With Memorial Day just a couple of days away, I want to take a moment to honor a relative of mine who was killed while in service to our country. While there are many in my family who have served in the armed forces, I only know of two who were KIA.
The first is a casualty of WWI – “the great war”, Glenn Spracklen Heaton. In family relationship to me, he would be my 2nd great uncle, i.e. the brother to my great grandfather.
He was born in 1890 in Pierson, Iowa to Lucius Edwin Heaton and Maria Lousia (Spracklen) Heaton (my great-great-grandparents)
He shows up in Woodbury, Iowa in the 1905 census, and then in 1910 in Burleigh County, North Dakota. From there, I found his WWI draft registration in Rosebud, Montana. He married Anna Stocker in Rosebud, Montana on 22 June, 1918.
Glenn was a PVT in the U.S. Army’s 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division. He served in France, and was listed dead on 27 Sept. 1918. I have a book on Heaton family history that claims he was the first casualty of the battle of the Argonne Forest, although I’ve been unable to find any citation for that claim. Certainly, he was one of the early casualties of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which ran from 26 Sept. – Nov. 11 1918. I’ve found two sources that have him listed as having “died of wounds”, so he wasn’t killed outright, and was evacuated to at least a field hospital.
According to the site www.worldwar1.com, “The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the greatest American battle of the First World War. In six weeks the AEF lost 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. It was a very complex operation involving a majority of the AEF ground forces fighting through rough, hilly terrain the German Army had spent four years fortifying. Its objective was the capture of the railroad hub at Sedan which would break the rail net supporting the German Army in France and Flanders and force the enemy’s withdrawal from the occupied territories.”
Glenn is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in Romagne, France.
Sadly, Glenn never lived to see the birth of his son and namesake, Glenn R. Heaton (who was born Mar. 16, 1919).