Kenneth F. Kretsinger (1943/05/29)
A posthumous award for "heroic or meritorious achievement in combat" was the last gift that a young lieutenant was able to leave his family.
Kenneth F. Kretsinger was born in Berkeley, California, September 9, 1917, to George and Ethel Kretsinger. The family later moved to Los Gatos where Ken and his sister Jean attended local schools. During his preparatory years, he developed an interest in natural science and was subsequently enrolled in the Montezuma School for Boys on Bear Creek Road near Los Gatos.
Upon completion of high school, Kretsinger enrolled in the University of California Berkeley and majored in zoology. At UCB he entered ROTC and upon his graduation in 1940, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army.
Kretsinger enrolled in a graduate level game management program at Oregon State College but before he could complete it, he was called into active duty. Lt Kretsinger was assigned to the 32nd Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division at Fort Ord and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, and Camp San Luis, California, for additional training.
In 1941 Kenneth Kretsinger married Blanche Hocom, a Santa Cruz girl, and the couple established their residence in Santa Cruz.
In 1942 Kretsinger's division was deployed to the Aleutian Islands; Blanche remained in Santa Cruz where she maintained the family home. Their son Kenneth Dean Kretsinger was born on April 9, 1943.
On May 29, 1943, First Lieutenant Kenneth F. Kretsinger was killed in action by enemy machine gun fire in the Aleutian battle of Attu. For his action he was awarded the Bronze Star. In 1948 his remains were re-buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery at San Bruno.
(CBR; USCR, 1920 US Census, CA, Santa Clara; Berkley Daily Gazette, May 30, 1944; SCSn June 18,1943, January 29, 1945 1:4; USDVA)