On Nov. 12, 1903, the S.S. Pennsylvania sailed into New York harbor, completing a two-week journey from Hamburg.
Among the passengers arriving in the United States that day were the Havlat family, from Ronov nad Doubravou in Bohemia. Ten Havlats in all are shown on the manifest, including 23-year-old Anton Havlat Jr., whose father and namesake was the patriarch of the group.
They told immigration officials they were headed to Nebraska, where they had family near Omaha, and so began an American saga that would see one of their own killed in his ancestral homeland in the final minutes of a cataclysm that touched all of Europe.
This is the story of Pfc. Charley Havlat, the Nebraska-born son of immigrants who became the last American combat casualty in Europe during World War II on the soil his parents had left decades earlier. Continue reading