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Major Helmert J. Duisterhof, 57th Inf. (PS) (Read 2062 times)
Brad DeBoer
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Major Helmert J. Duisterhof, 57th Inf. (PS)
Jan 25th, 2005, 2:01pm
 
   My name is Bradley Duisterhof-DeBoer and I am the grandson of the late Major Helmert J. Duisterhof of the 57th Infantry (PS) division in the Philippines during W.W.II.
   I am posting this message in hopes that someone might have known, or know of someone still living who knew my grandfather Helmert J. Duisterhof.
   I am doing some research on my family history and trying to trace my grandfather's life through the war.  What I do know are these facts:

   He was a Dutch born officer assigned to the 57th Infantry (PS) at Ft. McKinley in the Philippines around June 1941.  In August he was transferred to the the (PA).
   During the Army's withdraw into Bataan of January 1942, my grandfather led the 2nd Battalion of the 11th Infantry under the command of Col. Glen R. Townsend.
   I have come across a couple of accounts of my grandfather's name being mentioned in the published book -US Army in W.W.II:  Fall of the Philippines, by Morton who wrote about some of my grandfather's heroics and strategic maneuvering of his battalion during the Bataan Defense - ("Battle of the Pockets").
   I am also aware that my grandfather survived the "Death March" and made it to Camp O'Donnell, but died soon after from exhaustion, malnutrition and from what I have been told was having Malaria with no medical help.
   I found supporting recollection of this from a story written by former POW and 45 Infantry (PS) veteran/survivor Kary Emerson titled "Guest of the Emperor", who referenced my grandfather as a survivor of the "Death March" having been the only person he knew who wore his boots the entire time during the march, and was from the "Old School" army ( I don't know if Mr. Emerson is still living today or not).
   After the war my grandfather's body was recovered in what was supposedly a mass grave site of 365 people.
   His remains were sent back to the US, and he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
   In 1946 the Army posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to my grandfather "for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against the Japanese invasion forces in the Philippine islands on or about 15 February 1942.

   I know that it has been over 60 years since the war, and a majority of veterans who survived are no longer around.
   However, since the wonderful age of the internet, I thought I'd give it a try to see if there is anyone still around who knew or fought with my grandfather in the Philippines during W.W.II.  
   
   I would really appreciate any help that anyone could give me if you know of someone who could share any additional information on my grandfather the late Major Helmert J. Duisterhof.

   I can be reached at the following address:
         
                            Bradley DeBoer
                            22410 Woodhenge Dr.
                            Mattawan, MI 49071
                            269-668-3559

                            email:   deboer@net-link.net

   Any help that anyone could give would be very much appreciated!!!

   Sincerely,

   Bradley Duisterhof-DeBoer
 
   
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Chris Schaefer
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Re: Major Helmert J. Duisterhof, 57th Inf. (PS)
Reply #1 - Feb 11th, 2005, 8:21pm
 
Mr. DeBoer:  Your grandfather is also mentioned in Donald J. Young's book "The Battle of Bataan."  Chapter Three is a fairly detailed account of the Battle of the Pockets, including the actions of your grandfather's mostly-Igorot 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry.
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