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Cathman Recognized for sacrifice
Soldier killed in accident eight months into duty
Jerome Cathman

    For  Memorial Day, services are to pay tribute to those who died while in service of their country. People like Corporal Jerome Cathman, who was  honored by the Liscum Brothers American Legion Post 482 and Auxiliary in Bagley during their ceremonies in May 2005.

    Jerome was born Oct. 16, 1918, in rural Bloomington, the son of Herman and Mary (Berntgen) Cathman. He was nine years old when his father died, and Jerome and his brother helped their mother with the operation of the family farm. Just before he shipped out to fight in World War II, on Jan. 17, 1942, he was united in marriage with Mary Murphy, Bagley. Shortly thereafter, on Feb. 11, 1942, he was inducted into the U.S. Army, at Fort Sheridan, and was then stationed at Camp Polk, La.

    He was assigned to HQ CO, 1 BN, 48th infantry regiment, where he was trained as a driver of army vehicles.

    It was on Oct. 28, 1942, when Jerome was on night maneuvers with the 48th, in preparation of being sent to the European or to the North African Theater of Operations. The army tank Jerome was driving encountered adverse, slippery conditions and tipped over.

    Jerome was killed as a result of this accident. It had been eight months and 17 days since he entered the United States Army, and he had attained the age of 24 years and 12 days. Funeral services for Corporal Cathman were held Nov. 2, 1942, from th e Zion Lutheran Church, with the Reverend J.J. Lippoldt officiating. The Hanley-Ariss American Legion Post, Patch Grove, served as pall bearers and conducted military services at the grave. Burial was in the Bagley Cemetery. A military escort was provided by the United States Army.

    The Township of Wyalusing placed a gold star by his name on their service board, while another was placed on the Bloomington service flag. These were the first Gold Stars of World War II for both the Bagley and  Bloomington communities. They told the story of the Supreme Sacrifice that Jerome made, of the bravery and courage that he displayed. It signified a salute from his commanding officers, and from the family and friends who humbly honored him.