A terse telegram from the commandant of the United States Marine Corps at Arlington, Va., received last night, revealed the fact that Cpl. Louis [Frank] Verchek, 25, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Verchek, of 411 Chartiers Street, Strabane, was the first local youth reported killed in action in the war.
He was killed [January 10, 1943] in a land engagement on the Solomon Islands, the communique said, defending the Marine post there against the attack of the Japanese.
While several district youths were killed during training in camps in the United States and another was lost at sea, Cpl. Verchek was the first reported to be killed in action against the enemy.
Prior to his enlistment in the Marines, Cpl. Verchek, known locally as “Bobby,” was a well-known athlete and participated in local and district sports for many years. A football star, “Bobby” was better known as the softball star for the strong KSKJ unit which ruled local softball circles for many years. On or off the playing field, he was one of the most popular youths of Strabane with his circle of friends embracing both the young and old.
He enlisted in the United States Marines Oct. 23, 1940, and received his basic training at Parris Island, S.C. Later he was attached to the Marine Corps with quarters at Quantico, Va., and served in New York for four months before going overseas. He left California in June of 1942 for overseas duty.
Surviving Cpl. Verchek are his parents, two sisters, Mrs. Johnny Flowers and Mrs. August Podboy, both of 411 Chartiers Street, and two brothers, both of whom are in service at the present. They are, Pfc. Joseph Verchek, Jr., of Danville, Ill., of the U.S. Army, and Pvt. Walter Verchek, of the Marines, stationed at New River, S.C.
Cpl. Verchek’s last letter home was received here on January 7, a V-Letter Christmas card, the family said.
Interment was held on Solomon Islands, the family was informed by the commandant.