wires and secure the bridge they were subjected to rifle and machine gun fire. One man was wounded, Sgt. Vigil A. Scurlock, and Pfc. Earl F. Stevens was killed. Stevens, only three days earlier, had been awarded the Bronze Star medal for heroic action in saving two of his wounded comrades shortly after the Rhine crossing."
Presentation of Bronze Star Document
Although clear documentation is no longer available, Earl's obituary in the local paper identifies that he was wounded in December, while in Belgium and the unit was engaged in the Battle of the Bulge and the Ardennes. He was wounded a second time, on March 27, 1945 in the vicinity of Presberg, Germany as identified by the History of the 602nd and the document shown above. He paid the ultimate price with his life just under a month later. Earl was returned to the states and buried in Eau Claire, WI.
The main photo above and the photo to the left were taken on April 11 and 12, 1945 respectively after the unit had just arrived at Arnstadt, Germany on the 10th.
I want to thank Earl's step-grandson, Rick for supplying the above information and photos of Earl.