16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division
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.
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.
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.