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Duke Ashton was born on February 14, 1923, in Detroit, Michigan. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 2, 1943, at Fort Custer, Michigan, and after completing basic training and infantry training, he served with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 71st Infantry Regiment of the 44th Infantry Division during combat training in the United States before deploying to France with his unit in September 1944.
PFC Ashton fought with his unit through France and Germany, and was wounded in action in France on December 13, 1944, and on February 15, 1945; and in Germany on March 29, 1945. After the war ended he served on Occupation Duty in Germany until returning to the United States in July 1945, and he received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army on October 17, 1945. Duke Ashton died on September 4, 2011, and his ashes were placed in the columbarium wall at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California.