World War II
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor many were called to arms. A total of 27 members of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department went off to war including, Fire Chief Frank Briguglio, who led by example and voluntarily signed up for the Navy. It was this type of leadership that characterized Chief Briguglio. Chief Briguglio served as Chief of the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department from 1939 through 1941 and again from 1945 through 1950. Chief Briguglio served as Fire Chief for Prince George's County from 1975 to 1978. During World War II, members served in all theatres of the war.

» View: Away for Victory Booklet - Published by the Town of Capitol Heights in 1944
» World War II Veterans: Army | Navy | Coast Guard
Ensign Michael Henry Korn
Staff Sergeant Hersal B. Cralle
U.S. Army - Killed in Action on May 8, 1944
Staff Sergeant Hersal B. Cralle was killed in action on May 8, 1944. Staff Sergeant Cralle was assigned to 339th Bomber Squadron, 96th Bomber Group (Heavy). He was the Ball Turret Operator on a B-17 bomber named "Ain't Misbehavin". His squadron was on a bombing mission to take out targets inside Germany, when the plane was hit by enemy fire over Lindhorst, Germany, about 200 miles west of Berlin. According to the lone survivor of the crew, who was able to parachute out in time, the plane blew up in mid air. Staff Sergeant Cralle is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium. Staff Sergeant Cralle was awarded the Purple Heart, Air medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and numerous other Army awards.

A special thanks to Justin Alliss for providing a photo of Hersal's grave in Belgium and the scan of the Atlantic Crossing Short Snorter.


Short Snorter
(Atlantic Crossing)

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Ensign Michael Henry Korn
Ensign Michael Henry Korn
U.S. Naval Reserve - Killed in Action on January 27, 1944
Ensign Michael Henry Korn was killed during a routine training flight on January 27, 1944. Ensign Korn was the pilot of the plane that crashed near Jacksonville, Florida. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


Arlington National Cemetery
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Private First Class Julius M. Vajda
Private First Class Julius M. Vajda
U.S. Army - Killed in Action January 14, 1945
Private First Class Julius M. Vajda served with the 30th Infantry Division, 119th Infantry Regiment in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. After landing in Normandy on July 10, 1944, his unit was active in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe. He received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

The 30th Infantry Division spearheaded the St Lo breakthrough and was the first unit of the Allied troops to enter Belgium and Holland. In July 1944 they were involved in one of the war's most memorable actions, the St. Lo breakthrough in France. Although the 29th Infantry Division is credited with the victory at St. Lo, it has been noted that without the 30th Infantry Division's assistance it would have taken much longer, and at a greater loss of life. Julius received the Bronze Star for meritorious conduct on July 29, 1944.

"While his company was engaging the enemy, Private Vajda was given the mission of taking valuable information and establishing contact with the second platoon of his unit. While enroute to his objective, he was subjected to the intense enemy fire and forced to seek cover in a nearby fox hole. Upon reaching the fox hole he found it was already occupied by a German soldier, but through his alertness and initiative he took the enemy soldier prisoner. As soon as the enemy fire had subsided, through hampered with the custody of the enemy prisoner, he continued on to successfully complete his assigned task." (Click Here to See a Copy of the Original Citation)
Julius came from family that served others; his sister Rose was an Army nurse and sister Margaret was a WAVE. The Vajda family paid a heavy price during World War II, losing two children within a year. Margaret, who served as a Pharmacist Mate in the Navy, was killed when her plane crashed at Olathe Naval Air Station in Kansas on February 26, 1944. Less than a year later Julius was killed in Belgium around the time of the battle of St. Vith at the Battle of the Bulge on January 14, 1945. He was buried at the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium but his remains were later returned to the United States to be re-buried with honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

A special thanks to Samantha Anderson (Julius' niece) and the Vajda family for providing additional information about Julius' life.


Rose, Julius, and Margaret
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Henri-Chapelle Cemetery
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Henri-Chapelle Cemetery
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Henri-Chapelle Cemetery
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Arlington National Cemetery
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Sergeant Ernest Moreland
Sergeant Ernest Moreland
U.S. Army 106th Infantry Division - POW, Battle of the Bulge
Sergeant Ernest Moreland served with the 106th Infantry Division which saw plenty of action in Europe. Sergeant Moreland and over 6,000 of his fellow infantrymen where captured in a fierce battle at Ardennes. The battle became known as the Battle of the Bulge. Sergeant Moreland was held for several months at Stalag 9B in Bad Orb, Germany, just outside Frankfurt until their liberation by allied forces. According to historical documents, Stalag 9B was noted for its brutal treatment of prisoners. Ernest Moreland joined the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department in 1936. He served as the President of this fire company from 1957 through 1962 and is recognized as the Treasurer Emeritus after serving as the company's treasurer for more than 25 years. Engine 52 is dedicated to Ernest Moreland for his faithful service to this department. To the best of our knowledge, Ernie (age 94) is our last remaining World War II veteran member.
Louise 'Alice' Long
Louise 'Alice' Long
Evelyn Mockabee
Evelyn Mockabee
Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary
The deployment of so many volunteer firefighters during the war had a tremendous impact on our ability to maintain fire protection. The Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, the first organized fire department ladies auxiliary in the United States, was called upon to help fill that gap. They were trained to drive the fire apparatus and fight fires. These courageous ladies were not afraid to take on these duties. Louise "Alice" Long, who died in 2007 at the age of 101, and Evelyn Mockabee, who died in October 2009 at the age of 86, were the last remaining survivors of this outstanding group of ladies. The Capitol Heights Fire Volunteer Department and the community will forever be in their debt.
U.S. Army
Grafton Boswell
Grafton Boswell
Malcolm Bowling
Malcolm Bowling
John Day
John Day
Sol Kans
Sol Kans
Henry Messineo
Henry Messineo
Paul Mockabee
Paul Mockabee
Benjamin Mullitz
Benjamin Mullitz
John Simmons
John Simmons
Roland Thompson
Roland Thompson
Melvin Tyler
Melvin Tyler
U.S. Army
Earl Burdette, Sr.
Lewis Crosby
John Nairn
*Killed in Action
U.S. Navy
Frank Briguglio
Frank Briguglio
Harvey Ennis
Harvey Ennis
Otto Fankhouser
Otto Fankhauser
Robert Fowler
Robert Fowler
Howard Harrison
Howard Harrison
Charles Humes
Charles Humes
Alfred Laughery
Alfred Laughery
Francis McCormick
Francis McCormick
*Killed in Action
U.S. Coast Guard
George Dowe
George Dowe
Robert Rudasill
Herdon "Bobbie" Rudasill