Sergeant Ray Hackney Drullinger

World War II

US Army
Company F, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division
Service Number: 38005721
Born: January 25, 1917, at Achilles, Kansas
Prior Service 1934-1935 in US Navy
Inducted: January 16, 1941
Killed in July 10, 1943, Sicily Invasion
Buried: Cope Cemetery

Soldier's Medal (Posthumous)

Son of Harry and Jenni (Hackney) Drullinger of Cope.


Cope Cemetery
Sgt Drullinger


Thursday August 19, 1943 The Akron News-Reporter

Ray Drullinger Killed in Action in Sicilian Battle
Information From War Department Saturday Tells of Cope Boy's Death.

Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Drullinger of Cope, was killed in action in the invasion of Sicily on Saturday, July 10, according to a telegram received by his parents last Saturday.

The telegram from the war department simply stated that the Washington county boy "was killed in action" and a letter containing more details would follow.

Sgt. Drullinger was the second Washington County man to volunteer for army service, being accepted on January 16, 1941. However, he requested the opportunity to volunteer as early as October, 1940, but it was not until the following January that he was taken.

He was a graduate of the Cope High School, where he enjoyed the friendship and esteem of the entire community. In the army, as at home, his ambition and energy enabled him to advance rapidly and he was known as a "good soldier."

Mr. and Mrs. Drullinger had started on a business trip to Benkleman, Neb. Saturday morning, but at Wray, they encountered tire trouble and were forced to return home where the news of their son's death awaited them.

In addition to his parents, Ray is survived by an older sister, Mrs. Louise Paige, and two younger brothers, Rex and Jim, all of the Cope community.

It is thought that two other Washington County boys, Sgt. Jim McMillion, son of Mr. and Mrs. Waiter McMillion of Harrisburg, and Corp. Glenn Norman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Norman of Cope, were in the same group with Ray. It is possible and even probable that there are many more, since a large number of Colorado fighting men were included in the Allied invasion force that landed on the island of Sicily, July 9.

In October of last year, Ray enjoyed a brief furlough at home with his family. At that time, he was stationed at Fort Devens, Mass. His division landed in North Africa in June and was there for about a month before the invasion of the Italian island.

So far as we were able to determine, Sgt. Drullinger is the first Washington County boy to lose his life in action with the army of the United States.


Thursday September 16, 1943 The Akron News-Reporter

Memorial Service Held for Cope, Colo. Soldier

Last Sunday afternoon, August 28, 1943, a memorial service was held in the Cope church in the honor of Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger of Cope, who gave his life for his country on July 10, during the invasion of the island of Sicily.

The large crowd which gathered for the service, many of whom were unable to get inside the church, gave some indication of the high esteem with which Sgt. Drullinger was regarded.

The Eastern Star mixed quartet of Akron sang three very fitting songs, "Some Day We'll Understand," "Abide With Me," and "God Be With You Til We Meet Again."

Rev. C. B. Bryant, pastor of the Flagler Congregational Church, offered prayer, and the pastor of the Cope Community Church, Rev. I. E. Gabel, read the obituary and spoke briefly and suggested that Sgt. Ray Drullinger will be missed from his family circle, from the Cope community, and from the larger areas of our country, but he gave his life that we might continue to be a free country and that all men of all nations might enjoy the blessings of freedom, without which life is not worthwhile.

The four freedoms for which our soldiers and sailors are fighting, and the endeavor to end war on this earth should challenge all of us to back our fighting men in every possible way. In closing the speaker praised the bravery of our service men, and urged the people of this community to pray that there might be more bloodless victories, such as Kiska.

The following obituary was read during the service:

Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger was born January 25, 1917, at Achilles, Kansas. In the spring of 1928 he came to Cope, Colorado, with his parents, where he attended and graduated from the Cope High School with the class of 1934.

At the age of 17 he joined the Unites States Navy, and took his training at San Diego, California. While here he accepted Christ as his Savior, was baptized, and united with the Methodist Church. At the end of a year, he was honorably discharged, and spent the years immediately following in farming and ranching in the Cope community.

In the fall of 1940 Ray volunteered for service in the United States Army being the second Washington County man to enlist for such service. He was not inducted, however, until January 16, 1941. He spent his first year of training at Camp Barkley, Texas, with Co. F., 157th Infantry, 45th division. Later he, with his division, made up largely of men from the Colorado National Guard, was in training at Fort Devens, Mass, for about one and one-half years, and spent three months at Camp Pickett, Virginia. From here he with his company embarked for overseas duty the first of June.

Ray was in North Africa for four weeks, and with the forces invading Sicily on the morning of July 10, on which morning he was reported by the government as killed in action. A letter received later verified the first government report. He was 26 years, 5 months and 15 days old at this time.

Ray leaves to mourn his early passing his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Drullinger, one sister, Mrs. Louise Page, two brothers, Rex and James, one nephew and one niece, besides many other relatives and friends

He was a good, obedient son, without any bad habits, and was highly regarded by all who knew him.

