John. J. Koceniak was a member of the 12th Armored Division, 56th Armored Infantry Battalion, Co. C. He was assigned as a Medic. According to his friend, Fred Sheehan, he was killed or mortally wounded--one source says he died of his wounds--between January 8 and 12, 1945, in the Battle of Herrlisheim. Fred remembers John as a well built, blond Polish boy. "He was a very neat, sophisticated highly moral good person."
Otis Shull placed a notice in the Hellcat News re: John J. Koceniak. Fred Sheehan of Company C of the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion (12th Armored Division) answered. He was a friend of John's. Fred says that he first met John when both were in the ASTP program for six weeks at Oklahoma A & M in Stillwater. They were then sent to Texas A & M. Eventually the ASTP program was disbanded and the men were sent overseas as replacements in combat divisions. John and Fred were both assigned to C company of the 56th. John was a medic for Company C. (The ASTP stands for ARMY SPECIALIZED TRAINING PROGRAM). Fred says that John was killed during the Battle of Herrlisheim, a town not far from Strassburg. This was a desperate battle with many casualties, and John was among them. Fred also said that he and John and two or three other men were friends and palled around together while in the ASTP. He also said that John intended to become a medical doctor after the war.