Last Known Activity|
Pfc. Robert C. Altizer, 1558779, Company D, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 4 October 1918.
Born on 10 March 1895, Pfc. Altizer enlisted in the West Virginia National Guard on 27 June 1915 from Bluefield, WV. He was promoted to Pfc. on 5 January 1917 and served overseas from 12 June 1918 to 12 December 1918. He was assigned to Company D, 7th Infantry Regiment on 8 July 1918. He participated in the Marne and Meuse-Argonne Campaigns before being wounded on 4 October 1918.
During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Pfc. Altizer's 3rd Infantry Division was assigned to V Corps. Their initial assignment was to capture the Romagne Heights, which was the central strongpoint of the main line of German defenses , the Kriemhilde Stellung. The 3rd Infantry Division relieved the U.S. 37th and 79th Infantry Divisions on the front lines on 1 October 1918. They encountered constant German shelling with poison gas clouds floating and drifting everywhere along the front. German aircraft controlled the air, strafing and directing artillery onto the Doughboys.
Pfc. Altizer and his comrades endured this until 4 October, when they advanced on the Romagne Heights, over two miles away. the 7th Infantry Regiment was on the left side of the advance and had to cross several rolling hills, cross a ravine and then climb the slopes of Hill 253, capture the German trenches at the top, cross a mile of open ground to reach the Mamelle Trench - the main German defenses on the Romagne Heights. All of this had to be accomplished under constant German shelling and machinegun fire. the 7th Infantry jumped off late and was immediately pounded by German artillery. U.S. artillery had fired smoke rounds to try to cover the advance of the Doughboys, but the smoke hung in separate "clouds," which the German gunners used as range markers to increase the deadly effect of their shells. The infantry quickly lost formation and took horrendous losses. By late afternoon, they had only advanced to the ravine below Hill 253, less then 1 mile ahead. The Doughboys waited until 4 PM before attempting to capture the hill, but were forced back into the ravine after a few minutes. It was during this day's action that Pfc. Altizer was wounded. While his records are unclear, he may not have received medical care for two full days. This, sadly, was common during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive because of the massive numbers of US casualties which overwhelmed the medical system.
He received his Purple Heart on 7 August 1936. He died on 9 December 1945 of heart failure at the age of 50 years old. He is buried at the Monte Vista Cemetery, Bluefield, West Virginia. His grave site does not have a marker.