I found your wonderful tribute to Private Melvin W. Johnson while searching for information on the 79th Division. My grandmother's cousin Harry R. James also served in the 79th. Thank you so much for making this tribute to Private Johnson - I wish there could be one for everyone who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of liberty and justice.
Private Joseph C. Felice
My father pvt. Joseph C. Felice was in this unit. I also have all his pictures and relics. Also the Unit map that I think was done by a Sgt. I also am trying to find out as much history of the unit as I can. Thanks Joe
Edward M. Bassett, Jr.
My father (Edward M. Bassett, Jr.) was in K Company, 3rd Battalion, 314th Infantry Regiment of the 79th Infantry Division. He was a replacement who joined his unit after the rest in Luneville (November, 1944) and fought in the Vosges and Alsace, Haguenau and the Race to the Rhine. He later was with the Ninth Army in the Push to the Roer River and the crossing of the Rhine (March, 1945).
Fort du Roule
This website is very moving for me. I'm 29, I was born in Cherbourg where the 79th was. Since 2008, I am working in the museum of Liberation which takes place inside the Fort du Roule! Thanks to your site I discover photos that i've never seen before.
Charles Edward Lilienkamp
My Brother, Charles Edward Lilienkamp fought in WWII in France. He was with the 79th Division, 315 Regiment that fought at PARROY Forest. He was wounded on Sep. 29, 1944 and died from those wounds on Sep. 30.
China in World War Two
Greetings! I was very surprised (even shocked) when I read your article on China in World War II. No other English sources (in books in or on the web) can even come close to the accuracy in your article and more importantly, the grasp of the complicated situations in China's war against Japan. May I know more about your background and how you have put together the article? I am from Taiwan, The Republic of China. I am an engineer working in New Hampshire and also a professor of mechanical engineering. My father participated in the Sino-Japanese War throughout the eight-year conflict. My brother and I published a book, "The everlasting glory: history of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1931-1945)" in 1999. (The the book is in Chinese language only.) My highest tribute to you for telling the history honestly and with a grasp of the big picture no other historians can match. Best regards, Sincerely, Chi-Yang Cheng
79th Infantry Band
Wow! My Dad, Maynard Sell, was in the 79th Inf Band. I wish I could have shared these photos with him. My family went to Normany Beach & Utah last year. It was quite moving. Cherbourg certainly looks different today than it did during WWII. Thanks for posting these great photographs. I only had some of his personal Army photos of his band iin Germany.
1st Lt. Cleveland Pinnix
Thanks for keeping up this website. My father, 1st Lt. Cleveland Pinnix, served in the 314th Regiment, & was KIA 7/12/44 in the fighting near La Haye du Puits.
I Hear His Voice...
Your site is deeply touching. My dad served in World War II, and I hear his voice while reading many of the letters. Thank you.
Keep the Memory Alive!
Thank you brothers for keeping the memory of my dad's 79th Infantry Division alive. May their story never die!
Amazing & Remarkable!
Hi I had recently came across a bag of WW2 letters that my grandfather wrote to my grandmother 1942 & 1943. They were passed on to me almost 20 years ago from my grandma and I had never taken the time till recently to read through some of them. there are many! and it was amazing and remarkable, i cried! I want to preserve these and some of the memoralbillia my grandma kept from that time. do you have any suggestions? Blessings, Angelina
Great Uncle, Paul H. Thomas
I was searching for information about the 315th infantry regiment, 79th infantry division. My great Uncle, Paul H. Thomas, served in this division. He was killed Nov. 17th, 1944. I've been looking for information related to his death. My family members related to my Uncle have passed on, and there was very little discussion about my Uncle, too painful to discuss I guess. I found this site interesting, and informative. Thanks, Helen Cramer
Collection of Maps
Thank you for providing such a large collection of maps. They are essential when reading about the 2nd. World War. The whole site is an excellent memorial to your grandfather.
Remembering my Dad
My father was with Co. K, anti-tank co. 313th 79 div. He was a bazooka operator, with his loader and 4 anti-tank destroyers and each had a bazooka operator and loader. They where in Seltz on the 12 of DEC. clearing the path to the river. Under heavy fire my father received a fatal neck wound and his loader was wounded. Through AWON, I talked to dad's S/Sgt who was there. Dad was the oldest in the co. He was 2 weeks shy of 38 years old. He had 3 young children. The telegram was delivered on Dec. 26, 1944, at 1:30 pm.
Stanley Levin, MIA
I never knew there was a memorial for my Great Uncle, Stanley Levin, MIA, then presumed dead in WW2, this was good information by finding this website. We still don't know what happened to him, but hoping for answers some day.
