Kenneth G. Kraetzer Sr. - 91st Inf Div, 348th Field Artillery Bn

The history of Kenneth Kraetzer Sr. was given to me by his son, Ken Jr. I met Ken a couple of days ago when I received an email from him regarding the Commemoration of WWII's 60th Anniversary Ceremonies in Italy in May of 2005. He is a member of the Pelham American Legion Post 50 and had seen my website. He inquired if I'd be interested in the plan. You can read more about this historic occasion by clicking here.

Sadly, Kenneth Sr. passed away in October of this year, but we will help to keep his memory and spirit alive on our site.


LTC Kenneth G. Kraetzer USA (Retired)
Harrison, NY 10528

A twenty year veteran of the United States Army, LTC Kenneth G. Kraetzer, enlisting in the US Army as a private prior to the start of WWII and rose through the ranks to reach the rank of Lt. Col. over a twenty year career.

A native of the Bronx, NY, Mr. Kraetzer volunteered in October 1939 to join the New York National Guard based at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. He was called up to active duty in February of 1941 and was a sergeant in the Army stationed at Fort Ethan Allen Vermont, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked. On October 1 st 1942 he was commissioned at Fort Sills, OK. He returned to Pelham and was married three days later to the former Adele Lahey, a member of PMHS’38, at the chapel where OLPH church now stands.

After training in Washington State and Oregon, Mr. Kraetzer shipped out to North Africa where preparations for the invasion of Italy were under way. He fought across Sicily and Italy with Gen. Mark Wayne Clarke and the 5 th US Army. As a member of the 348 th Field Artillery Battalion, 91 st Infantry Division, he saw action in three major campaigns as the war progressed north from Rome to Naples including the Battle of Po Valley which marked the final liberation of Italy.

LTC Kraetzer’s post WWII service began with the 415 th Field Artillery Group at Fort Jackson, SC. He then was named as Army liaison to the USS Taconic, ACG17, Flagship of the Atlantic Amphibious Fleet based in Norfolk, VA. In 1949 he spent two years with the 2 nd Armory Division at Fort Hood TX, and then accompanied them for two years defense duty along the Rhine River in Germany.

In 1955 he was named an Anti-Aircraft Operations Commander and Nike Missile Project Officer assigned to Baltimore and Washington Defense.

In 1957, he went sent to Camp Zama, Japan to work with United Nations forces. Later he was an artillery officer on the embroiled 38 th Parallel DMZ border with North Korea. He received promotion to Lieutenant Colonel upon return to the country.

LTC Kraetzer completed his military career with service at First Army Headquarters at Governors Island NY. Upon completion of this duty in 1961 he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the final of eight medals earned.

Mr. Kraetzer civilian career included responsibilities with RH Donnelly in Mt. Vernon, Horn & Hardart, and Sealtest/Tuscan/John Labatt in New York. In 1989 he received a J. H. Moore

Award for Excellence from the John Labott Company for volunteer work with the Hope Community program in New Rochelle and for his pursuit of advanced education.

LTC. Kraetzer conducted his college studies through the University of Maryland program for military members and completed his BS with study at Iona College. During his retirement he completed a MS in Pastoral Counseling at Iona in 1994 and often volunteered at the Hope food program in New Rochelle.

Mr. Kraetzer was a member of the Orienta Beach Club in Mamaroneck for many years and was a member of American Legion Post 50. In 2000 he was the Grand Marshall of the Memorial Day Parade in his hometown of Pelham.

He is the father of three children, Ann Kraetzer of Colorado Springs, Mary Kraetzer of Ossining and Kenneth Kraetzer, Jr. of White Plains, and two grandchildren. His wife of 46 years, Adelle Lahey Kraetzer, passed away in 1988.

Key Facts:

1939 Joined New York National Guard, 258 th FA, Bronx, NY

Called to active duty Feb. 1941.

Commissioned on Oct. 1st 1942 at Fort Sills, OK.

1942 to 1945: 348 th Field Artillery Battalion 91 st Infantry Division

Participated in North African campaign and battles from Naples to Treste, including battles at Arno, North Apennines, and Po Valley. Part of occupation forces in Treste, Italy.

1945 to 1946: 415 th Field Artillery, Group at Fort Jackson, SC.

1946 to 1949: Staff Commander Amphibious forces US Atlantic Fleet aboard USS Taconic AGC #17.

1949 to 1951: 2 nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas

1951 to 1954: Staff officer 2 nd Armored Division based in Germany.

1955: Commanding Officer 286 th Anti Aircraft Defense Baltimore, MD.

1956: Served at Army Chemical Center in Baltimore, MD supervising construction of Nike missile defense facilities.

1957: Served in Japan with 8 th Army and United Nations Command

1957 to 1958: Served in 8 th Army in Korea training South Korean forces.
Promoted to LTC 13 May 1958

1958 to 1961 Assigned First Army Headquarters Governers Island NY
Retired with 20 years service 23 Feb.1961

Awarded eight medals:

Service medals include the Army Commendation Medal presented at the time of his retirement in 1961.

American Defense Service Medal

American Campaign Medal

WWII Victory Medal

European-African-MiddleEastern Campaign Medal

Army Occupation Medal with Germany & Italy clasps

National Defense Service Medal

Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/10 Year Device and 3 O/Sbars

Civilian Companies:

RH Donnelly in Mt. Vernon, Horn & Hardart, Sealtest/Tuscan Foods in New York

Received 1989 J. H. Moore Award for Excellence from his company John Labott Limited for his work with the Hope Community program and his pursuit of advanced education in the field of counseling.

Graduated from University of Maryland 1969 after completing study at Iona College

MS Pastoral Counseling’94 Iona College

Volunteer with Hope Community Food Distribution Program in New Rochelle, NY