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PFC George R. Weiland - L Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, First Marine Division

KIA 10/4/44 - Peleliu, Palau Islands
This page is dedicated not only to PFC Weiland but to Randy VanDyken who found the canteen on Peleliu island and was kind enough to go through the trouble of finding our family and returning it to us. From the entire extended Weiland family we thank you Randy. Link to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on the canteen follows after the story and photos.

In late March of 2008 I received an email via this site from a gentleman saying that he had some information about my great uncle and that I should contact him as soon as possible. When I returned his email he gave me Randy VanDyken's phone number and told me to call him for the information. I called Randy the same afternoon that I got the email and after he confirmed that I was George Weiland's great-nephew he informed me that while touring the battlefields on Peleliu he had found George's canteen and he would like to return it to the family. I was almost speechless but managed to ask a few questions about where he found it and how he knew it was Georges. The name scrawled into the side seemed a pretty strong clue. Randy happened to pick this canteen up because it was one of the few that he saw that still had the cup and handle attached. He found it near some other canteens and he thought it may have been the site of a medical station where the wounded and killed were brought after the battle. When he got the canteen home and was cleaning it up he found the name "George R Weiland" crudely scratched into the side. Through this website he was able to find me and we made plans to meet in Milwaukee, George's home town, on April 4th so that he could present it to us. I was born 22 years to the day of when George was killed and my grandmother, George's sister, always thought that George and I had some connection because of that. As I said in the article, somewhere she is smiling and saying "I told you so."

We are forever endebted to Randy for returning the canteen to the family. Knowing that it was with George on the day he died and that it finally found it's way home after 63+ years is truly amazing and makes it the prize centerpiece of my WW2 collection.

George's canteen and a close up of his name scrawled into the side (click on photos for larger version)

Sand from the beach where George and his unit went ashore.
Click here to read an article by Jim Stingl of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about the canteen

Randy VanDyken presenting me with the canteen and looking at a map to see the exact location on the island where it was found.