David Charles Dolby was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania on May 14, 1946. He entered the United States Army at age 18, and fifty years ago today on May 21, 1966, he was a Specialist 4 in Company B, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) fighting in Vietnam.
Charles Patrick Murray, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland on September 26, 1921. He moved with his family to Wilmington, North Carolina as a toddler, and was in his third year of studies at the University of North Carolina when he was drafted into the United States Army on September 7, 1942. He was commissioned as an officer, and arrived in France as a replacement platoon leader in Company C, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division during October of 1944.
By November 23, 1944, Silk had earned an officer’s commission, and was a First Lieutenant in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 398th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division, locked in combat against Nazi Germany near St. Pravel, France. Lieutenant Silk, in command of his company’s weapons platoon, single handedly assaulted a house occupied by enemy troops that was blocking his soldiers’ advance. His courage was recognized with the Medal of Honor in November 1945.
George Lafayette Mabry, Jr. was born on September 14, 1917 in Sumter, South Carolina. He graduated from Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC) in 1940, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army via ROTC. Mabry, as Captain in the 8th Infantry Regiment, landed with the 4th Infantry Division on D-Day at Utah Beach. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor during the invasion.
Seventy years ago today – May 28, 1945 – during the Battle of Okinawa, then-Staff Sergeant Eugene J. Bigda of Company B, 1st Battalion, 106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, United States Army single handedly fought both the Japanese and deplorable weather conditions while single-handedly destroying an enemy machine gun post. He was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Ruben Rivers was born in Tecumseh, Oklahoma during 1921. His family was large (he had 11 siblings!) and with his parents, they lived on and worked a family farm in Hotulka, Oklahoma. He joined the United States Army with two of his brothers to serve his country during World War II, and became the only one of the three who would serve in a combat unit in the then-segregated Army.
Emile Deleau, Jr. was born on June 28, 1923 in Lansing, Ohio. He was living in Blaine, Ohio when he was drafted into the United States Army on September 1, 1943. By the winter of 1944-5, he had reached the rank of Sergeant and was a rifle squad leader in Company A, 1st Battalion, 142nd Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.
Charles L. McGaha was born in Cosby, Tennessee on February 26, 1914. He tried to enlist in the United States Navy in October 1937 but was turned away because the recruiter he visited had already met his quotas. The United States Army did want him, and he was posted as a member of the 35th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaiian Division.
Leonard Alfred Funk, Jr. was born on August 27, 1916 in Braddock, Pennsylvania. He was living in nearby Wilkinsburg, PA when he was drafted for service in the United States Army at age 24 on June 7, 1941, prior to the United States’ entry into World War II. Funk volunteered for service in the fledgling airborne force, and earned his paratrooper’s wings.
Audie Leon Murphy was born on June 20, 1925 in Kingston, Texas. He was the seventh of twelve children in a family abandoned by their father during his childhood. Murphy left school after the fifth grade and was orphaned with the death of his mother in 1941.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, he attempted to enlist in the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, but was rejected by all three as being both under age and underweight.
In June of 1942, with the help of an older sister who falsified his age by one year, he enlisted in the United States Army at age 17. At the time, the Army recorded him as just 5 feet, 5 1/2 inches tall and 112 pounds.
Might comes in small packages, so it was later shown.