David L. Briggs was the son of Walter David Briggs and Florence Marie Briggs of Claremont, California he was born on August 18, 1924 in Los Angles, California. He enlisted in the Army on March 4, 1943 in Los Angles at 18 years of age.
He went through training and was with an Anti-tank Unit in Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi until he received orders to ship out in June of 1944 after a 2 week furlough. He was in Company F, 144th Infantry APO 15426 when he shipped out for Europe on August 24, 1944 aboard the Queen Mary. The crossing was smooth with out any excitement. After landing in England he was put on a train and whipped straight across the Country to another port to a boat that awaited them for shipment to France. He landed on a beach September 9, 1944 in France (Omaha) he was impressed at the number of ships unloading cargo and the beach was like an ant hill with people and trucks all running about. They were marched up a hill to a replacement pool with there large packs and duffel bags where soon trucks came to pick them up and he was on his way. Two hours later they arrived some where not far from St. Lo to another replacement depot. There they waited until a call was put in asking for so many men, this went on all across France. Finally they were all sent out to separate Units, two or three here and some there. He was sent to K Company 137th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Infantry Division he was a Private First Class at this time.
He was in the field and the CO asked for radio operators he had some experience so he volunteered the company did not have a radio sergeant he had been wounded several days before after several days PFC David L. Briggs was given the job as radio sergeant and promoted to acting Buck Sergeant (AJ) He did that job for awhile until the old radio sergeant returned to the Unit. He then requested to go on the line and get some action and was made assistant squad leader and fought as that up until the time he was wounded in October 1944, shrapnel wound from artillery. Upon returning to the Unit his previous position was taken so he was sent to another Platoon as an assistant squad leader this is the middle part of November 1944 he was awarded the Purple Heart. He was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge on 1 December 1944 General Orders # 12 at the same time as Col. William S. Murray.
The day after returning to the Unit he was called to the Command Post to see the Commanding Officer who stated he had a good position for him if he could make the grade. He was then sent to the 3rd Battalion Command Post to talk to a certain Captain who asked him if he would be interested in the job of S-3 Sergeant which he accepted.
Acting Sergeant David L. Briggs remained in this position until March 7, 1945 when he was offered the chance to go to OfficersCandidateSchool if he could pass the tests. On March 10, 1945 he reported for his first day as an OCS candidate to OCS Class 8 outside of Paris, France with the 335th Reinforcement Company APO 545. Upon Graduation on 16 May 1945 after a 24 hour pass to Paris he returned to the 137th Infantry Regiment as a newly Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant where he was assigned to D Company 1st Battalion Heavy Weapons Platoon as Platoon Leader and Company Supply Officer. He was assigned an area to administer with his platoon in Germany during the Occupation.On July 9th 1945 his Unit was sent to Holland for an Honor ceremony and Parade, following that the 137th Infantry Regiment was sent to Brussels, Belgium to be an Honor Guard and Security for President Truman at Camp B-60 and the Airfield B-58 in Grimbergen, Belgium on July 15, 1945 Followed by another Awards Ceremony and parade at Chandler Base Section Brussels on July 20, 1945. On August 8, 1945 the Unit reported to Camp Lucky Strike to await orders to Return to the United States, those orders were received on the 22ndand the Unit sailed home on the SS Cristobal. On August 31, 1945 The ship docked in BostonHarbor and David received a 45 day R&R pass.
Returning to the Unit in Mid October 1945 at Camp Brecken Ridge, Kentucky Lt. Briggs was charged with operations of the mess halls with German PW’s working them and meeting the returning troops at the train station and getting them put in billets for out processing or transfer to other Units. He was one of the last Officers to leave Camp Brecken Ridge after deactivation. Lt Briggs was then assigned to the 5th Regiment of the 5th Infantry Division unassigned Officers Pool 35th at CampCampbell where he took part in the Victory Parade in Chicago in 1946. On November 20, 1946 he was assigned to the 605th Organized Reserve Composite Group Nevada/California where he remained until 1953 when he resigned his commission.
