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Harold William Loose

S/SGT in Signal Co, Special : Message Center

Military occupational specialty: 674 (message center chief)


Born 1918 in IA, Died 2006

County of residence at enlistment: Des Moines County, IA
Other residence(s): Burlington, IA
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: bookkeepers and cashiers, except bank cashiers
Source: Unit Shipment 10143-D, 23d HQ, from le Havre 23 June 1945; ; photo courtesy of The Hawk Eye, Burlington, IA, November 10, 2023

Harold Loose was born on November 16, 1918 in West Burlington, IA, the third of six children (though two died in infancy). His father was a welder with the railroad, and later a school janitor.

Harold played baseball and basketball in junior high and high school, and graduated from Burlington High School in 1936. When he registered for the draft, on October 16, 1940, he was working as a clerk at Schramm and Schmieg, a wholesale dry goods firm in Burlington.

On May 29, 1942, he married Ozetta Wagler; at the time he gave his occupation as "auditor." He enlisted on April 12, 1943, where his profession was listed in the category of "bookkeepers and cashiers." He was first a member of the 244th Signal Operation Company, later joining the Signal Company Special.

Two of Harold's brothers also served during the war—his brother Eugene was in the Army Air Corps and his brother Daniel was in the Marine Corps. In addition, his sister's husband was in the Air Force. HIs son, Greg Loose, reported in a 2023 newspaper article: "Only the Navy missed out on a contribution from the Looses."

Harold studied radio and other signals, likely at Camp Carson in Colorado Springs, before going to Europe with the Ghost Army. Greg described his service: "Dad carried an encrypted comms device called a Sigaba on his back everywhere he went. . . . Dad's role was to receive/send true messages, but also send false ones designed to be detected by the enemy. . . . Precious few Sigabas now exist. In a military intel organization where I once worked, there was one under glass in a small museum next to the entrance. Every time I went to work, it was Dad's way of saying 'Hi Greg!'"

Harold served as message center chief in his unit, supervising 25 enlisted men. Towards the end of his time in Europe, he was part of a contingent supporting the care of refugees and displaced persons in Germany.

Harold was discharged from the Army on October 27, 1945 with the rank of Staff SGT and returned to Burlington. By 1950 he was working as a posting clerk in government ordnance, and he and Ozetta had become parents to their son Greg. Harold's brothers also returned to Burlington—one became a policeman and one a fireman.

Eventually Harold became a senior weapons inspector for the US Atomic Energy Commission at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. He held that position until his retirement in 1974. After his retirement, he worked as an associate at Pioneer Supply Company in Burlington.

He was a lifelong member of First United Church of Christ in Burlington, and a member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees and Burlington Civic Music.

His interests included reading, church activities, golf, table tennis, and horseshoes, and he was an avid Iowa Hawkeyes fan.

Harold died on August 5, 2006, in Burlington, IA, and is buried at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington.


1920 census

1925 Iowa state census

1930 census

1935 article in the Daily Hawk Eye Gazette about his playing basketball

1940 census

1940 draft card

1942 marriage record

1949 Iowa WW2 bonus case files

1950 census

1954 Burlington city directory

1960 Burlington city directory

1992 announcement in The Hawk Eye (Burlington IA) about their 50th wedding anniversary

2002 announcement in The Hawk Eye (Burlington IA) about their 60th wedding anniversary

2006 VA death record

2006 Social Security death index

2006 Find a Grave record (includes obituary)*194it3q*_gcl_au*MjA2MzU5NTkyNC4xNjk4NjEzOTky*_ga*Njk5MzA3MzcxLjE2OTg2MTM5OTI.*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MDYxNTZlNDQtODIwNi00OGYwLTgwMGItZWZkYTMyZTRjMDFlLjI3LjEuMTY5OTczMDA3Ni40Ni4wLjA.*_ga_LMK6K2LSJH*MDYxNTZlNDQtODIwNi00OGYwLTgwMGItZWZkYTMyZTRjMDFlLjM4LjEuMTY5OTczMDA3Ni4wLjAuMA..

2006 obituary in The Hawk Eye (Burlington IA)

2023 article in The Hawk Eye (Burlington IA) about his Ghost Army experience

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