Hamilton County


Kenneth Karlyle Kail





Stratford Youth Cites for Gallantry in Submarine Service.

Stratford, Iowa, March 28—Kenneth Karlyle Kail, son of J. W. Kail, of Stratford, has been cited for gallantry in action and has received the distinguished service medal.

Kenneth is in active service with a submarine crew somewhere in the Orient. There are 71 members in his crew and several of his companions also received the citation and medal.

Kenneth said in his message home that the crew is spending two weeks in Honolulu, and told his father in a letter that he is sending his medal home. Newsreel pictures were made when the medals were awarded, “Watch for the pictures at the theater,” said Kenneth, who enlisted in the submarine service last summer.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - March 28, 1942



Father Pleased But Not Surprised at U.S. Navy Announcement.

Stratford, Iowa—Jim Kail, Stratford tavern operator, was thrilled Saturday but not surprised that his son, Kenneth, seaman first class in the United States Navy, was being hailed as one of the heroes who helped bring a vast amount of gold and securities out of the Philippines to prevent its capture by the Japanese.

Karl already had heard something of the exploit of the submarine crew of which Kenneth was a member. He also had received the medal and citation Kenneth won.

Announced Award

Kenneth and another Iowan, Jack Craig of Sioux City, and 62 other men and six officers, were presented with army silver stars on March 20 for performing “an unusual and hazardous missions” but it was not until Friday that the navy disclosed the nature of the mission, undertaken in February.

In Washington, D. C., it was announced that so secretly was the operation carried out that although the submarine spent the night of Feb. 3 unloading ammunition and loading gold and silver at Corregidor, the day of Feb. 4 hiding off shore and a few minutes that night taking aboard securities, the enemy never found out what was going on.

Credit was given to High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre’s staff for having collected so large a share of the Philippine’s tangible wealth and moving it across embattled Manila bay to Corregidor under the immediate direction of Woodbury Willoughby, Sayre’s financial adviser.

Worked Hard

The submarine, the navy announced was commanded by Lieut. Com. Frank W. Fenno, jr., of Westminister, Mass. Fenno was presented with an army Distinguished Service Cross at the same time his officers and men received their silver stars.

The navy in Washington said that from the day the war started, Willoughby and his staff of Americans and Filipinos worked virtually day and night to collect the metals, currency and securities belonging to the Philippines commonwealth and to banks, mines and individuals.

As fast as shipments were collected, Willoughby and his crew took them to Corregidor in whatever boats were available. Paper currency, which can be reissued in this country, was listed by number and then burned.


On the night of Feb. 3 the submarine, skirting Japanese shore batteries around the Cavite naval base, arrived at Corregidor. Its cargo of anti-aircraft ammunition was unloaded and then ton after ton of gold and silver was placed aboard.

At 4 a.m., the sub put out about three miles and submerged.

“When darkness fell again, a little auxiliary vessel sailed from Corregidor out into Manila bay with a load of securities to meet the submarine which, after “minutes that seemed like hours,” arrived.

The sub carried her cargo to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where it was transferred to a cruiser which took it to San Francisco, Cal.

Source: Daily Freeman Journal, Webster City, IA - May 16, 1942

Kenneth Karlyle Kail was born Aug. 11, 1920 to James W. and Clara Mae Johnson Kail. He died Oct. 12, 1985 in El Dorado, CA.

Signalman Kail is listed in the World War II Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Casualties, 1941-1945 as being wounded in action.

Source: ancestry.com