Second Lieutenant David L. Briggs received the following Awards and Medals;
Combat Infantry Badge
American Campaign Medal
Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Star devices
Best Friends This is the four page letter he wrote to Mary and Roy that he mentioned to Barbara I think. Dated November 30th, 1944 at 0400 Dear mother and Roy During the next two hours I am on the telephone here in Battalion Headquarters so to pass the time I am writing to you since this is the first time in quite a while that I have been able to gather my thoughts and sit down all alone in a good warm room and write. I will give you a summery of what has taken place with me since I left the States. On August 24th, 1944 our ship sailed from New York Harbor bound for Europe and most of us were pretty excited. Most of the men with me at that time were those with whom I had been with through my whole time in the Army. Our crossing was without excitement and very smooth. Upon landing in England we were put on one of those funny English trains and whipped straight across the Island to another port where a boat awaited us for shipment to the Continent. (FRANCE) These ships we were on were English and I mite say about the worst boats on the water. Though they were big the food was not good and they were very dirty. We landed at a beach in France where some time previous (He told me about three Months) the American army had landed on its D Day operations. I was very much impressed by the number of ships standing there unloading there cargos. The beach was like a large Ant hill, people all over and trucks running about. My foot landed on French soil on September 9th. Then we walked up a long hill to a replacement pool. We were loaded down with equipment a large pack and a duffel bag. Soon trucks came and picked us up and we were on our way. About two hours later we were not far from St. Lo. In a replacement Depot. Here we sat until a call was put in asking for so many men. This went on all across France. Finally we were all sent out to separate units, Two or three here and some there. I and one other boy whom you do not know were sent to K Company 137th INF. Regt. Where we would be assigned. There were a number of other replacements with me but I did not know them. We were all out in the field and the C.O. asked for some Radio Operators and since I had some experience I went. They did not have any Radio Sergeant at that time so after a couple of days I was given the job. That was when I got the promotion to? Buck sergeant?. After doing that job for a while the old Radio Sergeant came back and was given the job back. So I asked to go out on the line and got some action. I was made an Assistant Squad Leader and fought as that up until I went to the Hospital. Upon returning I found my job was taken and so I was put in another Platoon as my previous capacity. The next afternoon I was called to the C.P. (Command Post) and in to the C. O. (Commanding Officer) He said he had a good position for me if I could make the grade. I cleaned up and went down to the Battalion C. P. (Command Post) where I was to talk to a certain Captain. He asked me if I would be interested in trying for the job of S-3 Sergeant and I accepted. It is a good job and I am learning the ropes fast. If I make out good which I am sure I will. I?ll get a promotion and have a darn good job. Perhaps Roy can tell you what an S-3 Sergeant?s job is. I can?t go into detail now. This brings us up to now so I?ll close write soon and give my love to Margaret and David, I sure miss you all. Love and Kisses David P.S. No packages as yet, should be soon. Xxxxx
Best Moment V-Mail. OCT 30th, 1944 Sgt. David L. Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. Regt. APO. 35 c/o Pm NY, NY. Letter to Barbara sister Dear Barbara Only a couple of lines to let you know what I am doing. We are still sitting around behind the lines having a good rest. It is raining outside and I got my foot wet so I put on my wooden shoes which I picked up and my boots are under the stone. I washed a couple of pair of sox and put them up to dry. Outside of that there there isn?t any other thing worth while. I have changed my job to that of squad leader, you can ask John what I do and that will save me telling you. I will get more action there is also more pay. I didn?t tell Mom as she will worry no doubt. I have picked up some souvenirs which I am going to send home. Must close be good and say hello to John. Love and kisses David
News Paper clipping dated DEC 22nd, 1944 AWARDED PROMOTION For meritorious action on a night mission into Germany recently, PFC. David Briggs has been promoted to sergeant, according to word received by his Mother, Mrs. R. R. Stockburger, and his sister, Mrs. James Peixotto. He is in the Infantry.
