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Otterbein World War II Vet Fought in South Pacific

by Published On: Sep 10, 2012

Currently, Charles Sidener is a resident of Otterbein Cridersville Senior Lifestyle Community. Before that, he worked for 40 years at the Standard Oil Lima Refinery and Vistron Chemicals and was a farmer most of his life. But more notably, before that, he was a corporal in the U.S. army during World War II, serving in the South Pacific.

Recently, his accomplishments during the war were recognized in an article in the Lima News. In the article, Sidener recounts a few of his many memories from the war, including images of the crabs that came out on the beaches at night, wherever there were dead bodies.

He recalls the death of one of his fellow soldiers after a friendly fire incident, and the memory of another soldier who survived World War I before going on to serve in the second world war. "He made it through two wars. I figured I can make it through one,” says Sidener.

Sidener was an assistant squad leader in the 321st Infantry anti-tank company of the 81st Division , put in charge of a 10-man unit, specializing in going ashore with 37 mm and 57 mm guns used to destroy pillboxes and tanks. His infantry unit fought bravely during the Battles of Peleliu and Angaur, both islands in Palau, about 600 miles east of the Philippines, during the fall of 1944.

“They called Peleliu the battle that should never have been fought,” Sidener said. Historical accounts questioned the value of Palau to either the Japanese or American war strategy. The 1st Marines suffered nearly 6,500 casualties in Peleliu and Angaur. The Army’s 81st Division suffered nearly 3,000 casualties during the two month long battle.

A 1940 graduate of Shawnee High School, Sidener is an Ohio native who joined the Army on Nov. 12, 1942, five months after marrying his high school sweetheart, Alice Schlegel. He outlives her, joined by two sons and two daughters. Sidener’s family recently celebrated his 90th birthday with an open house at a local high school.


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