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Pvt William "Max" Oster

Pvt William M Oster

60th Engineers Combat Battalion - Company B

William "Max" Oster, son of William Cessna and Elesta Belle (Hite) Oster, was born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania January 5, 1908. He married Margaret Blanche Perdew in March 1930 and the couple had 3 sons, Richard, Dale and Darrell. He registered for the draft October 16, 1940. At the time he was living in Allegheny, Maryland and working for the WPA Project in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He was inducted into the Army September 9, 1943 at Baltimore, Maryland and assigned to Company B, 60th Engineers Combat Battalion. He departed the U.S. on May 12, 1944 and landed in England two weeks later where the 60th Engineers were based at St. Tudy, Cornwall. On July 5 he embarked for Normandy, France landing on Omaha Beach July 7, 1944.

The night of October 10, 1944, the 60th Engineers Combat Battalion was laying down a mine field near Ajoncourt, about 18 miles northeast of Nancy, France. Trucks carrying the mines were parked along the river just south of town. At about 11 PM that night one of the trucks exploded, causing another truck and nearby stacks of mines and other ammunition to also explode. Pvt William M Oster was one of 33 men who died in that explosion. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

Read more about the 60th Engineers Ajoncourt mine explosion disaster

Thanks to the Bedford County Historical Society, Bedford PA, for this picture

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