Koller Canine Brandon

Navy Badge
  • Name: Koller "K. C." Canine Brandon
  • Location of Birth: Balsam Township, Itasca County, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: December 4, 1918
  • Date of Death: KIA - October 14, 1942
  • Parents: Herman Brandon & Clara Florence (Koller) Brandon
  • High School and Class: Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, MN - Class of 1937 (with honors)
  • College: 1938 Itasca Junior College, Coleraine, Minnesota
    1941 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Cum Laude
  • Highest Rank: CAPT (Captain)
  • Branch: Navy
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: March 31, 1941
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge:
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:
    Purple Heart

  • Military Highlights:
    WW II Draft Registration Cards – 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947
    State: Minnesota
    Name: Koller Canine Brandon
    Race: White
    Age: 22
    Birth Date: December 4, 1918
    Birth Place: Bovey, Minnesota, USA
    Residence Place: Bovey, Minnesota, USA
    Registration Date: 1940
    Employer: Self
    Weight: 140
    Height: 5-8
    Complexion: Light
    Eye Color: Brown
    Hair Color: Brown
    Next of Kin: Herman Thurman Brandon, father, Bovey, Itasca, Minnesota

    Newspaper article - Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota – 20 May 1942 – The following letter was received by Jeanne Brandon from K. C. Brandon. “Dear Jeanne: So glad that you wrote to me, but I do wish that you had known more gossip. You’re the only one of the kids up there that I’ve heard from, so I do appreciate it greatly. Tell them all to drop me a line once in a while and I shall be glad to reciprocate. No one is supposed to know where my squadron is located. We’re still undergoing training, trying to bring our squadron up to full strength, so we may stay here for a year. However, there’s nothing certain about it, we may leave next week for all we know. All our equipment, planes and landing fields are very temporary in character, so we’ll be able to move in a moment’s notice. We all live in tents (yes, I said tents) and have no modern facilities at all, just as it will be when we get over to where they’re playing for keeps. I share a tent with Danny Doyle, a lad from Marshall, Minn., who went through Corpus Christi with me. We’ve built shelves and hangars and have tried to make it as “homey” as possible, although I don’t believe a tent will ever seem much like a “home” to me. I checked out in an F4F-4 Grumman “Wildcat” last Saturday and have been getting at least two hours every day since then. We go out and chase tails, hedgehop, brush up on our acrobatics, finding out just what the plane is capable of doing. This is by far the fastest plane I’ve flown, cruises about 250 miles an hour, and I managed to get up close to 500 miles an hour in a dive today. We’ll get lots of carrier drill, gunnery, dive-bombing and strafing from now on, and from the reports we hear from across the way, we’ll need to be plenty hot if we plan on being among those present when this thing is over with. We have liberty every other night and usually go into town and take a bath, if nothing else. San Diego is absolutely jammed with soldiers, sailors and marines, so it’s rather difficult to locate any constructive entertainment. The climate is quite cool and comfortable here, today being our first really hot day. It gets mighty chilly at night and I nearly froze to death before I bought a sleeping bag. This isn’t Minnesota, but I’m getting to like it better all the time. It certainly should be a healthy life, since I’m outdoors practically 24 hours a day. I went to Los Angeles a week ago Saturday and saw Betty Lou and Tom. They both seem so happy and look so well. I guess maybe it’s for the best after all. I’m going up there again this Saturday and shall try to see them. I’m planning on getting a new car, either this week end or two weeks from now. It facilitates operations considerably to have an auto. Say “hello” to everyone for me. Your loving cousin, K. C.”

    Newspaper article - Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota – 29 May 1942 – “Soldiers’ Gift Fund Club of Bovey: I wish to take this opportunity to express my belated thanks for the gifts you have sent me in the past. Many of us fellows in the service may not acknowledge the receipt of our gifts, but you can be certain that we all appreciate greatly your thinking of us. Minnesota will always be “home” to us – Second Lieutenant K. C. Brandon, VMF 121, MAG 12, FMAW, FMF, c/o Postmaster San Francisco, Calif.”

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:
    Newspaper article - Grand Rapids Herald-Review, Grand Rapids, Minnesota – 8 Nov 1942 – Lieut. Koller Brandon of the United States Marine Corps is “missing in action”, somewhere in the Pacific. A telegram was received his morning by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Herman Brandon, apprising them of the fact. No details were given, and it is possible that the young flyer was forced down on some small, remote island, and may yet make this way to safety.

