Private Clinton Earl “C.E.” Mullenix was born 30 January 1923 in Richland Township, Iowa. Private Mullenix studied industrial chemicals at Iowa Wesleyan college and worked as a civilian inspector at the Iowa ordnance plant. Private Mullenix enjoyed sports and spent his free time doing the play by play announcing for all the sporting events at Iowa Wesleyan. Private Mullenix was drafted into the Army at Camp Dodge on 12 November 1942. Due to his ordnance background and college studies, Private Mullenix volunteered for Bomb Disposal training.
In early 1943 Private Mullenix graduated Army Bomb Disposal School and was assigned to the newly formed 10th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squad Separate at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland. The 10th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Squad (Separate) (OBDS) was organized 12 March 1943. Initially it was used to provide additional training to Bomb Disposal technicians and to provide training for personnel deploying. In August 1943 the 10th OBDS was deployed to England in order to prepare for the D-day Invasion.
In April 1943, Private Mullenix’s Squad began timbering and excavation work on the bombing range of Aberdeen Proving Ground. Many of the bombs and fuzes recovered were early test versions. During this time more classroom instruction was given as items were recovered. Private Mullenix wrote home often about his new profession and the detailed instruction he was receiving. On 15 May 1943, Private Mullenix’s Squad discovered an old bomb during their excavation training. After determining the bomb was filled with black powder Private Mullenix attempted to perform an improvised disposal procedure. The bomb subsequently detonated killing Private Mullenix and injuring two other members of the Squad.
PVT Mullenix’s death is the first known Army Bomb Disposal death durring WWII and the first death for the newly formed program. Killed 15 May 1943- age 21
Private Mullenix was initially survived by his wife of two months, Wilma Jaynes, mother Gretna H. Mullenix, father Earl E. Mullenix, sister Beverly J. Mullenix, and brother Charles C. Mullenix. Private Mullenix had no children. Today he is survived by his sister, Beverly J. Van Alst.
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