Howard Cokonougher Biography/Discharge
Following this introduction is a transcript of the World War II Honorable Discharge of Howard W. "Bill" Cokonougher, as recorded in the Ross County, Ohio courthouse, and other army papers.
"Bill" was the son of John Henry Cokonougher and Amelia Irene (Miller) Cokonougher of Wisecup Hill Road, Ross County, Ohio. He married Viola Mae Hester in 1946 and had four children - Ralph, Judy, Shirley, and Clifford.
When General MacArthur carried out his promise to return to the Phillippine Islands, Bill was among the thousands of soldiers who went with him. Bill was a member of the spearhead that stormed the beaches. He was in the front lines of the seek-and-destroy missions that cleared the mountains and caves of enemy soldiers. He fought in hand-to-hand combat in an uncountable number of battles.
During one particularly heated battle, as American troops advanced under heavy enemy fire, Bill took shelter behind an advancing American tank. The tank was hit by enemy fire and blew up in his face. A piece of shrapnel hit him in the head, and he fell to the ground, wounded. Luckily, the wound was not fatal, and in a few days, Bill was back on his feet and fighting on the front lines again. He fought on the front lines all the way to the end of the war, until Allied forces occupied Japan itself. When Bill died in 1984, he still had a piece of the original shrapnel in his head. He carried it with him to the grave.
Bill received the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained in battle. As years went by, he never tired of telling people how lucky he was to have only earned a Purple Heart. Many of those who won higher medals usually did so when they lost life or limb. As it was, he still came home with a chest full of decorations and campaign ribbons. Bill often told his children that of the original 118 members of his troop who went overseas with him, only 18 came home alive and all in one piece. He counted himself as miraculously lucky to be one of those 18.
The war in the Pacific ended when America dropped the atom bomb on Japan. It has been several decades since the bomb was dropped, but people still debate the appropriateness of the action today. Bill had no such qualms. He was grateful for the bomb! He told his friends and his children many times that he and his fellow soldiers dreaded the upcoming invasion of the Japanese homeland. They knew that the Japanese were going to react just as Americans would if their homeland had been invaded. They expected the Japanese to fight like cornered animals. Bill and the other soldiers who had managed to survive so far, against all odds, felt that they would very likely never survive the invasion of Japan. The casualties, both American and Japanese, were sure to be enormous! When the atom bombs fell, Bill and his fellow soldiers breathed a sigh of relief. They felt as if they had been personally snatched from the jaws of death. As Bill later so passionately put it, "It was either them or us. That bomb saved my life and the lives of thousands of other soldiers, not to mention all the Japanese that were going to fight us. It was a good thing, and anybody who says different can just go to hell!" Bill was a plain-spoken man.
There is an ironic footnote to Bill Cokonougher's military history. Bill had fought the Japanese when the Japanese were trying to conquer our country. He had killed Japanese. The Japanese had tried to kill him, and, had, in fact, killed many of his friends. That was war, and Bill never forgot that war. When I, Bill's firstborn son, enlisted in 1968 into the U.S. Air Force, and was assigned overseas to Japan, Bill told me in his plain, matter-of-fact language, "Now I don't want you coming back with a Japanese wife. I fought them Japanese, and I don't want you bringing any of them back here with you. You remember that!"
Yet, three years later, I did marry a Japanese girl. When I was discharged, the Air Force gave me no choice but to send her and our newborn daughter home ahead of me. Yet, my father Bill met her at the airport and welcomed her as a daughter. He treated her just as well as he would have an American girl. One time, when she was sick, he held her in his arms just as he would have any other daughter-in-law, while I drove her to the hospital. Bill had plenty of faults, and he had his share of prejudices, but he was also a realist. He was a practical man. With this woman, the Japanese had been made part of his family. aJapanese blood mixed with his, inside the veins of his grandchildren. It was no longer practical to view the Japanese as he had in the past. One day, in the seventies, my father told me, "Those protesters" (of the Viet Nam war) "say 'Make love not war.' I went to Japan to make war. I guess you must have went to make love. I suppose that's all right. Things change." That was the practical viewpoint of a practical man.
