Nieland's Purple Heart
purple heart medal was awarded to Arthur Bernard Nieland, the
eldest son of Bernard and Mary Nieland and grandson of John Henry
Nieland. Arthur was born on August 25, 1918 and died September
7th 1944, after being taken prisoner by the Japanese in the Philippine
Islands during WW II.
Nieland's purple heart medal awarded following his death
in WW II
following historical information was provided by Art Nieland's
nephew, Russ Bierl.
February 2, 1941, Art Nieland was drafted into the Army. He first
traveled to Des Moines and then Ft. Snelling, Minnesota before
being transferred to Ft. Francis E. Warren, Wyoming. He was in
the Quartermaster Corps and later trained at Ft Douglas near Salt
Lake City, Utah.
came home for a two week furlough on August 15th, 1941. After
his leave he was sent to the Philippine Islands where he served
as a fire fighter with the 5th Air Base Group on the Island of
Mindanao in the Philippines. The Philippine Islands were attacked
by the Japanese on December 8th, 1941 and Art was taken prisoner
on May 25, 1942. He was kept in a POW camp on the islands until
August 20th, 1944 when all the prisoners were put on a Japanese
ship which left the port of Davao, Mindanao, to be moved out ahead
of the advancing American liberation forces.
Purple Heart Certificate issued March 15, 1945
September 7th, 1944 the Japanese freighter Shingo Maru
was sailing toward Japan with over 750 American POWs on board.
The U.S. submarine U.S.S. Paddle sank the ship with two
torpedoes off the western shore of Mindanao. Only 82 Americans
survived the attack. Pvt. Arthur Bernard Nieland, #37039730, lost
his life that day.
family was officially notified on February 19, 1945, by letter
from the War Department, that Art was killed. While he was a prisoner,
the family would kneel together with Arthur's picture on the table
and say the rosary every night after supper. The War Department
later sent a Purple Heart decoration award to the family.
and Mary Nieland always kept a picture of Art in their living
room. The family did not have a group photograph taken before
Art was lost. They later took a family portrait and had Art's
picture inserted into it (photo at right).
State of Iowa paid Mary Nieland, as Art's mother, a $500 WW II
Service Compensation death benefit, which had been voted by the
52nd Iowa General Assembly in 1950. On November 12th, 1978 a flag
pole, donated by the Nieland family in memory of Art, was dedicated
in St. Bernard's Catholic Cemetery in Breda. Arts name also appears
on a monument near the Sac County Court House and his picture
hangs in the American Legion building in Breda.
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