Did You Serve With Him?
Hi All, I was going through my Dad's World War II paperwork, I'm wondering if there is anyone out there who served with him. He was in the European Theater, Company I of the 314th Infantry, 79th Division. He served from May 1943 til June 1946.
I'm Trying to Find My Dad
I really appreciate people taking time to share. I`m trying to find my dad. All I know is that he was in a tank and fought in France, Holland and I believe made it to somewhere in Germany. Haven`t found him but thanks to all who share their info.
The Credit He Would Never Accept
Just wanted to thank you for your site. My father was with the 79th, the Cross of Lorraine Division. He did make it home, but spent 9 months in a mental hospital when he returned. He lost all his buddies. Although he recieved 2 Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, he never talked about it. He died in 1977. I just wish I had a chance to give him the credit he would never accept. My Father gave alot, your grandfather gave all. God Bless the men and women of WW2 for stopping Hitler. Where would we be today had they not? God Bless!!!
Joe Koukol 79th Infantry Division
Grandson of Joe Koukol 79th Infantry Division WWII Thank you for all your work!
...a new perspective
Dear owner of the website, First of all, I've to excuse myself for my bad english :) I really think its a kind of enrichment for a lot of persons, including me, that you put these pretty interesting letters in the internet. I'm only fifteen but I'm very Interested in hisory, especially in ww2, and your page helped me a lot to see the whole time from a new perspective. Greetings :) a reader.
2nd Lt. James H. Hattox
I have been trying to put together a biography of my father, 2 LT. James H. Hattox, who served as a replacement Platoon Leader in Co. C. He joined the company in Luneville and was sent to the front lines on November 14, 1944. He was severely wounded the first night by "tree-burst" artillery rounds, and almost bled to death before being evacuated. I now know that he was at "point 7A" on your maps. Your site has provided many details about which I have been curious. Thank you...
Thank you for the site. I was so quickly able to look up the photos of my Grandfather's medal from WWII which my Uncle and his children have possession of. Was great to see them. Sincerely, respectfully Lisa
I stumbled across your site a while back, and you were kind enough to link to my website on Little Joe Noyes. Your site is so very well designed, informative, and thoroughly interesting! I wish you all the best.
Did He Know?
My father was killed in action on or about Nov 17th 1944. I would to find out were and how, and what kind of battle it was. He was in the 79th infantry, and I think he joined them in aug.1944. His full name was Doyle Franklin Martin. He was from Pineville, KY. Mother's name was Grace Martin, wife's name was Garnette (James) Martin. I was born Oct. 5th 1944 in Pineville KY. I do not know if he got the information that he had a son.
One of its Kind
Great site, thanks!
I use it regularly, one of its kind. I hope you keep up this good work and find and add even more detail.
The Human Side
This site really does show the human side of the second world war. I will be recommending it to my friends.
Pfc. Harry Rempfer, H Co., 314th Infantry Regiment
Sir, as an active Army Officer and veteran of Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, thank you for this site - excellent work and dedication. My Great Uncle, Pfc. Harry Rempfer, was in H Company, 314th Inf Rgt as a Heavy Mortar Gunner; wounded on 4 January 1945 in France, captured on 7 January and spent the rest of the War in a German Stalag. Thank you to your Grandfather and all of the men and women who have served!
A Complete Man
First of all, allow me to express my compliments for this website. Highly informative and touching, and above all, well conceived and intuitive.
Now to the harder part.
Luckily, I was born and raised in a peaceful Country, but my family too has suffered losses by the Nazi Regime, so it is that by reading the words of your grandfather, I can empathize with you. He was indeed a man, a complete man. He did what he deemed necessary to do and with his ultimate sacrifice did contribute to transform, even if just for a moment, this world into a better one.
I am a scholar of WWII, not truly a historian, but getting there and I am writing a Book about the Battle of the Bulge (its origins and its consequences), taken from both points of view. It is called "The Battle of the Lost" and it describes the miserable lives of common soldiers on both sides of the fence. It will also describe the motivations that drove both sides to such definitive decisions. My aim is to explain the folly of war, but from an objective point of view. After all, men in those days were pushed to serve in their respective Armies. They had no saying in this.
This is why I find your site and your pages so very important. We need to keep the memory alive. These men merit to be spoken of. I can only hope that some day we will finally become so mature and wise as not to be forced to move to Wars of this sort again. After all millions have paid dearly with their lives exactly in the hope that something like WWII would never repeat itself.
