Fort Sheridan Military Escort Company
In the 1940s, the 5012 ASU Escort Company, Detachments 1 and 2, were formed. Their mission was to return World War II dead from the many battlefields of the world and escort them to a final resting place in home soil. This Escort company was based at Fort Sheridan and established here the detailed training required to properly carry out this mission.
Below is a copy of portions of the 1949 yearbook of the 5012 Escort Company. These excerpts provide much detail about the Company and its activities. The book includes pictures, names and some biographies of individual escorts. These pages have not been included in the excerpt below.
This yearbook was generously donated by Ms. M. Rogers, whose father, Paul L. Heitgerd, was a member of the Escort Company. The book was donated in his memory.
During WW II the dead were initially buried near where they fell. Graves Registration carefully noted who was buried and at which location.
After the war, the family’s of the fallen soldier was given the option of returning the remains for burial in the US. This is where the Escorts made sure that there was a soldier/sailor/Marine to bring each body home, a practice that continues today.
Families that didn’t want that option, or couldn’t be reached, had their son's or brother's remains buried in one of the big American Cemeteries. The most famous is Colleville sur Mer in Normandy.
General Patton was hit by a truck after the war in Europe ended The offer was made to bury Patton at West Point or anywhere the family wanted. George Patton’s wife asked to have Patton buried among “his troops”. He is buried in the American Cemetery in Belgium.
The oldest son of Theodore Roosevelt and nephew of FDR was the oldest person to go ashore at Normandy during the first wave. General Theodore Roosevelt Jr led the troops from the front but died of a heart attack a month after the invasion. His family also asked that he remain with his soldiers. He is buried among his men at Colleville sur Mer in Normandy.
1949 Yearbook from the Fort Military Escort Company