Hehman, Thomas Louis (P2, C2, L26)
Thomas Louis Hehman, 27 of Fort Thomas, Campbell County, Kentucky, enlisted as a private in Troop F of the 123rd Cavalry of the Kentucky National Guard in January 1938. He was promoted to Private First Class in February 1939 and promoted to Corporal in November of that same year. His unit transitioned to Battery C of the 103rd Coast Artillery Battalion (AA) in January 1941. He was inducted into federal active duty in February 1941 with his unit.
While on active duty, Hehman was promoted to First Lieutenant. Hehman, 27, was killed in action on 22 September 1944 while serving with the Coast Artillery near Villa il Fango, Italy. He was believed to have been serving in the 435th Coast Artillery as part of the 5th Army. At the time of his death the 5th Army was part of Operation Olive a major allied offensive against the Gothic Line. This was the last major defensive line in northern Italy and ran from the coast north of Pisa, to the coast, just south of Rimini.
Hehman was born July 8, 1917. He was a graduate of Saint Xavier High School and he attended one year of college at Hiram College in Ohio. He listed his civilian occupation on his military documents as a steelworker and later a salesman before he went on active duty. He was a salesman at Kingham Trailer Sales Company in Cincinnati where his father also worked.
Hehman’s body was returned home for burial from a temporary allied cemetery in Italy to Newport in January 1949. He was laid to rest in the St. Joseph Cemetery on Entright Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Other casualties of the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion (Automatic Weapons) (Mobile) during World War II were: MAJ Mortimer M. Benton; CPL Opal E. Cornn; PVT Buster Criswell; 1LT Hal T. Hackney; T/5 Richard A. Heidkamp; 1LT Jeff Johnson, Jr.; PFC Kenneth Walsh and T/5 Owen W. Whitaker.
The reorganization of the United States Army shortly before World War converted Kentucky's 123rd Cavalry on November 1, 1940, as the 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion and the 106th Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion.
The 103rd Coast Artillery (Antiaircraft) Separate Battalion the battalion began training at Fort Sheridan, Lake County, Illinois on March 4, 1942. On April 30, the 103rd left New York, arriving in Northern Ireland on May 15. The unit was transferred to North Africa, arriving December 8. On July 2, 1943, the 103rd left North Africa and went to Sicily. The battalion participated in the Operation HUSKY, the Sicily Campaign from July 9 to August 17, 1943. Departing Sicily on November 17, the 103rd arrived in Scotland on December 9 1943. On September 29 1944, it was stationed at Belgium, remaining there until October 22. From October 1944 to April 28, 1945, the 103rd was in Germany. Between April 28 and May 6, the 103rd was in Czechoslovakia. The 103rd arrived at New York November 30. On December 1, 1945, the 103rd Antiaircraft Artillery Amphibious Automatic Weapons Battalion (Mobile) was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. Redesignated May 13, 1946 as the 441st Field Artillery Battalion, Kentucky National Guard with Headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky. Currently the lineage and honors of the 103rd is carried by the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery , with Headquarters at Lexington.