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Frank B. Vandenberg

16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:




Grave Location:

Plot I, Row 15, Grave 18

Pvt. Frank B. Vandenberg was born on December 28, 1917, in Phelps, Mich. He graduated from East Jordan High School in 1937 and worked with his brothers and sisters on the family ranch for three years. He then moved to Detroit, Mich. where he started working for the Detroit Lumber Company until he was drafted in 1941 at the age of 24. 

Pfc. Frank B. Vandenberg (right) poses for a portrait in uniform.

During training Vandenberg was preparing for the invasion of Europe, first with the 30th Infantry Division and then with the 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Big Red One.” On November 1, 1942, the 1st Infantry Division landed on the coast of Algeria as part of Operation Torch. 

An LCVP carries GIs of the 1st Infantry Division on its way to Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
An American medical officer bandages the hand of an American soldier at Omaha Beach. 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, June 6, 1944.

Following the surrender of Tunisia, the 1st Division made its way towards Sicily in Operation Husky. The division eventually captured Troina in Sicily and opened the Allied road to the straits of Messina. During preparations for D-Day, Vandenberg and his regiment carried out some of the most realistic training ever done for the Normandy Invasion. On June 6, 1944, Vandenberg and the “Big Red One” landed on Omaha Beach. His company was scheduled for the infantry assault wave following Company E and F at H+30 minutes. They reached land in the face of heavy enemy fire. As Company G made their way to higher ground, Vandenberg was shot and killed by German gunfire.  He was 26 years old.

Awards: Purple Heart

Frank B. Vandenberg is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot I, Row 15, Grave 18.