Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Army
  • Unit of Service: 7th Infantry Division; 3rd Infantry Division; 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
  • Location of Service: Fort Ord, California; Fort Lewis, Washington; Camp Pickett, Virginia; Africa; Sicily; France; European Theater
  • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant

View full service history

"When we landed, we weren’t prepared for the chaos that we saw on the beach that day." (Video interview, 13:52)

The son of a Kansas farmer, Walter David Ehlers followed his older brother into the service, enlisting in the Army with him in 1940. Both of the Ehlers brothers served with the 1st Infantry Division, though they were in different companies, and fought in North Africa and Sicily before landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Miraculously, Ehlers managed to get his entire squad of twelve men off the beach without a single casualty, a fact which he cites with great pride in his oral history interview. In the days that followed, he led his squad inland and through multiple encounters with the enemy. He was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery in combat on June 9 and 10. Tragically, on July 14, 1944, Ehlers received word that his brother had died on D-Day, when his landing craft was hit by a mortar shell.

Transcript: XML

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Transcript: XML

About this Item

Title

  • Walter David Ehlers Collection

Names

  • unknown interviewer
  • Wilkerson, Thomas
  • Ehlers, Walter David
  • Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation (CMOH)

State of Birth

  • KS

Home State

  • CA

Headings

  • -  Ehlers, Walter David
  • -  World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives
  • -  United States. Army.

Notes

  • -  Veteran's biographical form lists race/ethnicity as "Protestant." MV04 contains an interview with Gary L. Littrell AFC 2001/001/89725. MV06 contains an interview with Michael E. Thornton AFC 2001/001/89788.

Repository

  • Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Gender

  • Male

Race

  • Other

Status

  • Veteran

Service History

  • World War, 1939-1945

    • Branch of Service: Army
    • Unit of Service: 7th Infantry Division; 3rd Infantry Division; 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
    • Location of Service: Fort Ord, California; Fort Lewis, Washington; Camp Pickett, Virginia; Africa; Sicily; France; European Theater
    • Highest Rank: Second Lieutenant
    • Dates of Service: 1940-1945
    • Entrance into Service: Enlisted
    • Military Status: Veteran

Materials

  • Manuscript: Biographical information [2 items] -- Typewritten document (collected unknown)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 09/11/2002)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 09/11/2002)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected 09/11/2002)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected unknown)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected unknown)
  • Video: Betacam SP [1 item] -- Oral history interview (collected unknown)
  • Manuscript: Transcript [1 item] -- Transcription of video recording (collected unknown)

Collection Number

  • AFC/2001/001/89674

Cite as

  • Walter David Ehlers Collection (AFC/2001/001/89674), Veterans History Project, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Online Format

  • image
  • online text
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

Using VHP Material in Publication or Exhibition

The Veterans History Project (VHP) at the Library of Congress collects, preserves and makes accessible the firsthand recollections of U.S. military veterans who served from World War I through more recent conflicts and peacekeeping missions, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand what they saw, did and felt during their service. The Veterans History Project Collection includes oral histories along with documentary materials such as original letters, diaries, photographs, and memoirs.

Veterans and interviewers contribute these materials to the Library for scholarly and educational purposes, retaining any copyright they may hold. Therefore, permission must be obtained before using the interview or other materials in exhibition or publication. Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these materials should contact the Veterans History Project for assistance.

As a publicly supported institution, the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item from the Library’s collections and for securing any necessary permissions rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Please contact us with questions.

Obtaining Copies of VHP Materials

In order for VHP materials to be duplicated, we must receive written permission from the interviewee for you to obtain a copy of the recording unless the proposed use is limited to personal use, research, or other uses permissible by copyright law. If the interviewee is deceased, their next-of-kin may grant written permission.

Please contact VHP for assistance if you need to contact a veteran for permission to use their materials in exhibition or publication, or if you have received permission from the veteran and need access to high-resolution copies of VHP collection materials.

Citing VHP Materials

Please use the following formats when citing Veterans History Project materials (substituting the appropriate name and collection ID number).

Materials as a whole:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Manuscript material:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Memoirs (MS02), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Transcript (MS04), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Correspondence (MS01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Recording:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Audio recording (SR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Video recording (MV01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Photograph:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH01), photographer unknown, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.
  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Photographs (PH03-PH14), Ralph Williams photographer, Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Computer file:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Computer file (CF01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Artifact:

  • John P. Snodgrass (AFC 2001/001/xxxx), Artifact (AR01), Veterans History Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Unknown Interviewer, Thomas Wilkerson, Walter David Ehlers, and Congressional Medal Of Honor Foundation. Walter David Ehlers Collection. 1940. Personal Narrative. https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89674/.

APA citation style:

Unknown Interviewer, Wilkerson, T., Ehlers, W. D. & Congressional Medal Of Honor Foundation. (1940) Walter David Ehlers Collection. [Personal Narrative] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89674/.

MLA citation style:

Unknown Interviewer, et al. Walter David Ehlers Collection. 1940. Personal Narrative. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/afc2001001.89674/>.