GM3C Russell Lavern Steenhoek

October 11, 1923–May 4, 1945

Service #: 06205844
Residence: Jones, Iowa
Education: 4 years high school
Occupation: General farmer
Marital Status: Single
Enlistment Date: June 7, 1942
Enlistment Place: Des Moines, IA
Service/Unit: USNR
Awards: Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with Star
Burial: Courts of the Missing, Court 2, Honolulu Memorial

Transfer to Washington, D.C.

Russell Steenhoek, G. M. 3/C, who has been stationed at the Great Lakes since June 7, completed sixteen weeks of service school there recently and has been transferred to Washington, D. C, Navy Yards where he will continue training at an advanced Gunners' Mate school for eight weeks. Russell is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. M. Steenhoek of Anamosa.

Source: The Anamosa Eureka, Anamosa, Iowa, December 10, 1942


photoRussell Steenhoek, G. M. 3/C, was among the crew of the light cruiser Birmingham which suffered 649 casualties when the nearby aircraft carrier Princeton exploded October 24 off Leyte where both vessels had helped landing operations. This action was recently reported by the navy department Russell, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Steenhoek of Anamosa, has been aboard the Birmingham for two years. He has been home on leave since the action but was unable to give out any information.

More than a third of the number of casualties were killed instantly as the carrier's magazine cut loose just as the Birmingham appeared to be winning a five hour battle to control a fire set aboard the Princeton by a Japanese bomb. Now repaired, the cruiser has returned to service.

Source: The Anamosa Eureka, Anamosa, Iowa, April 26, 1945

Russell L. Steenhoek

Memorial Service

Memorial services were held on Sunday afternoon at the Presbyterian church in Amber for Russell L. Steenhoek, G. M. 3/C, who died May 4, 1945, in a naval battle off the coast of Okinawa.

The services included the presentation of colors by the Anamosa American Legion post, music by Elizabeth Hartman, presentation of the flag by Alfred Snyder and taps played by Albert Ament. The Rev. C. E. Burdine was in charge of the service.

Russell LeVerne Steenhoek, son of William and Anna Herr Steenhoek, was born in Jones county, October 11, 1923, and died in action in the service of his country May 4, 1945, a little past the age of 21 years, somewhere in the Pacific on board the U. S. S. Birmingham.

Enlists in 1942

He was graduated with the class of 1940 from the Anamosa high school, after which he was employed on the farm of Joseph Byerly until the time of his enlistment in the U. S. Navy, June 7, 1942. Following his boot training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he spent nine months taking advanced gunnery training at Washington, D. C, and was assigned to the U. S. S. Birmingham and continued on this ship until the time of his death.

His first engagement was in Sicily on June 10, 1943, after which he saw action at Tarawa, Wake, Bougainville, Shortland Island, Siapan, Guam, Tinian, Sanco Pt., Luzon, Okinawa, the (bombing) of the Princeton, Philippine sea battles and Iwo Jima.

Russell was one of the well liked boys of our community, with a kindly disposition, a clean mind and concern for others.

Tribute from Kinser

Mr. Kinser, superintendent of the Anamosa schools, has this to say of him, "Russell graduated with the class of 1940 from the Anamosa high school and was one of our most affable students. His quiet unassuming personality made for him a host of friends both on the faculty and with the students. He will always be remembered as one of our most cherished graduates."

On June 26, 1938, Russell was baptized and received into membership in the Amber Presbyterian church, where his name is now enrolled.

He leaves his parents and one brother, Richard, of his immediate family, and a host of friends to mourn his loss, hut he gave his life that they ..might enjoy freedom from slavery and bondage. His is a great heritage and ours a splendid memory of another of our noble sons.

Those from out of town who attended the memorial service included Mr. and Mrs. I. W. Herr, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Herr, Joan and Ben of Waukee, Mrs. Lydia Herr, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Herr, Charles, Delia Maye and Jimmie, H. E. Offenhauser of Dallas Center, Mr. and Mrs. David Doyle and Mrs. Charles Oxley of Marion.


We wish to express our thanks and appreciation to the people who helped with the music, the Rev. C. E. Burdine, to the American Legion, and to friends and neighbors who showed their sympathy with flowers and helped in other ways with the dinner, and for their acts of kindness during our bereavement.

Mr. and Mrs. William Steenhoek and Richard.

Source: The Anamosa Eureka, Anamosa, Iowa, July 12, 1945