War heroes of Walla Walla

A new World War II Memorial that opened on the grounds of Fort Walla Walla honors approximately 3,800 men and women who answered the call of duty during the last world war.

Tragically, 91 of those from Walla Walla County never came home; two had been students at the UW: Capt. Duane L. Cosper, ’38, and 2nd Lt. Chester E. Longshore.

Cosper, 32, who earned a degree in geology from the UW, worked as a geologist in Montana and Arizona before joining the military in June 1941. He was in the Philippines as part of an artillery corps in 1941 when he was captured by the Japanese. Three years later, he was killed when the Japanese transport ship taking him and 1,618 other prisoners of war was bombed on Dec. 15, 1944.

By tragic coincidence, Longshore also was killed that same year. The 22-year-old was assigned to Marine Fighting Squadron 212, known as the “Hell Hounds / The Musketeers,” in the South Pacific. During a routine training flight, Longshore’s Vought F4U-1 Corsair collided with another aircraft and crashed on tiny Moso Island off the coast of Efate, 1,191 miles east of Australia.

The next time you visit Walla Walla and pick up some sweet onions and bottles of the famous local wine, be sure to stop by Fort Walla Walla and pay your respects to these two UW heroes.