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SHSND Home > North Dakota History > Unit 6: Hard Times and War, 1929-1945 > North Dakotans Go to War 1941 – 1945 > Andrew Leier

Unit 6: Set 4. North Dakotans Go to War 1941 – 1945 - In Memoriam: Andrew Leier

Introduction | William Fairbrother | Andrew Leier | Woodrow Wilson Keeble

Andrew Leier was killed in aerial combat over Germany on October 7, 1944. After his body was recovered and returned to the United States, he was buried at his home church, St. Boniface in Logan County. This video of his funeral is a loving tribute of Andy Leier’s family.

Andrew Leier was born on September 25, 1922 to Carl and Mary Leier. He was one of eight children who grew up on the Leier farm. He graduated from Napoleon High School in 1940. In 1942, he studied aviation in Wichita, Kansas and then went to San Francisco where he worked for Consolidated Aircraft. In the Fall of 1943, Andy enlisted in the Army Air Corps (the Air Force had not been established yet) and trained until July 1944 when he was given a furlough to visit his parents before being assigned to overseas duty. In August, 1944, he entered the European theatre as a ball turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber. He flew nine daylight missions and received an award for meritorious achievement in aerial combat. On October 7, 1944, just two months after arriving at his station in England, his plane crashed in Germany. Leier’s parents were notified that he was Missing in Action, until Germany notified the International Red Cross of the deaths of the crew of his plane and word was forwarded to the Leier family.

This beautiful film won’t tell you much about Leier’s service, but it will explain much about the honor he brought to his family and community. Note the size of the crowd at the service, the twenty-one gun salute, and that the soldiers who formed the honor guard showed their esteem for Leier by shoveling the dirt into his grave.

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