Remains Of World War II Soldier Being Returned To Whitwell

Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Henry Andregg, Jr.
Henry Andregg, Jr.

A World War II soldier's remains have been identified and are being returned home to Whitwell.  The remains of Cpl. Henry Andregg Jr. were identified among over 500 previously unidentified remains left in the aftermath of intense fighting on the Island of Betio, Tarawa Atoll, Gilbert Islands.  Cpl. Andregg was killed in action on Nov. 20, 1943, in the initial assault.

On Nov. 20, 1943, The United States launched Operation Galvanic, a military action to secure the Gilbert and Marshall Islands as a strategic stronghold for air and naval operations against the Japanese Imperial Forces.  This operation began with the assault of Tarawa.  This action was the first of many in the strategic campaign for control of the Central Pacific Region.  It was the first time The United States had faced such fierce opposition.  The Japanese forces had worked for over a year to heavily fortify the Island of Betio.  The island was manned by over 5,000 Japanese soldiers and Korean laborers. 

The day of the initial attack, air support never materialized.  The orders were given to proceed with the assault, with United States Naval forces providing bombardment from their positions off the island.  Marine Corps amphibious tractors and Higgins boats began landing and assault operations.  Because of the reef around the lagoon and an unusual southerly tide, many of the amphibious tractors were caught on the reefs, while the Higgins boats were able to clear them and begin landing.  Marines in the amphibious tractors were forced to fight from their position or wade nearly 600 yards to the beach. 

The battle raged for 76 hours, with the United states suffering over 3,000 casualties, with 1,100-1,200 killed on the first day of action. 2,233 casualties were Marines, 59 were sailors, totaling 3,407. Of the nearly 5,000 Japanese military and Korean laborers, only 146 survived the assault. 

In the months that followed the action at Tarawa, The United states was able to mount a successful campaign for the Marshall Islands, from which attacks could be made on the Japanese forces, as well as the Japanese mainland.  The islands taken in this action removed important harbors from the Japanese Imperial Navy, and gave the United States a platform to reach Tokyo with strategic bombers.

There were five temporary cemeteries constructed on the island of Betio immediately after the battle.   In 1946,  the 604 Quartermasters received orders  to consolidate those five cemeteries into one, called Lone Palm Cemetery. In 1949/1950, those that remained unknown were moved to The Honolulu Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, where a memorial was erected.  In 2016, the POW/MIA Accounting Agency began the task of identifying the unknowns.  Cpl. Andregg was one of many that now can be brought home to rest in peace.

Governor Bill Haslam said, “The heroism of those who fought in World War II and the Battle of Tarawa continues to inspire us today. As a 22 year old Marine, Henry had just started his adult life, but  courageously chose to give the ultimate sacrifice for his country.”

Veterans Services Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder said, “Several of Corporal Andregg’s nieces and nephews will receive valuable closure by laying their uncle to rest in Tennessee. We are honored to have the chance to recognize the valor of this American hero and to remember the loss suffered by his family, friends and community.”

A public visitation will be held from 3 p.m. CDT until 7 p.m. CDT on Thursday, Aug. 24, and funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. CDT on Friday, Aug. 25, in the funeral home chapel of Reed Funeral Home, 11675 Highway 28.  Burial will follow at Noon CDT in The Chattanooga National Cemetery, with full military honors. 

The public, and service men and women are welcome to attend the visitation and services.  For those wishing to show support, the procession will leave from Reed Funeral Home at 11 p.m. CDT on Friday, Aug. 25, and follow Hwy 28 to I-24, exiting at 180A and proceeding to Holtzclaw Avenue, before arriving at the Chattanooga National Cemetery at 1200 Bailey Avenue, Chattanooga.






Weekly Road Construction Report

Here is the weekly road construction report for Hamilton County I-75 North Exit 1 interchange reconfiguration project at mile marker 1:   Work on this project continues. There is now only one exit ramp that allows drivers to turn both east and west on Ringgold Road at a signalized intersection. Traffic has been shifted onto the newly constructed portion of Camp Jordan ... (click for more)

CDOT Announces Construction Closures

1100 Mountain Creek Road  Utility work will require closing the 1100 block of Mountain Creek Road this Saturday through Sunday morning.  Work will begin at 7:30 AM on Saturday, June 23, and the road will reopen Sunday morning.  The 1100 block of Mountain Creek Road is north of N Runyan Drive.  The detour is to use US 27 to Morrison Springs for access to properties ... (click for more)

Former City Education Commissioner John P. Franklin Dies

John Porter Franklin, long a leading figure in Chattanooga city government, has died.  He was the city's first, elected black official, post Jim Crow laws, in 1971. Mr. Franklin's father, G.W. Franklin, was a pioneer funeral home director and John Franklin continued in that line. He was first an official in Franklin-Strickland Funeral Home, then he started John P. Franklin ... (click for more)

All School Board Members But Rhonda Thurman Approve Going Ahead With Equity Study

All County School Board members except Rhonda Thurman said Thursday afternoon they are in favor of pushing ahead with an equity study sought by new Supt. Bryan Johnson. Ms. Thurman said she was "tired of bullying tactics by outside groups" such as UnifiEd and Chattanooga 2.0. She said the 132 people who signed a letter in support of the study include people "with deep pockets" ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Not A Blessed One

When I read, to no great surprise, that 132 of Chattanooga’s “leaders” had signed a letter in support of “socioeconomic integration” in Thursday’s Times Free Press, there were two things that were immediately obvious to me: Not a blessed one would have (a) written such a letter on their personal stationery, and (b) not a blessed one would have ever voted for the current president ... (click for more)