Letter OCT 23rd, 1944 Pfc. David L. Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. Regt. APO. 35 c/o Pm NY, NY. Letter to Barbara sister Written Friday the 20th Dearest Darling Barbara I have just been relieved as sergeant of the guard and it was good to be through with that detail. Today there was a Red Cross Club Mobile which came here to our aria and gave out doughnuts and coffee. All the men were sure glad to see it come as it was the first time in months that some of us got to see American girls. One of them came up and spoke to me and I could hardly think of anything to say. I guess I am loosing my old touch, but she was good looking. I ate doughnuts until I thought I would burst. Chow is down stairs now but I don?t feel much like eating. I haven?t been feeling so hot for the past week; I guess it?s the food The weather is getting very cold now, winter will soon be here and that will sure add to the discomfort of the whole thing. It?s bad enough over here when it?s warm but the cold makes things just twice as tough. Just ate lunch, I call it lunch as all I had was a sandwich, and soon I must go out and get my guard relined. It?s quite a little responsibility to post a guard and see that the men keep on the ball all the time. Today there was some ?Brass? around and so we had to especially be on the ball. Guess I will close for now as it is almost time to go out. Write soon and be a good girl Love and kisses David
Worst Moment Letter: NOV 17th, Sgt. David L. Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. APO. 35 c/o Pm NY. Air Mail Letter written to Mary and Roy (Mother and Step Father) Written on Wednesday 15th, 1944 Dear Mother and Roy All around me now the ground and the trees have put on a white coat of snow and at intervals little bits will fall to help out. It is cold and very uncomfortable, I sure wish it would freeze or dry up. Many of the men are having trouble with there feet getting wet and cold. It?s going to be a tough winter, I can see it now. I am sure hoping the war will be over soon as it is tough enough when it?s warm but the cold adds to it a lot. I can?t find much to write about today so I?ll close for now and get about my work. Please write soon and say hello to all. Love and kisses David
Letter: NOV 20th, 1944 Sgt. David L. Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. APO. 35 c/o Pm NY. Air Mail/W- Stamp Letter to Barbara sister Written Saturday 15th, 1944 Dear Barbara I am now out of the hospital; I spent five days there with a cold and the dysentery. It was a good rest and I took advantage of it. I think I put on about ten pounds as all I did was sleep and eat all I could possibly hold. Now I am in a replacement pool awaiting transportation back to my unit. It really doesn?t make any difference if I stay here for a month as I am not anxious to get back to the front. I am spending my time with a swell fellow with whom I came from the hospital. We sure have a good time talking about home. Boy will I be glad when this is all over. It has been cold as hell here, yesterday morning we had a good freeze and it made the muck hard so it was really better. I wish it would either freeze all over or it would dry up. Dinner is about to be served so I will close for now. Be good and write soon. Love and kisses David He did not tell his Mother that he was in the Hospital to keep her from worrying (This is when he received his Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds he did not have a cold).
Letter: Written NOV 27th, 1944 Written to Mother and Roy I am now back in my unit and am glad to get here. My nerves are all shot from being in those replacement depots. Today when I got back there was a large stack of mail waiting for me and it was wonderful hearing from you. Margaret wrote and sent a picture of herself and the baby, he is just darling and I am sure anxious to see him. You may be interested to know that I am in the same Army as Jim but am unable to contact him. Tomorrow I am going to the Red Cross and try and get in touch with him. The going is pretty tough but I am happy and well. Write very soon and say hello to Max. I forgot to thank Margaret for the birthday present, I got it today. Love David P.S. No packages as yet but should be here soon.
Margaret is his oldest sister married to Jim Pixotto a West Point Graduate. Would end his career as a Lt. Col. United States Army the baby David, would also attend West Point and serve two tours in Viet Nam Army Engineers. Then teach for the Army at Stanford College. Max was a girl he new.
Other Memories 3rd Battalion Companys K and HQ/HQ
V-Mail. OCT 10th, 1944 Sgt. David L. Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. Regt. APO. 35 c/o Pm NY, NY. Letter to Barbra sister Dear Barbara I am now assigned to the 137th Infantry Regiment which has bin in France for about (censored Possibly 6 months) and is comprised of mostly all vets. This is a good outfit and I am glad to be in it. When I got here they were short a communications Sgt. And as I have had quite a bit of radio training they gave me the job and it is darn good. There isn?t much doing now but I have an idea that we will be moving up soon but don?t worry about me. When you write to Mom tell her that I am in a good position and very safe. Yesterday I was walking around the country and I happened across a fur jacket and is it ever warm. It made of rabbit fur and is supposed to go inside of my field jacket. Today is nice and warm but it?s getting cool very fast. Guess I will close foe now and write my girl. Be good and don?t worry about me. Love David I do not know if company F. was the 137th Infantry Regiment. His V-Mail just reads Co. F. INF. In the last letter he states a new unit Company K 137th Infantry Regiment.