HONORABLE DISCHARGE FROM THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES. Certified Copy. This to certify that HOWARD W COKENOUGHER 35424554 Private First Class Troop E 8th Cavalry 1st/Cav. Division ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES is hereby Honorably Discharged from the military service of the United States of America. This certificate is awarded as a testimonial of Honest and Faithful Service to this country. Given at Separation Center, Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Wincell R. Chady, Major AC. Date: 19 October 1945. ENLISTED RECORD AND REPORT OF SEPARATION. HONORABLE DISCHARGE. 19-14-45 DS 14 1. LAST NAME-FIRST NAME-MIDDLE INITIAL: Cokonougher Howard W. 2. ARMY SERIAL NO.: 35 424 554. 3. GRADE: PFC. 4. ARM OR SERVICE: CAV. 5. COMPONENT: AUS. 6. ORGANIZATION: Trp E 8th Cav Div. 7. DATE OF SEPARATION: 19 Oct 45. 8. PLACE OF SEPARATION: Sep Cen Camp Atterbury Ind. 9. PERMANENT ADDRESS FOR MAILING PEUPOSES: RFD 1 Lyndon Ohio. 10. DATE OF BIRTH: 14 Aug 1922. 11. PLACE OF BIRTH: Lyndon Ohio. 12. ADDRESS FROM WHICH EMPLOYMENT WILL BE SOUGHT: See #9. 13. COLOR EYES: Brown. 14. COLOR HAIR: Brown. 15. HEIGHT: 5' 8". 16. WEIGHT: 142 LBS. 17. NO. DEPEND.: 0. 18. RACE: WHITE. 19. MARITAL STATUS: SINGLE. 20. U.S. CITIZEN: YES. 21. CIVILIAN OCCUPATION AND NO.: Farm Hand General. MILITARY HISTORY 22. DATE OF INDUCTION: 23 Oct 42. 23. DATE OF ENLISTMENT: (blank.) 24. DATE OF ENTRY INTO ACTIVE SERVICE: 6 Nov 42 25. PLACE OF ENTRY INTO SERVICE: Columbus Ohio. 26. SELECTIVE SERVICE DATA, REGISTERED: YES. 27. SELECTIVE SERVICE DATA, LOCAL S.S. BOARD NO.: #2. 28. SELECTIVE SERVICE DATA, COUNTY AND STATE: Ross Co Ohio. 29. HOME ADDRESS AT TIME OF ENTRY INTO SERVICE: See #9. 30. MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY AND NO.: Rifleman 745. 31. MILITARY QUALIFICATION AND DATE: Combat Infantryman Badge. 32. BATTLES AND CAMPAIGNS: Bismarck Archipalego; New Guinea; Sou Philippines; Luzon. 33. DECORATIONS AND CITATIONS: Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon w/4 Bronze Stars; Phillippines Liberation Ribbon w/2 Bronze stars; Good Conduct Ribbon; Purple Heart; Bronze Arrowhead. 34. WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION: None. (Obviously a typo mistake.) 35. LATEST IMMUNIZATION DATES: SMALLPOX- Jun 44, TYPHOID- Jul 45, TETANUS- Dec 42, OTHER- Jul 45 TTp. 36. SERVICE OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL U.S. AND RETURN: DATE OF DEPARTURE- 26 Jun 43, DESTINATION- Asiatic-Pacific, DATE OF ARRIVAL- 12 Jul 43. DATE OF DEPARTURE- 29 Sep 45, DESTINATION- USA, DATE OF ARRIVAL- 8 Oct 45. 37. TOTAL LENGTH OF SERVICE: CONTINENTAL SERVICE- 1 YEARS, 7 MONTHS, 29 DAYS; FOREIGN SERVICE- 2 YEARS, 3 MONTHS, 13 DAYS. 38. HIGHEST GRADE HELD: PFC. 39. PRIOR SERVICE: None. 40. REASON AND AUTHORITY FOR SEPARATION: AR 615-365 (Conv of Govt) RR 1-1 Demobilization. 41. SERVICE SCHOOLS ATTENDED: None. 42. EDUCATION (Years): Grammar- 8, High School- 3, College- 0. PAY DATA Vou #2052 43. LONGEVITY FOR PAY PURPOSES: 3 YEARS, 11 MONTHS, 25 DAYS. 44. MUSTERING OUT PAY: TOTAL- $300, THIS PAYMENT- $100. 