It is very touching and honorable that you should celebrate your grandfather's memory in this way and one can tell the love and admiration that prevails within your family.
Thank you for this.
A most remarkable gathering of WWII history
Periodically I review the 104th guest book and came across your entry. I took Basic as a machine gunner at Camp Wolters, Texas; ASTP at Fordham University; joined the 104th at Camp Carson and made it through the battles in Europe; finally to San Luis Obispo in preparation for deployment to the Pacific which never took place.
I am both curious and interested how the WW2 letters of Melvin Johnson came to light. I note you list a Seattle address, my birth and former home-town when I attended the U of W. Are you related to Melvin Johnson? Are you responsible for the web page? How did it all come about?
I was startled when I came across the photos of Camp Wolters. Many memories are etched into the mind of a then young and now this old infantry soldier but the photo “Hell’s Bottom” was something else.
A most remarkable gathering of WWII history.
Individual Acts of Courage and Compassion
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time and effort to put this site together, in honor of the memories and stories of true American heroes. I'm a college student with several military family members, and I recently watched "Band of Brothers" and "Saving Private Ryan" which really sparked my interest in the Greatest Generation. The countless individual acts of courage and compassion that I see in stories such as these never cease to inspire me. God bless all of our military heroes.
485th Bomb Group / 831st Squadron
Dear Mr. Ketchum,
My Dad, John S. Johnson, Jr was a B-24 pilot during WWII in the 485th Bomb Group/831st Squadron(H) flying from Venosa, Italy in 1944.www.485thbg.org
I wanted to thank you for this website. The 'Greatest Generation' needs to be honored!
I'll bookmark this site
Free French Second Armored Division, ("2e DB")
Dear Mr. Ketchum,
I would like to congratulate you on your site. I was looking for information on the 79th Inf Div on the web and came across the site. It is a wealth of information.
I am an American expat and I am working on a book on the Free French Second Armored Division, ("2e DB"). As it turns out the 79th Div was almost constantly on the flank of this French armored division (in the US army corps). I saw that your grandfather was wounded in or around Pettonville, Lorraine. I have been to that area for research. The "2e DB" was responsible for taking the important town of Badonviller which is just down the road a bit.
Anyway, I would be happy to talk to you about the area if you are interested. In addition, I was hoping that you could offer me a few leads for finding more information on the 79th Div. Since the two divisions worked side by side from August 1944 onward, I am hoping to find references to the 2e DB in 79th Div records. Any leads?
In any case, congratulations for your site and thank you for all the great primary source material you offer. Oh, and one last comment. My father was in the 26th Div and he too was wounded during the bloody Lorraine campaign. Nov 13, 1944 near Morhange, farther north.
Collecting letters and experiences
Hello. My name is Joey and I really like your site alot. I have started to collect ww2 letters by chance and have been researching to get them back to the familes to whom they belong. I was not aware on Ebay, antique shops and auctions people buy them, or lose them or sell them, I bought a bunch at a fleamarket. In my quest to return the letters I did happen to locate some famliy who was totally shocked and we have been talking about getting them to the wife of one of the servicemen who wrote them! It has become a hobby of mine now and wanted to see if you ever have spots to write about this, I'm a writer so I was thinking of trying to contact sites like yours that would be into what I'm doing an maybe if I need some help could give me some. I'm not asking for anything in return for the letters I do locate to the familes but a written expereince from them on this process, thats all I want in return.
I have poured over letters and in a way becomes a insider to the men and woman who wrote them, it's the story with no end as you become so involved and to find a happy ending via family is such a experience I cant even being to explain. I'd like to chat more.
What a beautiful website!
What a beautiful website! Thank you for honouring the heroes and making sure the memory keeps alive. We have adopted soldiers on the American War Cemeteries of Margraten, Henri-Chapelle and Ardennes, we have made a tribute for them, you can take a view at: www.theyfoughtforfreedom.nl. Thank You again and keep up the good work! Dennis and Gerda
David, here is what I was able to find after a short search. Perhaps other readers can provide additional information.
S/SGT Robert M. Johnson. Born: 18 Feb 1921. Enlisted: 21 June 1942 at Camp Blanding, FL. Served with the 79th Infantry Division, 314th Infantry Regiment, "L" Company (same as my grandfather).
