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Lewis Clark Taynton, Colonel, United States Army (Retired), a resident of the Washington, D.C. area during the 1960'S, passed away in Bradenton, Florida, on December 27, 2002.
Born in Port Jervis, New York, on September 17, 1917, Colonel Taynton had a distinguished 27-year career with the Army. He was a highly decorated combat veteran of World War II. Awards received during his career include: three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, and the Legion of Merit. During the war, Colonel Taynton served with the 70th Tank Battalion, earning eight campaign stars including the invasion of North Africa, invasion of Sicily, invasion of Normandy, engagements in Northern France and the Ardennes.
The battalion sailed with the 1st Infantry Division on 9 January 1942 for the French island of Martinique in the West Indies because it "was probably the only tank battalion combat ready for this amphibious operation". In February 1942 Company C was detached and sent for garrison duty in Iceland, with a new Company C being formed in May. Company A was detached later in the year, and landed in North Africa as part of Operation Torch, attached to the 39th Regimental Combat Team.
The battalion landed in Sicily as part of Operation Husky in July 1943, and was withdrawn to England in November, where it re-equipped as a standard battalion with M4 Shermans. The former Company C (now designated as Company D) rejoined the battalion, giving it four tank companies.
The battalion suffered some casualties when during Exercise Tiger on an early morning of 28 April 1944, German E-boats that had left Cherbourg on patrol spotted a convoy of 8 LSTs carrying vehicles and combat engineers of the 1st Engineer Special Brigade in Lyme Bay and attacked.
On D-Day it landed on Utah Beach as part of the 4th Infantry Division, supporting the 8th Infantry Regiment led by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.; companies A and B used amphibious DD Sherman tanks. It fought in the northward drive to Cherbourg, and in the breakout from St.-Lo, through France and into Belgium, entering Germany on September 13th. It fought in the Hurtgen Forest in November, and moved to the Ardennes in December, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. On March 29th 1945 it crossed the Rhine, and moved quickly through Germany, crossing the Danube on April 25th and ending the war near the Austrian border.
The battalion performed occupation duties until mid-1946, when it was deactivated; shortly thereafter, it was reactivated as a training unit at Fort Knox. In 1949, it was redesignated the 70th Heavy Tank Battalion and reduced to a three-company establishment.
Other assignments during his career included the Armored School (Fort Knox, Kentucky, Occupational Forces Command (Salzburg, Austria), Command and General Staff College (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas), Armed Forces Staff College (Norfolk, Virginia), Base Comptroller (Fort Ord, California, Military Advisor for Financial Management to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Pentagon) and Faculty Member and then Comandant of the Army Management School (Fort Belvoir, Virginia) where he retired in 1965.
He was an Associate Professorial Lecturer in business administration of the off-campus faculty of the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Survivors include: his wife of 62 years, Laura Craig Taynton; two sons, Lewis F. Taynton of Sudley Springs, Virginia, A. Craig Taynton of Martinsburg, West Virginia; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. His only daughter, Diane Carol Johnson died in 1984.