45. SOLDIER DEPOSITS: None. 46. TRAVEL PAY: $10.70. 47. TOTAL AMOUNT, NAME OF DISBURSING OFFICER:234.21 H F GILLIE CAPT FD. INSURANCE NOTICE 48. KIND OF INSURANCE: Nat. Serv. 49. HOW PAID: Allotment. 50. EFFECTIVE DATE OF ALLOTMENT DISCONTINUANCE: 31 Oct 45. 51. DATE OF NEXT PREMIUM DUE: 30 NOV 45. 52. PREMIUM DUE EACH MONTH: $6.50. 53. INTENTION OF VETERAN TO: Discontinue. 54. RIGHT THUMB PRINT: 55. REMARKS: 2 days lost under AW 107. Inactive service in ERC from 23 Oct 42 thru 6 Nov 42. ASR (2 Sep 45) 87. Lapel button issued. 56. SIGNATURE OF PERSON BEING SEPARATED: Howard W Cokonougher. 57. PERSONNEL OFFICER: S.T. GOLDSTEIN, CAPT. AC. WD AGO FORM 53-55. 1 November 1944. 1-45-.5 Heer Ptg. Co., Cols., O. Form 9072. The State of Ohio, Ross County, ss: I, C.A. Davenport, County Recorder within and for said County and in whose custody the Files and Records of said office are required by the Laws of the State of Ohio to be kept, do hereby certify that the foregoing Honorable Discharge from the Army of the United States of America is taken and copied from Record of Soldier's Discharges, Vol 3, page 447, of said office, that it has been compared by me with the original record and that it is a true and correct copy thereof. WITNESS my hand and official seal at Chillicothe, Ohio, this 5th day of November, 1945. Signed/ C A Davenport, County Recorder
ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES SEPARATION QUALIFICATION RECORD SAVE THIS FORM. IT WILL NOT BE REPLACED IF LOST. This record of job assignments and special training received in the Army is furnished to the soldier when he leaves the service. In its preparation, information is taken from available Army records and supplemented by personal interview. The information about civilian education and work experience is based on the individual's own statements. The veteran may present this document to former employers, prospective employers, representatives of schools and colleges, or use it in any way that may prove beneficial to him. 1. LAST NAME-FIRST NAME-MIDDLE INITIAL: Cokonougher, Howard W. 2. ARMY SERIAL NO.: 35 424 554. 3. GRADE: Pfc. 4. SOCIAL SECURITY NO.: (blank). 5. PERMANENT MAILING ADDRESS: RFD 1, Lyndon, Ross, Ohio. 6. DATE OF ENTRY INTO ACTIVE SERVICE: 23 Oct 42. 7. DATE OF SEPARATION: 19 Oct 45. 8. DATE OF BIRTH: 1922. 9. PLACE OF SEPARATION: Camp Atterbury, Ind. MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL ASSIGNMENTS 10. MONTHS 11. GRADE 12. MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY 1 Pvt Basic Training 521. 30 Pfc Rifleman 745. SUMMARY OF MILITARY OCCUPATIONS 13. TITLE-DESCRIPTION-RELATED CIVILIAN OCCUPATION: RIFLEMAN - Loaded and fired weapon in combat duty. MILITARY EDUCATION 14. NAME OR TYPE OF SCHOOL-COURSE OR CURRICULUM-DURATION-DESCRIPTION: (blank). CIVILIAN EDUCATION 15. HIGHEST GRADE COMPLETED: 11. 16. DEGREES OR DIPLOMAS: (blank). 17. YEAR LEFT SCHOOL: 1939. 18. NAME AND ADDRESS OF LAST SCHOOL ATTENDED: S. Salem, O. 19. MAJOR COURSES OF STUDY: Academic. 