On July 20, the flag of the state of California was flown at half-mast in honor of an 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper.
Staff Sgt. David Rosenkrantz, who fought with the paratrooper division in World War II, was buried 74 years after his death in Holland during Operation Market Garden.
Rosenkrantz was considered Missing In Action from Sept. 28, 1944, when German tanks and infantry launched a major attack on his unit, until March of this year. His remains were found and positively identified by Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency, with the assistance of the Rosenkrantz Family, Dutch citizens, the Royal Netherlands Army’s Recovery and Identification Unit, and the American Battle Monuments Commission.
During the July 20 ceremony at Riverside National Cemetery, 82nd Abn.Div. leaders presented David Rosenkrantz’ Family with the military awards he never received prior to his death, including the Bronze Star Medal (second award), the Purple Heart (second award), the Combat Parachutist Badge with two bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and the Netherlands Orange Lanyard.
“We always say that when you serve in the 82nd Airborne Division, you walk in the footsteps of legends,” said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, division spokesman, at the ceremony. “Today, one of those legends has returned home.”
Dr. Phillip Rosenkrantz, David’s nephew, who spent decades supporting the search for his uncle and made three trips to Holland to learn more about the battle in which his uncle fought, said “We are honored to have the 82nd Airborne Division here. It means a great deal to us to have his unit represented, presenting his awards. My Family and I would like to thank all of the people who helped locate our uncle and bring him home to be buried with his four brothers who were also part of WWII and are buried at Riverside National Cemetery.”
David’s remains were not identified immediately after the war because he was separated from his identification tags. Those tags were found near Groesbeek several years ago and returned to the Family. David Rosenkrantz also parachuted into Sicily in July, 1943 with the 82nd Airborne Division. He was wounded in combat during that operation, but recovered prior to Operation Market Garden.
More than 100 Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division remain missing from World War II.
“As a Nation, we celebrate our war dead and we cherish the accomplishments of our World War II veterans, but we sometimes lose sight of the fact that they have not all been found,” Buccino said. “They have not all been given the service and ceremony that we owe them. As a Nation, we must commit to finding all of them.”