On 13 June 1944 the 79th shipped out from Southampton enroute to the vicinity of Carentan. Upon disembarkation, the 314th marched up Utah Beach, and headed towards Cherbourg. They assembled at Blosville, 10-12 miles from the beachhead, near St. Mere Eglise on 15 June. On 19 June, orders committed the 314th to its first combat in an area near Binneville, France. Prior to Robert's death, the 314th participated in battles in France which included the Utah Beach area, the assault on and capture of Fort du Roule on 25 June 1944, the capture of Cherbourg on 26 June 1944, fighting against units of the Waffen SS for and capture of La Haye du Puits on 7 July. On 9 July he was involved in the Battle for Hill 84 and was killed in this battle on 10 July.
On 8 July, the 1st Bn secured La Haye du Puits. To the south, 3rd BN was taking a beating from the SS in its attempt to secure a position noted as "Hill 84" and the 28th had no progress moving in for support. 2nd BN was called up to assist. By 9 July, F Co. had only one officer, and 94 enlisted men left. Between 8 and 9 July, F Co. lost 14 men, 34 wounded - almost half the Company. The 315th established contact with 314th's 3rd BN, and 2nd's remnants pulled back to the assembly area. 3rd BN moved forward to hold the slope of the hill area, and 1st BN - relieved by a unit of the 8th Division, turned over disposition La Haye du Puits, and moved north to regroup.
Objective orders for 10 July were to take the ground about 1000 yards southeast of "Hill 84." The G2 reported that the "Der Fuehrer" Panzergrenadier Regiment of the "Das Reich" SS Panzer Division (the best Hitler had in the west) awaited them. The "Der Fuehrer" was very ruthless. They had just massacred the adult population of the villages of Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane. 3rd BN led off the Regiment in columns. By nightfall, 3rd reached the objective. The 314th Regiment was the only unit on the Corps front line to do so. 1st BN moved to 3rd's rear and held the forward slopes of "Hill 84." 11 July, 1st BN led off the southwestward push to the next objective, 1200 yards beyond the 10 July line. C/Co met a pocket of resistance that kept it held up for most of the day, and both sides exacted heavy losses.
Possible location of Hill 84 on Google Maps: 49°16'37", W 001°34'10"
M. Ketchum, ketch(at)privateletters.net
Looking for information
Trying to find information abt. Robert M Johnson, 34207614, KIA on 10 July 44. Exploring writing a book about men from Madison Fla who lost their lives in WW2. David Wilson, damabrca(at)aol.com
PFC Robert Sharp
Thank you so much for posting this all for free online! Your site has helped me find a great deal of information for my dad, who was only a few years old when his father, PFC Robert Sharp, 79th D., 314th, 3rd BN, Co. K, 2nd Platoon, of Pittsburgh PA, was killed in action around January 26th, 1945 outside Haguenau (he arrived in Luneville with replacements in late October 1944. He enlisted, he was not drafted. He was born outside Glasgow, Scotland, UK and came to PA as a child with his parents. He chose to fight not just for America, but also for his birthplace of Scotland, the UK, and all of Europe.)
I am making a booklet for my father about the 314th and Co. K, as much as i can find, and I'm linking to several pages on your site - I can't thank you enough! We finally got my father to Epinal to see the grave this summer, and if you know anyone who needs help to arrange a trip for that reason, i know excellent, kind, wonderful people in Epinal who will help them, and also a great, cheap hotel in Paris.
My father was shocked by their kindness in Epinal - so to Philippe and Louis of Luneville, France: THANK you also, you touch my heart! It is such a comfort to orphans like my father to know that these men did not die in vain, and you remember them still!
Patricia L. Sharp, Granddaughter
What a Ham!
Last week I met a radio ham 87 year of age on a short wave radio amateur band. When I told him where I lived (Goirle - The Netherlands) he told me that he had flewn over my country lots of times in WW2 as a nose gunner in a B-24 Liberator airplane. Well, I'm born in 1953, but I can't express the feeling I got.... lots of gratitude. This guy deserves a medal! He flew 49 missions. I'm talking about George M Bekech and he lives on Arden Rd, Trumbell CT.
Twan - PA0KV - Netherlands
Australian Imperial Forces, North Africa
Hi, this is just brilliant, I'm starting the same journey for my father who served in the Australian Imperial Forces in North Africa, Greece and Crete and then re-enlisted as a commando to fight in New Guinea. The story of my father won't end up in as grand a presentation as your family's but is something to aspire too. I will probably access your map page and will reference your site. The story I write will only be for my extended family. Once again, well done.
Kind Regards Gerard
Henry "Bud" Deutsch
I am looking for anyone who knew my grandfather, Henry "Bud" Deutsch. I have some stories, and he attended as many reunions as possible. This is a wonderful site, hopefully I can contribute to it!