Kenneth A. Kraft was born March 25, 1924 in Milan, Wisconsin. He was the son of Arbie and Anthony Kraft. Ken attended grade school in Neilsville and Miltown, Wisconsin and graduated from Seymour High School in 1942. Ken was employed at the Sturgeon Bay shipyards until his enlistment in the Marines in November 1942.
His military training began at Camp Elliot and Camp Gillespie, San Diego, California. He graduated as a First Marine Paratrooper in March 1943. Ken went overseas to New Caledonia for further training and was in combat at Vella La Vella and Bougainville. He was granted a twenty-day furlough at home after being wounded in action January 1, 1944 on Bougainville. In February of that year he went to Hawaii for extended marine training.
Ken was a rifleman in a platoon of Company “I” 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines 5th Division. Private First Class Kraft gave his life for his country on February 22, 1945 on Iwo Jima. For his gallant actions and military service he was awarded the following medals and citations: Purple Heart with a Gold Star for wounds received in action January 1, 1944 on Bougainville and February 22, 1945 on Iwo Jima; Silver Star Medal for service on February 22, 1945; Presidential Unit Citation Award for Assault Troops 5th Amphibious Corps for service on Iwo Lima during the period February 19-28, 1945; Good Conduct Medal for service from November 20, 1942 to February 22, 1945; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with four bronze stars; Victory Medal WWII and Rifle Expert Badge.
Surviving Kenneth at the time of his death were his mother, Arbie Kraft, his wife, the former Delores Rader, two brothers, Vilas and Lloyd and one sister, Gladys (Mrs. Thomas Reed), all of Seymour.
Information provided by Karen (Kraft) Gonnering