Service tribute to gallant men at St Christopher's Chapel
SEVENTY-ONE years have passed since 21-year-old David Dake of Oshkosh, Wisconsin was recorded holding the standing long jump record on the sports oval at Rockhampton's camp Nerimbera.
His name with eight others was later transferred from the sports oval board to the inside walls of St Christopher's Chapel for preservation.
Now David, at age 92, is the sole surviving member of the chapel boys and lives in a retirement home in Greenbay, Wisconsin, USA.
Yeppoon's Brian Morris released a booklet in 2011 on the 10 US Soldiers' stories whose names were inscribed on the wall titled, The Chapel Boys.
Brian and his wife Ruth spent two years of countless hours and tireless nights finding out what happened to the soldiers.
The Morning Bulletin printed the story of Elgin Fay, who was one of the two serving soldiers including David.
Brian said Elgin sadly passed away in August last year.
A fitting tribute will be paid to the men who survived, together with those who sacrificed their lives in the defence of this country, at the annual remembrance service in St Christopher's Chapel tomorrow at 2pm.
Brian said as part of the 127th, 32nd Division (Red Arrows), David had been sent back to recuperate after action against the Japanese in the Buna campaign New Guinea.
"They were the first American ground troops, poorly trained and equipped, to confront a well-dug-in, better equipped, experienced and determined enemy, with disastrous results," he said.
"General MacArthur commented after the action 'No more bloody Buna's'."
David went on to further action at the battles for Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines.
His daughter Debra keeps Brian updated on David's wellbeing and recently wrote to him.
"Dad is fine. He's not as strong as he was in his 20's, but still walks on his own two feet to get where he is going, he just doesn't go very far," Debra told Brian.
"He naps throughout the day and his favourite thing to do is admire the beautiful trees that thrive outside his window."