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Robert Bender

 

Date and Place of Birth: 1918 South Ozone Park, Queens, NY
Date and Place of Death:    April 26, 1945 nr. Elbe River, Germany
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Unknown
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: Company E, 2nd Battalion, 406th Infantry Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division US Army
Area Served: European Theater of Operations

Robert E. Bender was born in South Ozone Park in Queens, New York in 1918. An outstanding athlete, he attended John Adams High School where he played baseball and football.

Following graduation, Bender worked for the Jamaica Water Supply and continued to play baseball with the Jamaica Water Bombers, champions of the Queens Alliance three consecutive years. The Queens Alliance was an amateur baseball league of teams primarily from Queens with a few teams from Brooklyn and some from Nassau County. Professional baseball scouts thought highly of the Queens Alliance as it was a fertile ground for young prospects. It was considered to be the best amateur baseball league in the United States. The Queens Alliance was formed in 1927 by local businessman Hank Hasel (Hasel ran the league, along with the Queens-Nassau League, until his death in 1961). At its peak in 1941, there were 68 teams playing in the Queens Alliance, often drawing crowds of several thousand at places like Sherwood Oval, Dunton Oval and Farmers Oval. Many Queens Alliance players graduated to play professional baseball. Phil Rizzuto, Marius Russo, Sid Gordon and Mickey Harris all played in the Queens Alliance.

In February 1942, Bender entered military service. After four months of basic training he was stationed in Iceland for 18 months, then assigned to Company E, Second Battalion, 406th Infantry Regiment of the 102nd Infantry Division in Europe. As the Division advanced across the Roer River and into Germany, Private First Class Bender was wounded on February 25, 1945. He spent three weeks in hospital before returning to the front line.

On April 26, 1945, near the Elbe River in Germany, Robert Bender was killed in action. He was 27 years old and is buried at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neupre, Belgium.

Sources:
Long Island Star-Journal - July 31, 1940
Long Island Star-Journal - August 10, 1940
Long Island Star-Journal - June 5, 1941
Long Island Daily Press - May 19, 1945
Corning Leader - January 25, 1946
Long Island Star-Journal - September 15, 1961
Times Newsweekly- May 15, 2003

Date Added: April 28, 2013

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