Sergeant First Class Marvin Jerome Fogelhut
- Unit: 78th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion
- Date of Birth: May 15, 1931
- Entered the Military: May 16, 1952
- Date of Death: June 29, 1953
- Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
- Cemetery: Plot 2, Row 8, Grave 602. Cyprus Hills National Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Before the War
On May 15, 1931, Marvin Jerome Fogelhut was born to Dorothy and Samuel Fogelhut in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.
Samuel Fogelhut immigrated from Austria as a teenager in 1909. On September 14, 1929, he married Dorothy “Dotty” Levenger, the daughter of Austrian immigrants. The 1930 census shows the couple living with Samuel’s brother, David, a garment worker. Samuel owned a candy store. Marvin (listed in the 1940 federal census as Maxmin) was born in 1931, followed by sister Viniana four years later. The family were Orthodox Jews.
Coming of age during World War II, Marvin enlisted with the New York National Guard on October 13, 1948. Here he served with the 245th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gun Battalion in Battery B. As a result of the downsizing of the U.S. military following World War II, many national guard units were called up to serve in Korea. On August 14, 1950, the unit was federalized and served in the Korean War. They became integrated into the 78th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion.
On July 3, 1952, Marvin married Chanda Hylander of Newark, New Jersey. Fogelhut was Jewish and Hylander was Christian, in an age when these marriages were lesson common. In 1953, Chanda gave birth to a daughter, Sharon, whom Marvin never met.
Fogelhut served in Korea as a member of the U.S. Army’s 78th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (Automatic Weapons) Battalion. The unit served two functions. First, it provided air defense around enemy targets, such as air fields or bases. Second, the unit was mobile. It would follow the military and provide anti-aircraft support. Early in the war, the unit largely focused on mobile operations, but by 1953, their primary mission was to defend key bases.
As was common practice during this phase of the war, in June 1953, Fogelhut and other members of his unit were granted a five-day rest break in Japan.
On June 18, 1953, Marvin was a passenger on a C-124A Globemaster transport traveling from Tachikawa Air Base, Japan to Korea. He was killed when the aircraft crashed about three miles from Tachikawa. The crash received international coverage and was reported in many press outlets from small newsrooms to Life Magazine. Its June 29, 1953, issue deemed the crash, “the world’s worst air disaster.” Seven crew members and 122 passengers perished in the accident. There were no survivors.
The severity of the crash and resulting fire made it challenging to identify remains. Fogelhut was identified in part due to his wedding ring and a particular signet ring that had been given to him by his parents.
As his legal wife, Chandra Fogelhut was given the legal authority to decide what to do with his remains.
His mother Dorothy disagreed. In a series of letters, Dorothy Fogelhut begged everyone, from the Memorial Division of the U.S. Army to President Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure he would be, “buried as a Jew with the Star of David.” She also expressed a desire for him to be buried overseas to spare everyone the heartache of “burying a much beloved, only son.”
The realities of the changing battle lines in Korea removed the option of the overseas cemeteries. In the end, the decision was left solely in the hands of his widow. Sergeant First Class Fogelhut was buried in September 1953 at the Cypress Hill National Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, with a Star of David on his grave.
“128 Soldiers Killed in Plane Crash.” The Daily Home News. June 18, 1953, 1. Newspapers.com (315322694).
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Ahrens, Sharon. E-mail messages to author. July 23, 2018 – August 1, 2018.
Ahrens, Sharon. Telephone interview with the author. August 25, 2018.
“Cadman Plaza Park.” New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Accessed September 26, 2018. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/cadman-plaza-park-and-brooklyn-war-memorial/monuments/175.
Crowe, Corporal Hubert L. Men unload from the bush which brought them from Tachikaya [sic] AFB to the… January 2, 1951. National Archives and Records Administration (111-SC-355607). Image.
Escoe, Adrienne. E-mail messages to author. June 21, 2018 – August 27, 2018.
Escoe, Adrienne. Telephone interview with the author, July 5, 2018.
“Giant Transport Falls in Japan, 129 GIs Killed.” The Oneonta Star. June 19, 1953, 1. Newspapers.com (47326911).
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“Globemasters Grounded; Disaster Death Toll 129.” The Daily Journal. June 19, 1953, 1. Newspapers.com (280264687).
Gooding, Lieutenant Colonel Earl R., Major C. F. O’Donnell, and Captain Leonard B. Main. “78th AAA Gun Battalion.” Antiaircraft Journal, September-October 1953, 9-11.
“Marvin Jerome Fogelhut.” American Battle Monuments Commission. Accessed June 20, 2018.
“Marvin Jerome Fogelhut.” Findagrave. Updated March 3, 2000. Accessed September 26, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/2588914.
“Marvin Jerome Fogelhut.” National Cemetery Administration Nationwide Gravesite Locator. Accessed September 25, 2018. https://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/index.html?cemetery=N808.
Marvin Jerome Fogelhut, Individual Deceased Personnel File, Department of the Army.
“New York Units Federalized during the Korean War: 245th Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion.” New York State Military Museum and Veterans Research Center. Last modified March 10, 2006. Accessed September 26, 2018. https://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/korea/245thAAA.htm.
Small, Captain B. B. “After Action Report on the M16.” Antiaircraft Journal, September-October 1953, 11-12. http://sill-www.army.mil/ada-online/antiaircraft-journal/_docs/1953/9-10/Sep-Oct%201953%20Screen.pdf.
A U.S. Air Force B-26 light bomber takes to the sky…while an anti-aircraft crew watches… September 1952. National Archives and Records Administration (342-FH-81983). Image.
Wood, Jr., Corporal Henry G. Air Force firemen examine wreckage of C-124 Globemaster transport, that crashed and burned… June 18, 1953. National Archives and Records Administration. (111-SC-425596). Image.