Korean War Casualty Information
SS Toya Maru

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Japanese Ferry Accident - 1954


Newspaper Article about the accident
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The Vaillancourt Arch
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On September 26, 1954, an advance party of American soldiers from the 99th Field Artillery Battalion of the 1st Cavalry Division Artillery lost their lives in the capsize of this Japanese ferry boat. There were approximately 1,159 aboard and only 150 survived.  Only one American soldier survived, Pfc. Francis P. Goedken from Dubuque, Iowa.  Due to high winds of approaching Typhoon No. 15 (Marie), the anchor of the ferry did not hold and the Toya Maru was cast adrift.  Water entered the engine room, caused the steam engine to stop, and sent the ferry out of control.  She overturned in the high waves.  2Lt. George A. Vaillancourt was awarded the Soldiers Medal posthumously.

The list of casualties below was compiled by Peter P. O'Brien, 61st FABn, HQ Battery, 1954-55 in August 2014 at Foxboro, Massachusetts and updated in October 2014.

In Memory of the 1st Cavalry Men Who Lost Their Lives That Day

99th Field Artillery Battalion Fatalities

Cpl. Foy Adams
PFC. James F. Bethea
PFC. Harry E. Boob
PFC. Chester L. Brown
Pvt. Jerome Brown
Cpl. Cecil I. Collins
PFC. Melvin K. Day
Cpl. Thomas A. Dickey, Jr.
Cpl. Francis E. Forman
PFC. Phillip H. Foust
PFC. Frank A. Gallo
PFC. Alexander Gonsalves
PFC. Teddy D. Graham
Cpl. Richard L. Hanneman
PFC. Cicero Harris, Jr.
Cpl. Clyde T. Henzler
Cpl. Richard A. Heroff
SFC. James E. Huey, Jr.
Cpl. Willie R. Jones
Pvt. Donald D. Kirkwood
PFC. Albert J. Koch
PFC. Bernard J. Leuchs
PFC. Leonard J. Merritt
PFC. Ray J. Michalak
Sgt. Robert A. Miller
Pvt. George L. O'Neal
PFC. Gregorio H. Otero
Cpl. Joseph C. Perry
PFC. Vernon L. Sullwold
2Lt. George A. Vaillancourt
Sgt. Richard E. Weidner
PFC. James L. Welch
PFC. Jerry Wendelschafer
Pvt. Adam L. West
Pvt. Leldon L. York

8th Cavalry Regiment

Cpl. Clarence L. Davis
Cpl. Kenneth E. Hoff
Sgt. Andrew Smith

27th Ordinance Battalion

PFC. Alvin L. Taylor
Pvt. John B. Zerby

49th Ordinance Battalion

SFC Charles Champagne (His wife, Emiko, was also aboard, but survived.)

15th Medical Battalion

2nd Lt. Philip E. Forest

Eta Jima Spec. School

PFC. Clemens M. Bujalski
Sgt. Roger S. Howard

8010 AU

Sgt. Willard Batchelder, wife Kazuko and three-year old child, Makie.


Two unidentified soldiers accompanying a mail railway car

7th Cavalry Regiment

Warrant Officer Sidney Larue Cline Jr. (born June 21, 1923, originally from New York)


Frances Endres, school teacher, APO 919 (Francis)
Lois Jameson, school teacher
Jack F. Laconga, Department of the Army Civilian, Camp Crawford Engineering Section
Dean Leeper, YMCA Secretary
Spyridoc Marvolis, a Greek seaman
Thomas West, Japan Mgr., Max Factor Company
Ada L.C. Willis, school teacher


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