Fitzgerald, David Lewis, S/Sgt

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Staff Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
745-Rifleman
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1946-1946, 745, 1st Battalion, 383rd Regiment (CS/CSS)/HHC
Service Years
1944 - 1946

Staff Sergeant



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home Country
United States
United States
Year of Birth
1919
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Stephen Eastham (LtCol USMCR Ret.)-Family to remember Fitzgerald, David Lewis ("Louie"), S/Sgt.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
San Pedro, CA
Last Address
Lomita, CA

Date of Passing
Not Specified
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Longshoreman, So. California. Lived in Lomita, CA.

From his official Enlisted Record and Report of Separation, Honorable Discharge (WD AGO Form 53-55) - same as the DD-214 today - I have determined that my grandfather was injured by enemy fire and earned the Purple Heart at one of the following locations on 29 Apr 1945 during some of the fiercest fighting on Okinawa: Cactus Ridge, Tombstone Ridge, Nishibaru Ridge, or Maeda Escarpment.


   
Other Comments:

 

"The 96th Infantry Division known as the "Deadeyes" Division was activated into military service on August 15, 1942 at Camp Adair, Oregon with the divisions organic combat elements, the 381st, 382nd, and 383rd Infantry Regiments; 361st, 362nd, 363rd, and 921st Field Artillery Battalions; and the 321st Engineer Battalion.

Major General James (Smiling Jim) L. Bradley was chosen to command the unit, a post he held until the end of the war. At the change of command ceremony, he made clear the mission of the 96th. "We of the 96th Division have a clearly defined task. It is to become a well-trained combat division in the shortest possible time. We must keep our eyes; we must keep our thoughts on that goal. Any time spent on efforts which do not lead to the goal is time wasted - and we have no time to waste." "This is the kind of a division we are going to be: well trained, tough physically and mentally, ready and eager to fight, not for our personal glory, but for the honor of the division and the service of our country." As to the nature of the job that lay ahead and the alternatives that faced his men, he spoke with typical bluntness, "We kill or get killed." And with what the future was to bring the 96th, these words were to ring all too true.

The 96th Infantry Division trained in Hawaiian Islands, July to September 1944, before entering combat in an assault landing in Leyte Gulf, Philippine Islands, between Tanauan and Dulag, 20 October 1944. Enemy resistance in the beachhead area was quickly broken and the Division had advanced to and secured the Tanauan-Dagami-Tabontabon sector by 9 November after heavy fighting. The Division continued to wipe out resistance on the island, engaging in small unit actions, patrolling, probing, and wiping out pockets of Japanese. Chalk Ridge was taken, 12 December 1944, and major organized resistance was at an end by Christmas Day. The next 3 months were spent in mopping up, security duty, training, and loading for the coming invasion of Okinawa. The Division left the Philippines, 27 March 1945, for Okinawa, making an assault landing on the island, 1 April 1945. The landing was unopposed and a beachhead was established near Sunabe, 1-3 April. Resistance stiffened considerably as the Division advanced to gakazu Ridge, where fighting was fierce, 7-16 April. The 96th assaulted and cracked the fanatically defended enemy defense line, TanabaruNishibaru, 17-23 April, and after advancing slightly against extremely determined resistance, was relieved, 30 April, by the 77th Infantry Division. The Division trained and rested, 1-9 May, while elements mopped up bypassed enemy pockets and then returned to the offensive, 10 May, attacking and capturing Conical-Sugar Hill Ridge, 21 May, thus breaking the right flank of the Shuri defenses. Heavy rains the following week slowed down the advance. The offensive was resumed, 30 May, against weakening enemy resistance; Japanese north of Yonabaru-Shuri-Naha Road area were cleared out. Resistance stiffened again, 3 June, and Laura Hill was taken, 14 June 1945, only after a bloody fight; the last important Japanese defense position, the Yuza-Dake, Yaeju-Dake Hill mass, was secured by 17 June, and on 22 June all resistance was declared at an end.

The Division patrolled an area from Chan to Ogusuku until 30 June. After resting in July, the Division left Okinawa for Mindoro, in the Philippines, and engaged in a training program. The Division left the Philippines, 17 January 1946, for the United States, arriving on 2 February 1946. The 96th "Deadeyes" Division was then deactivated 3 February 1946, and began its  Army Reserve mission on December 18, 1946, at Fort Missoula, Montana.

Note: Insignia patch is a white diamond and a blue diamond which overlap, both superimposed on a hexagonal patch with khaki background. Brigadier General Claudius M. Easley, a man with an established reputation as an Army rifle coach and sharpshooter, was eventually named Asst. Division Commander. And the training of the division became his mission. The superior marksmanship of the 96th developed under the supervision of General Easley earned for the unit the nickname of "deadeyes", which the 96th still carries to this day. The men of the division speak reverently and with respect 55 years later about General Easley. The day before the official end of the campaign. Brigadier General Easley was killed in action."

Source:  www.usarc.army.mil/96thrsc/History/Command/96th%20Division%20history%20details.htm

 

   
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Combat Infantryman 1st Award

 
 Unit Assignments
XXIV Corps96th Infantry DivisionU.S. Army1st Battalion, 383rd Regiment (CS/CSS)
  1944-1945, XXIV Corps
  1945-1945, 96th Infantry Division
  1945-1945, 188th Field Artillery Battalion/HHB
  1945-1945, 921st Field Artillery Battalion/HHB
  1946-1946, 745, 1st Battalion, 383rd Regiment (CS/CSS)/HHC
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1943 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-43)/Battle of Guadalcanal6
  1945-1945 Ryukyus Campaign (1945)/Battle of Okinawa
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