Bert Sechrist was born February 11, 1922 in Crown Hill, Kanawha County, West Virginia to Bert Secrhrist and Amy Canterberry. Bert grew up with two sisters, Audrey and Ollie.
Bert enlisted in the United States Army and was shipped overseas to the Pacific to serve in the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he served as a private fist-class with the 31st Infantry Regiment. Service in the Philippines was not easy, and Bert was not there very long before the Japanese attacked the islands on December 8, 1941. Bert helped to defend the islands against the Japanese with courage and valor, but he was captured as a prisoner of war when the islands fell to the invading forces, and the troops were forced to surrender to the enemy.
Bert was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Arisan Maru, Bert lost his life on October 24, 1944 when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an Allied submarine in the South China Sea. His death was received by the War Department on June 16, 1945.
For his conspicuous and brave service to his country, Bert was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with oak leaf clusters. His body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Bert Sechrist's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Bert's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.
Hellships of World War II
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History