Orval Blackmore (1945/03/31)
Alberta waited until 1949 for Orval to return, but for a different kind of homecoming.
Blackmore had a limited relationship with Santa Cruz County but was included on the Santa Cruz Sentinel Roll of Honor.
Orval Blackmore was born on September 9, 1917, in Oregon to Orlin and Nellie Blackmore. In the 1920s the family, which included another son Ellis and daughters Maud and Mabel, were living in Cottage Grove City, Oregon, where Orlin worked for the railroad. Orval completed three years of high school in Lane County, Oregon, before leaving to enter the work force as a commercial vehicle driver.
While living in Oregon in 1938, Blackmore enlisted in the US Army. During the next four years, he was promoted to staff sergeant and served at a number of locations including El Centro, California. In January 1942, while at Imperial, California, Blackmore re-enlisted in the cavalry branch of the army. Shortly thereafter he married Alberta Gruwell of Santa Cruz.
In 1942 Blackmore was serving with the 67th Armored Infantry Regiment of the 2nd Armored Division when it was shipped overseas to participate in the invasion of North Africa. Sergeant Blackmore was wounded during a combat engagement in the Mediterranean sector and awarded a field commission as a second lieutenant.
Following a two months recuperation period, Lt. Blackmore rejoined his unit in Normandy as it was moving across France. When the Germans counterattacked during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, his unit fell back in order to help reduce the bulge in the Ardennes forest. In February 1945 the 62nd Armored Regiment resumed its offensive and on March 27 had driven across the Rhine River into Germany.
On March 31, 1945, Second Lieutenant Orval Blackmore was killed in action at an unspecified location in Germany. His remains were returned to California in 1949 and interred in Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.
(USCR, 1920 US Census, OR, Umatilla; NARA2; USDVA; GGN Cemetery Headstone; SCSn April 15, 1945, 2nd Armored, History of the 2nd Armored Group, http://www.2armorokdday.com/history/, [16 September 2008])