Iowa State Memorial Union

Elson Behnke - Private First Class

Rank: Private First Class
Date Of Death: Oct 9, 1944
War / Conflict: World War II
Hometown: Ames, Iowa
Gold Star Hall - Wall Location: West Wall (by Entrance Door)

Biography

Elson E. Behnke was born in Plymouth, Iowa to Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Benke. They later moved to Ames, Iowa. 

Elson graduated from Ames High School an attended Iowa State College in 1944. He left college to work at the Wapsi-Valley Creamery Company in Iowa City.

He enlisted in Des Moines and was inducted on November 16 at Camp Dodge, Iowa. He trained at Camp Wolters, Texas and Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. One newspaper noted that while Behnke was on a 12 day furlough from Camp Dorn, Behnke "has picked so much of the southern accent he has almost lost his middle-western identification."

After further training at Colorado Spring and Camp Roberts California, he left overseas in June, 1944 from Fort George Mead, Maryland. He served with the 361st Infantry Regiment, 91st Division.

Elson was killed in action in Northern Italy on October 9, 1944.

His sister, Specialist Second Class Letha Behnke, served as a link (flight simulator) instructor for the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) in the US Naval Reserve.

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