Burkett, Lawrence, Pvt

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Private
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
745-Rifleman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1944-1944, 745, 90th Infantry Division
Service Years
1944 - 1944

Private


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

8 kb

Home State
North Carolina
North Carolina
Year of Birth
1919
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Robert Briggs (squadleader)-Deceased to remember Burkett, Lawrence, Pvt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Jefferson

Casualty Date
Dec 11, 1944
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Location
Germany
Conflict
World War II
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Rifle

 
 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1944, Basic Training (Camp Butner, NC), E/11
 Unit Assignments
1st Battalion, 357th Regiment (Infantry) 90th Infantry Division90th Infantry Division
  1944-1944, 745, 1st Battalion, 357th Regiment (Infantry) 90th Infantry Division/A Company
  1944-1944, 745, 90th Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1941-1945 World War II
  1944-1944 Northern France Campaign (1944)/Battle of Arracourt
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division


 In early December 1944, Burkett was a member of Company A, 357th Infantry Regiment, 90th Infantry Division. The 90th ID had been assigned the task of breaching the southern portion of the enemy's “West Wall” near the German city of Saarbrücken. The 357th was occupying a bridgehead in the Dillingen Forest near the Saar River when the Germans launched a strong counterattack. The 357th suffered many casualties and on Dec. 11, Burkett was among those listed as missing in action.

Pvt. Lawrence Burkett, of A Company, of the 357th Regiment of the 90th Infantry Division of the 3rd Army

Now they were attempting to push their way into Germany, through some of the most strongly defended territory on the western European continent.

Burkett and his fellow soldiers had endured nearly a week of fierce fighting as American forces positioned themselves to cross the Saar River, a vital link in the West Wall that flowed along the French/German border.

“During the December battle on the Saar the 90th Division had captured 1,298 prisoners and inflicted heavy losses on the enemy,” Cole wrote. “But the 90th Division also had suffered severely, particularly among its veteran officers and men, and had lost 239 killed, 924 wounded, approximately 440 missing, as well as over a thousand officers and men evacuated as sick, battle-exhaustion, or battle-injury cases, the whole totaling more than one-third of its strength on 1 December.”

Then 90th Infantry got a hard assignment: breaching Germany's defenses near the city of Saarbrucken just over the border from France. His unit had pushed across the frigid Saar River and was defending a bridge near the town of Dillingen when the Germans attacked on Dec. 10, trying to force the Americans back over the river toward France. The next day, a fellow soldier saw Burkett get hit, but the fighting was so fierce the man couldn't get to him. Later he did, and said that the body was cold.

By then, Burkett's regiment had lost so many men that fewer than half could fight. The battle was so intense, though, that there was no time to recover the body, and the U.S. soldiers had to move out of the area.


   
Comments/Citation
Awards; Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, EAME, WW II Victory Medals.

Burkett left home as a draftee in April of 1944. At 28, a carpenter by trade, he’d married his sweetheart, Dora Marsh. The two had begun a family beginning with two daughters, Gladys first, and Cathy three years later. By August 1944, his son, Bill, would be born.

Lawrence would have five days with his newborn son before shipping off to Europe in September of 1944.

The Burketts have lived for generations in the mountains along the far northwestern corner of the state. Lawrence Burkett's father, Dave, was a justice of the peace, a county jailer and a farmer. Lawrence grew up to become a carpenter

He loved fishing the mountain streams and ponds, and hunting for raccoons, deer and bear. He was famous throughout the county for his singing voice. On Sundays, his bass was the foundation of the choir at Friendship Baptist Church, soaring through gospels such as "I'll Fly Away."




MOS 745
SN RA34967843
   
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