Marvin Miles Kasnick was born to Martha (Post) and Charles E. Kasnick on May 18, 1924, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was born in Germany. They lived in Park Ridge, Illinois, in 1930 and Marvin had two sisters.1At some point in his childhood his family moved to Davenport, Iowa. He graduated from Davenport High School.2
When he was 18 he joined the Army, enlisting at Camp Dodge, Iowa, on August 11, 1943.3 In January of 1944, Marvin arrived at Keesler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi, to begin his training as a pre-aviation cadet.4 In March of 1944, Marvin arrived at Texas A & M College for a course in army air force instruction.5 He later fought during World War II. He left to go overseas on September 11, 1944. He served with Company K, 379th Infantry, 95th Infantry Division, which was known as the “Ironmen of Metz.” The division was renowned for fighting back fierce German counter attacks to liberate and defend the town of Metz. During the war he fought on the Beaches of Normandy during D-Day.6
D-Day was on June 6, 1944, and was the largest land, air, and sea invasion in history during warfare. The Allies invaded beaches of France that the Nazis occupied during the war. These beaches were named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. All these beaches were in Normandy, which is a Northern region of France. During the invasion, the Allies used more than 5,000 ships and more than 150,000 landing crafts to help land troops onto the beaches. In order for this invasion to be a success, it required a lot of planning. In 1943, country officials met in Tehran, Iran, to plan the D-Day invasion. This conference is known as the Tehran Conference. Many other countries sent troops to help with D-Day. Throughout D-Day, troops from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Czech Republic, Netherlands, France, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, and Rhodesia all fought. It took international support and help.7
Marvin returned from overseas in July 1945. He earned a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters. A Bronze Star Medal is awarded for heroic achievements or service or for admirable service or achievements in a combat zone.8 The Purple Heart is awarded to military personnel who were wounded or killed as a result of enemy action.9 The Oak Leaf Clusters are awarded and worn on an already existing award. This means they have received more than one of a particular award.10 He was discharged January 27, 1946.11
Following the war, Marvin married Phyllis A. Jansen in Davenport, Iowa, on October 10, 1948. Phyllis and Marvin moved to Rockford, Illinois. Marvin worked as a salesman at Joseph Behr Paper. He later worked as a salesman at Chamber and Owens in Jacksonville, Wisconsin. Marvin and Phyllis had six children named Marvin, Charles, Anne, Mary, Susan, and Martha. They raised their children in Rockford. Marvin and Phyllis also had ten grandchildren.12
Marvin was a great storyteller, and his favorite memories to talk about was returning to France and when he visited the World War II monuments in Washington D.C. as a part of the Honor Flight.13 The Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that helps fund transportation for veterans to visit the memorials of the war they fought in.14 He also enjoyed watching the Indy 500 races and loved to spend the winter months in Perdido Key, Florida.15 He died at home on June 9, 2009.
9 DeSimone, Danielle. “8 Things You Need to Know About the Purple Heart Medal.”’ United Service Organizations. August 6, 2021.