Esther M. SIELOFF
- Debbie BOHLSSEN+
- Stephen BOHLSSEN
- Dena BOHLSSEN+
- Darci BOHLSSEN+
- Kari BOHLSSEN+
Ralph C. BOHLSSEN, 2nd Lt.
- Born: 29 Apr 1919, Oshkosh, Winnebago, WI, USA 1
- Married: 19 Aug 1950
- Died: 1 Aug 2007, Oshkosh, Winnebago, WI, USA
U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946
Name: Ralph C Bohlssen
Birth Year: 1919
Race: White, citizen (White)
Nativity State or Country: Wisconsin
County or City: Winnebago
Enlistment Date: 30 Sep 1940
Enlistment State: Wisconsin
Enlistment City: Milwaukee
Branch: Air Corps
Branch Code: Air Corps
Grade Code: Private
Term of Enlistment: Enlistment for the Philippine Department
Component: Regular Army (including Officers, Nurses, Warrant Officers, and Enlisted Men)
Source: Civil Life
Education: 4 years of high school
Civil Occupation: Engineering Aide (Designated Field) or Sales Clerk
Marital Status: Single, without dependents
"Ralph Bohlssen was born in Oshkosh on April 29, 1919. He had three sisters, all deceased. His father owned a small grocery store on 10th and Oregon. Ralph lived on Grove Street across from Longfellow School which he attended through the 8th grade. The family was affected by the Depression in that they fed a lot of friends and relatives who were in rough shape. Ralph's dad and mother could not refuse giving credit to the needy.
Upon graduation from high school in 1937, Ralph worked full time for his father and part time at Schmidt Milling Co. What with the scarcity of jobs, Ralph enlisted in the Air Force. After basic training, he was employed testing recruits in Illinois and Wisconsin. He was selected for pilot training and sent to Alabama first, then to Arcadia, Florida for primary training in the Stearman biplane which he loved. However, when sent to Mississippi for basic training in the Vultee, he washed out - too much plane for him to handle.
Ralph chose to train as a navigator and after 3 months training was assigned to the 8th Air Force, 3rd Division, 100th Bomb Group after his crew flew their B-17 to England via a northern route. He was stationed at Thorpe-Abbott Field in East Anglia. The 100th had a reputation as a bad luck outfit and suffered heavy casualties. They began flying missions into Germany early on.
In November of 1944, while on a training mission in England, the engineer attempted to fire a flare through a small port in the fuselage. It didn't fire but went off when the gun was turned away from the port. The flare killed the engineer, bounced around the aircraft setting things on fire and the crew had to bail out. The aircraft commander didn't get out, the pilot got out but slipped out of his parachute when it opened. Ralph got out but suffered second and third degree burns to hands and face. So three men were lost.
After 20 missions, Ralph was sent home early in 1945, spending a short time in Texas and then was discharged in September 1945. He went to Oshkosh State Teachers College for two years, to Seattle for one semester, then to the UW-Madison where he graduated as a civil engineer. He held a couple jobs for short periods, was with a Fond du Lac Construction firm for 10 years and then with C.R. Meyer until his retirement in 1984. He has five children, four girls and one boy.
An interview was conducted with Ralph BOHLSSEN which can be read in full at the source (1).
"Ralph C. Bohlssen age 88 of Oshkosh, died unexpectedly at Aurora Medical Center on Wednesday, August 1, 2007. He was born to Christian and Edna (Fluor) Bohlssen on April 29, 1919. On August 19, 1950 Ralph married Esther M. Sieloff. They enjoyed nearly 57 years together.
Ralph was a gentle and caring family man who had a great sense of humor. He served his country during WWII in the U.S. Air Force as a B17 Navigator for the 8th Air Force - 100th Bomb Group. He graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Civil Engineering. After many years he retired from C.R. Meyer.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Esther; children: Debbie (Steve) Meixensperger of Kaukauna, Stephen (Sue) Bohlssen of Omro, Dena (Jeff) Collier of Menasha, Darci (Mark) Matulle of Oshkosh, and Kari (Mike) Malek of Whitewater; grandchildren: Brian (Amy) Meixensperger, Lisa (Todd) Sanders, Erin (fiance Jim Diedrick) Meixensperger, Kirstin (Tom) Krause, Todd (special friend Rachel McCabe) Collier, Clayton Matulle, Kyle Norton, and Sarah Malek; great-granddaughter, Caylee Sanders. Ralph's parents and three sisters preceded him in death." 2 3
Ralph married Esther M. SIELOFF on 19 Aug 1950. (Esther M. SIELOFF was born on 8 Aug 1930 in Missouri, USA 4 and died on 13 Sep 2011 in Oshkosh, Winnebago Co., WI, USA 4.)