Also it seams like weeks or months that mail would not move very far if any where. Letters with the same post mark date show different ranks.
Letter. NOV 6th 1944 Sgt. David Briggs Co. K. 137th INF. Regt. APO 35 c/o Pm NY. This letter was censored twice. Written to Barbara sister Dearest Barbara I have just returned from town where I took a good long shower and also got some nice clean clothes. And all in all I sure feel good. If there is one thing a dough boy likes after a (three words censored) a hot shower, some clean clothes and then a bottle of wine or cognac. All I lack having is the battle but I am sure working on that. We are behind (three words censored) but not so far as the artillery won?t bother us, and this is sure a much needed rest for me. I was doing a lot of my hard and sometimes dangerous work and I think it was beginning to show on my nerves. Don?t worry Darling as I can keep care of myself anytime, those jerries can?t give out any more than I can so I am still safe. I?ll watch it though the other day I got a commendation from some brass on my good work. (Con?t after the show). (No Show) This was a feather in my cap. I am hoping I am hoping to get my rank. I am guessing some time this month and if I do it will bust my pay to somewhere in the vicinity of 130 per month and honey that is not chicken feed. I am sending twenty five home now and also an extra thirty this month. When I get home I will have a pretty penny to start out on. Guess I will close for now be good and give my best to John for me and tell him not to try and get over here as it is just plain hell. You?re Loving Bro. David P.S. If you want to send an Xmas thing make it a cig case and a lighter or tell Mom to send it. Candy and cigs will be better two. I have to carry things everywhere.
Letter dated November 30th, 1944 1500 hrs. Written to Barbara sister Dearest Barbara While I am standing my tour on the telephone it is a good chance for me to catch up on my mail. I guess you know I was in the hospital for a while but now I?m back and feeling fine. Upon my return I found my old job filled by someone else so they gave me another squad. Shortly after taking over my new duties I was called up to Bn. Headquarters to talk with the S-3 officer about working up here. I accepted his offer of S-3 Sergeant. Which will mean a promotion if I?m satisfactory, and want to work here. It is a pretty good job, Just about like I had in the T.D.?s. I?m getting the swing of things and sure trying as the work is much safer than what I was doing. I wrote mom a four page letter tonight or this morning, and told her all about what I am doing. My mail is coming is good now, once in a while I will get a letter which dates back to September or so but most of it is coming right through. Yes honey I sure hope you are going to make me an Uncle again. I will be the proudest person on earth if there is any thing I can do, money or anything else; don?t hesitate to ask me as I sure want to help out if possible. When my promotion goes through I?ll be up in the chips. I must close for now and awaken some of the officers and men around here write real soon. Love and kisses P.S. Bob Balolock?s wife is going to have a baby isn?t that swell? Also got some pictures of ?little David? he sure is cute. Yours will be better looking I am sure.
T. D.?s are tank destroyers which he served with from 1943-1944.
Letter: Written December 2nd, 1944 Sgt. David L. Briggs No Envelope To Mary and Roy Dear mother and Roy A letter came from you yesterday and you seem to be a little confused by my new little will I wrote last night and told you about some of the details. I?ll answer some of the questions you asked me. As you wanted to know about pay, well I must wait until my new promotion goes through. You see in the job I am doing I will get more rank and more pay. If it goes through, and it should next month I will get a base pay of 96 dollars, added on to this is twenty percent overseas pay which puts me right up in the chips. I will make out a larger allotment to be sent to you and you can save it for me. As for going to the Pacific, well no one knows what we will do. There is some talk about it but nothing definite. Darling I lost the knives before I had a chance to send them but I will pick some other things just as soon as I can. There are some very pretty things over here but it is hard to send them home. When I go to town again I will try to pick up some nice linen but as you know things are very scarce here, the Germans took everything. Love and kisses David