On the Porch

This week’s column is a continuation of First Lt. George H. “Sonny” Ehrreich of Marshall, who was killed in action on June 7, 1944. The photograph this week is another image of Sonny, and it is courtesy of his nephew, Gary Peterson. Sonny’s sister, Mary Lou Peterson of Marshall and her family have graciously shared information about Sonny along with photographs of him in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of his death.

Sonny’s brother, Albert LeRoy “Bud” Ehrreich, who served in the Navy Air Force, was home on leave when news was received that Sonny was killed. The following information about how the news was received and how Sonny was killed was written by Mary Lou and shared with me: “While Bud was home on leave and having a home cooked dinner with cake (June 10 was Bud’s birthday), a telegram reached Mom with the news that Sonny had been killed in the D-Day Invasion. In one of his last letters, he begged Mom that if anything happened to him, not to take it out on flying because he loved to fly.

He had the honor of being a pilot in the 49th Squadron that spearheaded the invasion. They got their paratroopers over the German lines on the beach and deep into France, but damage to the wing of their aircraft caused the need to change planes for the second day (out of their Folkingham Base in England). The weather was so bad that some units in the formation were ordered to abort. His C47 crashed at Edgehill near Oxford in England.”

Sonny’s parents, George Gustav and Mary, received medals that were given posthumously to Sonny, including the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with two Oak-leaf Clusters, representing two additional awards of the same decoration. The presentation of the Air Medal with two Oak-leaf Clusters occurred on March 20, 1945, at the Sioux Falls Air Base. George and Mary received the medal from Major Harold H. Patterson.

Sonny died tragically serving our country during World War II. Remember him and all the men and women who died while serving our country. Thank you Mary Lou and family for sharing Sonny’s story and photographs. The Lyon County Historical Society is a non-profit, member-supported organization. For more information on membership, research, volunteering, or the museum’s collection, please contact us at 537-6580 or director@lyoncomuseum.org. Like our page and follow us on Facebook.