20. OTHER TRAINING OR SCHOOLING; COURSE, NAME AND ADDRESS OF SCHOOL, DATE: (blank). 21. OTHER TRAINING OR SCHOOLING; DURATION: (blank). CIVILIAN OCCUPATIONS 22. TITLE-NAME AND ADDRESS OF EMPLOYER-INCLUSIVE DATES-DESCRIPTION: Farm Hand General Clarence Spooler Lyndon, O. 1939-1942 Drove tractor and handled team to do all types of farm work on 350 acre farm. Used all farm machinery and made minor repairs to them. Drove truck, milked cows, tended livestock, cut and husked corn, and built fences. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 23. REMARKS: (blank). 24. SIGNATURE OF PERSON BEING SEPARATED: Howard W. Cokonougher. 25. SIGNATURE OF SEPARATION CLASSIFICATION OFFICER: G. N. Miles. 26. NAME OF OFFICER: G.N. MILES, Capt. AC This form supersedes W D AGO Form 100, 15 July 1944, which will not be used. WD AGO FORM 100 1 JUL 1945 16-45815-1 U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 16-45815-1
The following is a transcript of a post card sent home in 1945 about the U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division. The post card is postmarked "Dec. 3, 1945. APO U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE".
"THE 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION is proud of its victories in the Far East. It was first in Manila and was selected by General MacArthur to be the first in Tokyo. THE FIRST TEAM has accomplished all missions from Brisbane, Australia, to Tokyo, where it now occupies the Japanese capitol. 1st Cavalry Division 'The 1st was First.' Asiatic-Pacific Theater 26 Jun. 1943 8 Sep. 1945 New Guinea: Oro Bay. Admiralty Islands: Momote, Lombrum Point, Papit Alai, Hauwei, Lorengua, Rossum, Pak-Rambutyo, D-Day 29 Feb. 1944. Leyte-Samar: Cataisan, Tacloban, San Juanico Str., San Miguel, Carigara, Ormoc Valley, Catbalogan, A-day 20 Oct. 1944. Luzon: Manila "The 1st was First', Caganatuan, Gapan, Baliuag, Sta. Maria, Novaliches, Balara, Mariquina, Antipolo, Santo Tomas, Lipa, Malepunyo, Imoc Hill, Alaminos, San Pablo, Pagsanjan, Calauag, Siniloan, Pasacao, Kadatalan, Infanta, Landed Lingayen Gulf 27 Jan. 1945 - First to Enter Manila 3 Feb. 1945. Japan: Tokyo Bay-Yokohama-2 Sep. 1945 - - First Troops in Tokyo-8 Sep. 1945."
Transcript of a 13 May 1945 letter from the U.S. Army to Bill's mother, Amelia: "HEADQUARTERS 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION OFFICE OF THE COMMANDING GENERAL A. P. O. 201 13 May 1945 Mrs. Amelia J. Cokonougher Route # 1 Lyndon, Ohio Dear Mrs. Cokonougher: I have recently had the privilege of awarding your son, Private First Class Howard W. Cokonougher, Troop E, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the Order of the Purple Heart. The Order of the Purple Heart is given to those members of the armed forces who have sustained wounds during combat, and is a mark of the esteem which the United States holds for these men. His comrades and I have watched his recovery, and we are sure that you will share with us the pride we feel for his services to his country. Sincerely, S/Hugh Hoffman HUGH HOFFMAN, Brigadier General, U.S. Army, Commanding"