Summerfield, Hugh B., PFC

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Private First Class
Last Service Branch
Medical Corps
Last Primary MOS
657-Medical Aidman
Last MOS Group
Medical Department (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1945, 657, 31st Infantry Division
Service Years
1943 - 1945

Private First Class

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

120 kb

Home State
West Virginia
West Virginia
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Justin Davis to remember Summerfield, Hugh B., Pfc.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
May 06, 1945
Hostile, Died
Unknown, Not Reported
World War II
Location of Interment
Grafton National Cemetery - Grafton, West Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Honorably Discharged WW II

 Unofficial Badges 

Medical Shoulder Cord

 Military Association Memberships
World War II Fallen
  1945, World War II Fallen [Verified]

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Medical 1st Award

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Battalion, 124th Infantry 31st Infantry Division
  1943-1945, 657, HHC, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry
  1943-1945, 657, 31st Infantry Division
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1943-1944 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/New Guinea Campaign (1943-44)
  1943-1945 World War II
  1945-1945 WWII - Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Southern Philippines Campaign (1945)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Downloaded 9 January 2002
Later posted here:
1 September 2004

Currently posted here:
11 January 2008

                  The Last Full Measure

                    By Thomas Deas, MD


    This story was provided to the World War II Oral History web
site by Marion Hess, regimental historian of the 124th Regiment
of the 31st Infantry Division. She corresponded frequently with
Dr. Tom Deas until her death on 29 August 2001.


    Hugh Summerfield wasn't quite 19 years old. He was a blonde,
baby-faced lad of about five feet nine inches from West Virginia.
He stood erect in the formation of soldiers in the Company
street, 1st Battalion area. He was wearing his glasses at the
time and they looked out of place on him. I remember the words,
to some extent, for he was being awarded the Silver Star and the
Purple Heart. I can still hear the officer reading the citation:

    "General orders Number 00-APO 31-00 February 1945. By the
direction of the President, under the provision of the Act of
Congress, approved 9 July, 1918, a Silver Star is awarded by the
Commanding General, 31st Infantry Division, to the following
named Enlisted Man, Pfc. Hugh Summerfield (SN), Medical
Department of the United States Army. For gallantry in action on
the Driniumor River, near Aitape, British New Guinea." The date
escapes me, but it was in 1944.

    During this action Summerfield was severely wounded, and
without regard for his own safety had saved several of his
comrades before being evacuated to a hospital. Just as soon as
he was released from the Evac Hospital he finagled his way back
to his beloved 1st Battalion of the 124th Infantry Regiment. At
the time, we were on Morotai Island and were in the process of
staging for the invasion of the Philippines.

    We arrived at Cotabato, Mindanao, on 23 April and debarked
under peaceful conditions as the 24th Division had landed here a
couple of weeks before and headed due East to Davao on the East
coast. We were given the assignment to move by land and by boat
to Fort Pikit and Kabacan. We reached there about 27 April,
1945. Then we headed North up the Sayre Highway, a wide dirt
trail through fields of grass six to seven feet high and at times
through swamps where the road was just two planks about 18 inches
wide for wheels to ride on. Most of the bridges were blown. We
passed through dense wooded areas past grass and bamboo huts made
by those who lived there or the Japanese.

    One river was about four feet deep and 50 yards across. We
had to build a makeshift bridge to get our half-dozen jeeps
across. Our objective was the Kibawe Air Strip, where the road
took off east to Davao. As we passed it on May 6, we had been
fighting up the road for nearly 50 miles. There we met a large
force of well-dug-in enemy on each side of the road. We fought
tooth and toenail and lost many good men to death and wounds.

    The 1st Battalion was stopped and so was the 2nd Battalion on
the other side of the road. Many were wounded. The Japs would
let us advance so far and then come out of their holes and shoot
from behind. Their holes were not over two feet wide and were
five to seven feet deep with connecting tunnels. It was a devious

    The medics spent most of the day trying to get to the wounded
and bring them back, an almost miraculous task. Pfc. Hugh
Summerfield worked tirelessly and seemed to have a charmed life
as he brought back man after man till dark. Then he was sure
that another one of his comrades was alive and in a certain
place. Against all warning by his commanding officer,
Summerfield crawled back out to get his comrade. He didn't come
back that night and the next morning our troops advanced again.
They found Summerfield lying over a comrade. Both were dead.

    The letter to his mother that I wrote was almost as bad as
being wounded. I told of his heroism and dedication to his
comrades. I sent the Silver Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster and a
Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster, but that letter also
contained the love and admiration of the company of the 1st
battalion to which he was attached.

    Pfc. Hugh Summerfield, a man before he was old enough and a
Hero before all of his friends and comrades.


Dr. Thomas Deas was the Regimental Surgeon in command of the
124th Infantry Regiment Medical Detachment, of the 31st Infantry

Marion Hess died on 29 August 2001.
Thomas M. Deas, M.D. <>

Transcribed by Paul M. Webber on 9 January 2002
Home Page:

Pfc. Hugh B. Summerfield-Pfc. Hugh B. Summerfield, son of Mr. and Mrs. Vernice Summerfield of Erwin was killed on Minodoro Island, one of the Philippines on May 6, 1945.  He entered the service March 1943 and trained in the states until February 1944 when he was sent to New Guinea.  From there he was sent to North East Indies and then on to the Philippines.  A former student in Thomas and Davis schools, he graduated form Aurora High School in 1941 and was employed by the Glenn D. L. Martin Company of Baltimore until entering the Army.  At the time of his death, he was entitled to wear the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, and Bronze Star.  He is survived by his parents, and six sisters and one brother.

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