    Newspaper article - Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota – Mar 1945 – During the past week Mr. and Mrs. Herman Brandon of Deer River, formerly residents of Balsam township, received a telegram from Lt. Col Vandergrift, U.S.M.C. advising them that an official declaration of presumptive death, as of Feb. 19, 1945, had been made in the case of their son, Lt. Koller Brandon, who had been carried on their records as missing in action since Oct. 14, 1942. The Brandon case is a strange one. Lt. Brandon, who was a graduate of Itasca Junior College in Coleraine, and known to many people throughout Itasca County, was a pilot, and disappeared with his plane on Oct. 14, 1942, almost two and a half years ago. Judging from the message to his parents early this week, hope of finding him - perhaps a prisoner – or of some indication as to what happened to his plane, was never given up until now; and even now, his death is declared “presumptive”. He had been a pilot since February 19, 1942.

  • Civilian Life:
    Koller Brandon is memorialized at the Manila American Cemetery, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines.

    Newspaper article: Itasca Iron News, Coleraine, Minnesota - December 17, 1942 - LT. KOLLER BRANDON AND PLANE; STORY IN LIFE, DEC. 7. Danny Doyle, Buddy of "K. C." on Guadalcanal, Writes His Parents. "Mr. and Mrs. Herman Brandon of Deer River, whose son First Lieut. Koller Brandon, gave his life for his country a few weeks ago, according to a letter from the War Department, was found dead among the ruins of his plane in the locale of the Guadalcanal battle; five days after his accident. The story of the heroism of his particular group, Squadron 223, of which he was the pilot, is told in Life Magazine under the date of Dec. 7, under the title "Fighting Squadron 223." Danny Doyle, a boy from Marshall, Minn., who was stationed at Guadalcanal, has written the Herman Brandons of some of the things which happened there. The Iron News is privileged to publish an excerpt from that letter: "K. C." was the nickname which all Koller's friends used when they spoke to or of him, even while he was in Itasca Junior College in Coleraine; and only a few months ago Bruce King, his classmate, in his first service in Texas, wrote The Iron News, among other things, "Imagine meeting old "K. C." here! And what a talkfest we had!" Danny Marshall writes: "Yesterday the natives brought in definite word that they had found K. C.'s body. He was shot down about a week ago and I thought he would get back okay. He was a very close friend of mine and those goonies (Japs) are going to pay for this, if it is the last thing I do. I have official credit for 5 zeros shot down; and now I will double that score for K. C." What the boys endured is told in Life Magazine; but the fighting the following week was worse. Men describe it as "Hell's Week." Several of Lieut. Brandon's buddies were in "223" at that time. Three of them, Pond, Frazier and Bailey, have written the Brandons. Frazier was one of the 9 men left out of 21. His letter tells that First Lieut. Koller Brandon arrived at Guadalcanal on Oct. 10 and left two days later, the 12th, on the flight from which he did not return."

    Newspaper article: Bovey Press, Bovey, Minnesota - February 12, 1943 - "Bovey Service Men's Club: I hope you are continuing your good work of presenting each man in service with a diary. I want to tell you about one of the diaries you mailed out a year ago to our son, Koller. It went to Guadalcanal and came back to us without its author, but in the hands of his buddy, Lt. Stut of Minneapolis, who was sent home for treatment. He was in Koller's flying squadron, and brought back this diary written in the "hell-holes of Guadalcanal". He entered each day's activities in his precise handwriting, and it is apparent it was intended for a last letter to all of us in the event "he did not answer the roll call some morning in the Pacific". It is a precious document that we will hand down from generation to generation. It is a book of history, drama, comedy, and his "In Memorium" to his buddies who passed on before him are masterpieces in their simplicity and brevity. The log of his journey from the States to each southern island is fascinating. Reports come to them or casualties from the battlefields, of deaths of comrades - some mental cases - others wounded - but they continue on, eager to reach their destination and do their bit. It is inspiring, and you read page after page, breathlessly reading Oct. 12th, you turn the page - and there is no more. The book is not ended - there are many empty pages - but ------Sincerely, Mrs. H. T. Brandon."

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):