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Edward Bloem Jr.

2LT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : Co D


Born 1919 in MI, Died 2016


County of residence at enlistment: Kent County, MI
Other residence(s): Grand Rapids, MI
United States Army, did not accompany the unit to Europe
Occupation before the war: draftsmen
Notes: promoted to CPT; served in the US, Okinawa, and Korea and retired as a major
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson

He was born on October 9, 1919, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to his draft card. His father, Edward Sr., was a Dutch-born truck driver.

He graduated from Davis Tech HS in 1938, and went to work right out of school as a draftsman for a company called Metal Office Furniture, which eventually became Steelcase.

The 6' tall blond enlisted in the Army on June 14, 1941 as a private. A week after enlisting, he was transferred to Camp Polk, Louisiana. While there he was promoted to SGT in the 23rd Engineers.

On May 30, 1942 he graduated with a commission as a 2LT from Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia (Engineer School).

After receiving his commission, he was assigned to the 451st engineering company at Camp Gordon, Georgia.

The GA roster lists him as a 2LT, and I found an article in the Lansing State Journal on October 7, 1943 which says he was temporarily promoted from 1LT to CPT. A later newspaper article in the Dec 6, 1943 Grand Rapids Press confirms his status as CPT and his involvement with the 606th engineers camouflage battalion at Camp Carson, Colorado in December 1943.

His obituary says he served in the US, Okinawa, and Korea, and retired as a major.

He returned to Steelcase after he left the service, married Dorothy Costello on September 14, 1946, and they had three sons.

He worked at Steelcase as a design engineer; he retired in 1985 as Product Engineer Manager for Desk and File Products. Some of the comments on his obituary online were telling.

"He was my first manager at Steelcase, he was dedicated to Steelcase and was a good mentor for a young engineer."

"Ed was my first 'real' boss when I hired into engineering at Steelcase in 1974. Ed backed me up more than a few times when I goofed something up."

"He was always on the cutting edge, the first to have one of the small fast sailboats, the first with a McIntosh stereo amp. An excellent design engineer."

He sang in a Barbershop Quartet and was an avid photographer. He died August 15, 2016 in Grand Rapids.


Draft card

Enlistment record,sl,fd&rpp=10&pg=1&rid=6330482

Article from that states he was transferred to Camp Polk, LA a week after enlisting (Genealogy Bank article but nothing of interest there except this info).

Army and Navy Journal, June 13, 1942 mentions his graduation from officers’ candidate program at the Engineer School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia

Newspaper article stating he was being assigned to Camp Gordon, GA after receiving his commission. (Grand Rapids Press, June 6, 1942) Clipping attached.

Newspaper article re his temporary promotion to captain; Lansing State Journal, October 7, 1943

Newspaper article on his involvement with camouflage engineers and presence at Camp Carson in December 1943 (clipping of article attached to this email)

Marriage record

Obituary (contains old age photo)

Second version of obituary (wasn't able to access full obituary here, but this is useful for comments)

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