Skip Navigation
Junior Bruce Arbogast

Courtesy Edith Swecker, sister

West Virginia Veterans Memorial


Junior Bruce Arbogast

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

: Winston Churchill

Junior Bruce Arbogast was born on September 9, 1920, at Valley Head, Randolph County, West Virginia. His parents were Walter Raleigh Arbogast and Eva K. Estoline Arbogast, who were married on October 16, 1912, in Valley Head. Walter and Eva had the following children: Raymond Wesley, Orval Dexter, Junior Bruce, Troy Raleigh, Robert Keith, Lillian Pauline (Mrs. Wesley Waldo Dodrill), Freddie Lee, and Edith Eva (Mrs. Autumn S. Swecker).

When the Selective Service instituted the first draft during World War I, Junior's father, Walter R. Arbogast, registered in Randolph County on June 5, 1917. He claimed exemption from the draft because of a crippled hand, and he was the sole support for his wife and child.

On September 16, 1940, the United States instituted the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 required all men between the ages of 21 and 45 to register for the draft. When World War II ended in 1945, 10 million men had been inducted into the military, one of whom was Randolph County's Junior Bruce Arbogast.

The fourth registration, sometimes referred to as the "Old Man's Draft," included men not already in the military who were born on or between April 28, 1877, and February 16, 1897. Thus, Walter R. Arbogast, who was born on January 27, 1893, once again registered for the draft at Valley Head on April 27, 1942.

Junior Bruce Arbogast left his job as a clerk in a retail grocery store and entered the Army during World War II. He was assigned to Company C of the 2833rd Engineering Battalion of the 540th Combat Engineer Regiment.

The primary mission of combat engineering was to keep the armies moving to attack and impede the enemy. These operations included bridge (mobile, floating, fixed), rail, and road construction, maintenance, and demolition. Also, combat engineers facilitated river crossings by supplying pontoon/raft, motor-powered assault boats. On March 25, 1945, the 540th Combat Engineer Regiment, consisting of the 2832nd and 2833rd Battalions, was engaged in preparations for crossing the Rhine River at Worms by the Seventh Army. Efforts were hampered by heavy gunfire from the German antiaircraft guns emplaced on an island in the Rhine. Late in the afternoon the 15th Infantry assaulted the island and silenced the German guns. On the evening of March 25, the 2833rd Battalion, in support of the 30th Infantry, while under attack by German artillery and mortar fire, launched storm and assault boats.


Junior's father's application for a military headstone. Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

On the following day, Sgt. Junior Bruce Arbogast was killed in action. While he would have been at first buried in a military cemetery overseas, in 1948 his remains were returned to the United States. On December 6, 1948, his father applied for a military headstone. Following a funeral service at the Valley Head Methodist Church, he was buried at the Valley Head Cemetery. While the marker set by the family to honor Junior Bruce Arbogast and his brother Freddie L. Arbogast is clearly readable, his military marker is showing signs of age.

Gravestone for Junior B. Arbogast and his brother Freddie L Arbogast, Valley Head Cemetery. Courtesy Elaine Everitt


Junior B. Arbogast's military marker in Valley Head Cemetery. Courtesy Susan Richardson

Article prepared by Leon Armentrout
May 2016; revised August 2016


Junior Bruce Arbogast

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

Veterans Memorial Database

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

West Virginia Archives and History

West Virginia Archives and History