Koskimaki, George Emil.

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Koskimaki, George Emil, born 21-08-1922 in Ishpeming, Michigan, to Emil Koskimaki and his wife Olga, born Virta, Koskimaki, spent his early years in Baraga County. A graduate of L’Anse High School, he furthered his education by receiving a bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University and a master’s degree from Wayne State University. George was married with Eva, Ohman. Halfway through his bachelor’s program at Northern, George enlisted in the United States Army, joining the 101st Airborne Division, known as the “Screaming Eagles”. George was assigned to the Signal Company of the 101st Airborne Division and became a radio operator. George jumped into Normandy on June 6, 1944, During World War II, Operation Overlord was the code name for the large-scale landing by the Western Allies on the Normandy coast of German-occupied Western Europe. Operation Overlord began on the evening and night of Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 June 1944 with the largest amphibious landing in history. ‘Overlord’ was the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe. In Eastern Europe, the Germans were already losing to the Soviet Union and Rome had been captured by the Allies two days earlier.

The casulties of the “Screaming Eagles during their Eurpian campaigne: Casualties (Tentative) Killed 2,043, Wounded ,976, Missing in action 1,193, Captured336 and Battle Casualties 11,548.

Part of his wartime experience as combat radioman for the division commander, Major General Maxwell Davenport Taylor, helped make his books, D-Day  “Hells Highway” and “Battle of the Bulge possible. He went on to become a preeminent historian of the 101st Airborne Division, having interviewed hundreds of fellow veterans for their firsthand accounts. He currently lives in Northville, Michigan. After World War Two he returned to college where he played fullback for the NMU Wildcats for two more seasons and earned his B.S. degree in biology and physical education. He also holds a masters’ degree in education from Wayne State University.

Upon his return from the war, George finished  married Eva, Ohman, became the father of his only daughter and moved his family to the Detroit area. George was hired as a biology and eventually an ecology teacher, a basketball coach and an athletic director at Roseville High School. He continued to teach and coach there for more than thirty years. To the end of his days, he was in close communication with many of his former students.In his spare time, George served in numerous capacities at his church, was a founder of the Finnish Center Association (FCA) and completed an enormous amount of research to be used in writing his books. When he retired from teaching, George continued to be active in the FCA, spoke about his experiences in WWII at local high schools, wrote a column known as “ K’s Korner” in the 101st Screaming Eagle Newsletter, and played an active role in the 101st’ monthly Lunch Bunch meetings. He led several tours in Europe related to the events described in his three books. Throughout the years, George built a cottage and sauna in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and he and his family spent a good portion of every summer there. George loved fishing for brook trout and introduced his daughter and grandchildren to that sport. Making wood was his idea of fun. He was a virtuoso blueberry picker, dubbed as the “blueberry man” by Bishop Skrenes at a blueberry social.

 Left to right they are Bobby Hunter (D/501), Duane Harvey (Medic A/501), George Koskimaki (Radioman to General Taylor and Super Eagle!), and Ed Hallo (A/501).  An interesting note is that although they served in the same company, Hallo and Harvey never meat until after the war.  Seems Mr. Harvey came in as a replacement at Bastogne, and the two never met until a postwar 501 reunion – where they became good friends, and attended several subsequent 501 reunions together.

Georhge in 2011.

Death and burial ground of Koskimaki , George Emil.

 

George Emil Koskimaki sailed peacefully into eternity on 06-02-2016, age 93, at the home of his beloved grand daughter, Emily Kaare. George is buried at Glen Eden Memorial Park, Livonia, Wayne County, Michigan,

 

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