The service inside of the church was concluded by all standing and singing the first verse of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," after which the Flagler Post of the American Legion conducted an impressive memorial service in front of the church.

This service was conducted by Arthur Robb with the assistance of many of the former service men of the other world war. Words of appreciation were spoken, a charge to the community was given, and prayer was offered by the Post Chaplain. Then a military salute to the dead soldier was given by a firing squad and taps were sounded to conclude a most impressive service.

The Cope church was beautifully decorated for the service with flags and a large display of beautiful flowers. The picture of Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger was displayed among the flowers, and was encased in a very beautiful wreath of flowers for the service conducted outside of the church. The Cope community will not forget the sacrifice which Sgt. Drullinger has made for his country and for their community.


November 2, 1943 - Denver Post

Parents of Slain Colorado Soldier Receive Medal

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Drullinger of Cope, Colo., have received from the war department in Washington D.C., a Purple Heart medal awarded to their son, Sergt. Ray H. Drullinger, 25, who was killed in action in the American invasion of Sicily last July 10. Sergeant Drullinger was the second man to enlist in Washington county. He served in the navy after his graduation from the Cope high school, and in 1940 enlisted in the army.

He trained at Camp Barkley, Tex., and Fort Devens, Mass., before being sent overseas in June.


An article on page 86 in the 1988 History of Cope provides details of a later award of the Soldier's Medal that probably replaced the Purple Heart:

Ray Drullinger Killed in Action

Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger was posthumously awarded the Soldier's Medal at a special program conducted at Fitzsimons General Hospital, on Friday, January 19. 1944. Sgt. Drullinger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry W. Drullinger of Cope, died in the invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943.

Brig. Gen. Omar H. Quade, commanding general of Fitzsimons hospital, presented the medal to Mr. Drullinger, father of the deceased soldier, in a ceremony that was participated in by the Fitzsimons band, 400 members of the WACs and several hundred soldiers.

The Soldier's Medal is the highest award made by the United States to a member of the army who distinguishes himself by heroism not involving conflict with the enemy. Sgt. Drullinger's citation, issued at the direction of President Roosevelt, reads:

"For heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy on 10 July 1943, near ..... Sicily. While engaged in the initial landing to establish a beachhead, Sgt. Drullinger's assault boat struck a jagged reef which completely demolished the boat and threw the men into the water.

"Many of the men were unable to get their packs off and were pulled under by the heavy equipment carried. Sgt. Drullinger cut off his pack with a knife carried on his belt, then swam from man to man, cutting off equipment, enabling them to swim ashore.

"Later he was himself drowned when he reentered the surf and swam out in an attempt to save another struggling soldier. By his actions, Sgt. Drullinger saved the lives of several of his comrades."

Mr. and Mrs. Drullinger, sons Rex and Jim, and daughter Mrs. Louise Page, attended the impressive ceremonies at Fitzsimons hospital and are deeply appreciative of the honors bestowed upon their son and brother.

Ray, who was past 26 years old at the time of his death, was the second man from Washington county to volunteer for service. He volunteered in October of 1940, but was not enlisted until January of 1941. He was the first Washington county boy killed in action.


Thursday August 12, 1948 The Otis Independent

Services were conducted Sunday at Cope by the VFW organization for Sergeant Ray H. Drullinger who was killed in action in the invasion of Sicily on Saturday, July 10, 1943. He was 26 years, 5 months and 15 days of age at the time of his death.

His body was returned to Cope for burial.


Thursday August 19, 1948 The Akron News-Reporter

The body of Sgt. Ray H. Drullinger, son of Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Drullinger, who met a tragic death in the line of duty at Scoglitto, Sicily, arrived in Flagler by train Saturday afternoon, August 7. The last rites were held Sunday afternoon at a graveside service at the Cope Cemetery.

Sergeant Ray H. Drullinger was born January 25, 1917, at Achilles, Kansas. In the spring of 1928 he came to Cope, Colorado, with his parents. Here he attended and graduated from the Cope High School with the class of
1934.

At the age of 17 he joined the United States Navy, taking his training at San Diego, California. While here he accepted Christ as his savior, was baptized and united with the Methodist Church. He was honorably discharged from the navy at the end of a year. He returned to Cope where he spent the years immediately following, farming and ranching.

In the fall of 1940, Ray volunteered for service in the United States Army. He was the second Washington County man to enlist for such service. He was not inducted, however, until January 16, 1941. His first year of training was at Camp Barkley, Texas, with Co. F. 157th Infantry, the 45th Division. Later he, with his division, made up largely of men from the Colorado National Guard, was in training at Fort Devens, Mass., for about 1 ½ years. They then spent three months at Camp Pickett, Virginia, from where they embarked for overseas duty the first of June.

He was killed in action in the invasion of Sicily on Saturday, July 10, 1943. He was 26 years, 5 months and 15 'days old at the time of his death.

His parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Drullinger, one sister, Mrs. Louise Page, two brothers, Rex and James, two nephews, one niece, and a host of other relatives and friends mourn his passing.


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