Y2c Robert Francis Manske

Unknown Sailor

Y2c Robert Francis Manske

Fifteen months after her only son was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Katherine Burger Manske told the local newspaper that World War II food rationing was a small sacrifice.

“I’m willing now to give up butter or meat or anything so that some of the other boys can come back. I have enough gas to get to church, so I’m not complaining.”

Her son, Robert Francis Manske, was a yeoman and petty officer second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941.

Mr. Manske was born April 6, 1919 in Waterloo, Iowa, to Frank Manske, a railroad boilermaker, and Katherina, a homemaker. Both parents were German immigrants.

The son graduated in 1937 from East High School, where he sang in a quartet, performed in a glee club operetta,and was in the stage crew for a play, “Skidding,” that was the basis for the Andy Hardy movies popular in the 1930s and 1940s. He also worked as a carrier salesman for the Waterloo newspaper, The Courier.

He enlisted in the Navy on Feb. 1, 1938.

A requiem Mass honored him at St. John’s Catholic Church in Waterloo in February 1942.


Sources: The Waterloo (Iowa) Courier; World War I draft registration; Census; Iowa World War II case file for beneficiaries; East High School yearbook. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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