Camp Fannin Roll of Honor

The continued work of Elmer Horne

Fannin Veterans who died in uniform during World War II
All gave some, but some gave all.

ROLL OF HONOR

 

Sims thru Speese

SIMS, Ralph D., Jr., PFC, 18169673. a) Hazen, Arkansas. b) Fall 1943, D/66/14. c) 18 Nov. 44, approaches to Metz, France. d) 2/5 e) Stanton: On 12 Nov. 1944, the 5th Infantry Division returned to the assault [on Metz] and was counterattacked at once as it entered the bridgehead of the 6th Armd. Div. Over the next few days, the 2nd Inf. took Ancerville. f) Lorraine American Cemetery, St. Avold, France, Plot C, Row 28, Grave 59. g) Mrs. Kim Groff, 6414 Shoreline Drive, Little Elm, Texas 75068, phone (972) 294-8160, e-mail <kgroff@sbcglobal,net>.

Mrs. Groff is author of The Fitzgerald House, which memorializes the home at 815 South Broadway Avenue in Tyler where Mrs. Lois Whiteman welcomed so many Fannin service men during the war. Mrs. Groff discovered letters to Mrs. Whiteman from many whom she had befriended including Ralph D. Sims, Jr. Many of his letters appear in her book, including a final one dated 12 Nov. 44, saying "It’s cold here, and those big feet of mine just can’t seem to stay warm. Otherwise, I’m fine." Additional information provided in July 2009 by Shane Olson of Halma, Minnesota. h) Excerpts from his obituary in the Hazen paper: "Ralph was a graduate of Hazen High School and president and valedictorian of the class of 1940. He graduated from Arkansas State Teachers College with a BS in chemistry, was president of the student council and of his freshman class and was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.

SMITH, George A., Pvt., 36486831. a) Midland, Michigan. c) June 23, 1945, near Aparri, Luzon, Philippines. d) 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment or 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, both of the 11th Airborne Division. e) From a communication from Randy Brandt, husband of Bonnie J. Hollis, niece of George A. Smith: “Family recollections of what they were told of his last parachute jump most closely resemble the 511th and 457th drop near Aparri, northern Luzon , as part of the Gypsy Task Force on or about June 23, 1945. Poor weather conditions resulted in more than 70 casualties including two dead. Based on what I know now, one of those two probably was Pvt. George A. Smith.” f) Midland, Michigan. g) Randolph D. Brandt, <Brandt.randolph@gmail.com> , (262) 681-9361. h) From letter cited above: “George Smith’s service and death remain an important part of family memory and traditions. My wife’s father Thomas J. Smith flew an American flag in his yard every day in honor of his brother up until his own death in 1999 and we’ve continued the practice to this day.” Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.

SMITH, Jack. a) Dallas, Texas. b) July-Nov 43, B/63/13. c) Leyte, Philippine Islands, Oct or Nov 44. d) A/718 Amph Tractor Bn., attached to 77th Inf Div. e) Made the initial assault on Leyte, killed by enemy fire while on patrol. The 718th Amphibian Tractor Battalion took part in the raids deep behind Japanese lines on Leyte in late 1944 and early 1945. g) William J. Reilly, 93 Park Ave., Unit 1504, Danbury, Connecticut 06810, friend from Camp Fannin who served in the same unit overseas. Additional information provided by Shane Olson, Halma, Minnesota. h) Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.

SMITH, Rufus, Pvt., 36882849. a) Michigan. b) October 1943-? c) 11 September 1944, vicinity Aachen, Germany. d) 18th Inf. Regt., 1st Inf. Div. e) Stanton: The 1st Inf. Div. crossed the Meuse River at Liege, Belgium 9 September 1944, reached the German border, and laid siege to the fortress-city of Aachen. f) Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Belgium, Plot E, Row 15, Grave 28. g) Great- greatniece, at jenntatro@cox.net. h) Silver Star Medal (left), Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.

SNOOK, Ivan J., Pfc, 37678681. a) Newton, Iowa. b) A/67/14, finished training February 1944. c) 3 April 1945, Luzon. d) 158 (Bushmasters)/Separate. e) Stanton: Attached to 11th Airborne Division 3-24 March 1945, began offensive to open Balayan and Batangas Bays on 5 March 1945, and after heavy combat, cleared the Calumpan Peninsula by 16 March 1945; attached to the XIV Corps 25 March, assaulted Legaspi area of Bicol Peninsula, Luzon 1 April 1945 and battled for ridge near Daraga 1-9 April 1945. g) Robert G. Myers, 917 South 2nd Ave. W, Newton, Iowa 50208, who trained in the same battalion at Fannin.

SPAGNA, Dominick B. f) American Military Cemetery, Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. g) Terry Hirsch, Indianapolis, Indiana. h) Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge. Posted 3 February 2016. More infonnation to come.

SPEESE, Andrew Jackson III, Private, 38544452, date ofbirth 8/10/12. a) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. b) 27 October 1943-March 1944, D/68/14. c) 6 July 1944, Beaucoudray (Le Plessis-Lastelle), Normandy, France. d) Co. K/3rd Bn/357th Inf. Regt/90th Inf. Div. e) Andrew Jackson Speese III joined his unit on June 14, 1944; subsequent action is described thus: Stanwn: The division halted in die Golleville-Urville area 17 June at/er heavy combat and wok up defensive positions. Advancing in heavy rain, the division attacked 3 July south down the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and fought the battle of La Haye-du-Puits-Mont Castre Forest 6-10 July.

Andrew Jackson Speese III his life was a part of the formidable "battle of the hedgerows" in the earliest days following D-Day. He died of a penetrating head wound and traumatic amputation of an arm caused by artillery shell fragments. f) First buried at "!es Forges", Blosville, France, then at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Plot F, Row 21, Grave 36. g) His son, Andrew Jackson Speese, Jr., 1105 Lunaanela St, Kailua, Honolulu County, Hawaii 96734. h) Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge. He was functioning as platoon sergeant at the time of his death. There is a statue of Andrew Jackson Speese III in Periers, France as part of a memorial to the 90th Infantry Division. h) Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge.