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 Moment Letter: Written June 7th, 1945 Lt. David L. Briggs 137th Inf. Regt. APO. 35 Dear Mother and Roy, Things are very quiet tonight and so I thought that there would be no better time to write than now. I was down to see the boot maker and took him some very fine leather and he is going to make me a pair of riding boots that I will be able to wear after the war. They will be swell boots and all hand made. It is getting very hot now and so I have one of my sergeants take the men swimming in the afternoon and they seemed to like it very much. I wish that I could get away to go. Perhaps Sunday I well be able to make it. I was going to go fishing this evening but I am too lazy to go out and dig worms. There are lots of fish in the stream but they will not bite. One of these days the local fish-expert is going to take some of us out to the place where there is good fishing. I had a little trouble with the men last night as some of them got a little tight and went out and raised all sorts of hell and the people were complaining to me but I told them all to go to hell. One of the boys got a little out of hand when some of the men took him to the medics with a cut hand and so I had to go out and get that straightened out this morning before they put in a report to the company. He is my best sergeant and I didn?t want to see him get in trouble over it. Out side of this the man have been behaving well I have had some pictures taken today and they will be ready soon and so I will send you a print of them. I think that they will turn out good. One was taken here behind my desk. Well I will close for now as that is about all the news I have for now. Write soon and saw hello to that sister of mine. Love and kisses David
Other Memories Company D Weapons Plt
Letter: Written June 10th, 1945 Dear Mother and Roy, There is not much to write tonight, but as there is nothing to do either I thought I would get off a short note to let you know I am thinking about you. I went to see the boot maker and he is coming along fine on the pair of boots I ordered. I think they will sure be good looking but I don?t know where or when I will were them. I held an inspection tonight to see if the men were cleaning there guns but I found that most of them looking pretty bad and so I had to do a little ?chewing? There is not much chance of getting men who have been in combat as long as these men have to clean there weapons. I sure will be glad when they realize that the war is over and they have to start being soldiers again. We have some wonderful beer here and it is as close to our beer at home as I have tasted since being over here. Most of it is week as water but this has a good kick to it. I am putting the men on beer for a while as when I took over this platoon I said they could drink as much and get as tight as they wanted but they were not to go outside. Now some of them have gotten tight and gone to town and raised all kinds of hell. I told them that I would not put up with it any more now and that any one that did it again would be punished. There is a lady in here now but I don?t have an interpreter so I can?t tell what she wants. My sergeant speaks good German and he is a big help to me. She just wanted to go see her mother who is sick and she has to get my permission. ?Such Power? Write soon and say hello to the kids for me. Your only Platoon Leader David
V-Mail Beginning of June 1945, Lt. David L. Briggs Co. D. 137th INF. Regt. APO. 35 Dear Mother and Roy, I am finally assigned back to Division and it sure is good to get here after being in replacement depots for such a long time. I am not in the company that I used to be, but am assigned to company D, which is the heavy weapons company and a pretty safe place to be in combat. I don?t know if I will stay here or not but I am hoping to be able to. They have me in the Mortar platoon which I know very little about but I am willing to learn. At the present time we are occupying and governing a section of land which is very large. My platoon has a section which is about thirty miles wide. Our company and Battalion is spread all over hell which is a good deal as they don?t keep watch of us when we are away. I am not sure if we will be able to stay here, but I sure want to as there is a nice little stream not far down the street and there are some nice little trout in it. As soon as we settle here I am going to try my luck and perhaps see if I can hang on to a couple of good ones. I?ll let you know later how I make out. The town we are staying in is a very pretty little place and fairly clean for a change. This military government sure can be a pain in your back as it is starting to prove very soon after we took over here. There are many little things that come up and get on ones mind but it won?t be so bad after we get settled here. The people are not so bad, and they seem to cooperate with the troops and this makes our work a lot easier. I think I will like this kind of work after things settle down. We have some people here that speak English and so we are using them as interpreters. One of these is a man who used to live in the States and he was kicked out for working for some Nazi people. He is now telling us who the Nazis are around here and so then we go out and pick them up. He is sort of a stool for the Americans now. Some of these people over here would turn in there own Mothers to get on the good side of the Americans. You must excuse this letter as I am writing it on a German typewriter and all of the keys are a little out of place from ours and so I miss them from time to time. I guess I will close for now and get a little work done that we have around here. Keep your fingers crossed that I will get home. I am hoping that we stay here and keep up this kind of work but that still remains to be seen. Say hello to the girls and tell them I well write as soon as I get time. Love and kisses David
V-Mail June 5th, 1945 Lt. David L. Briggs Co. D. 137th Inf. Dear Mother and Roy There is nothing doing this afternoon so I thought I would write and let you know what I am doing. I went fishing the other evening and didn?t have much luck but I am going to try again soon and see if my luck will be better. This afternoon I got a hold of a swell ring that was presented to some German soldier from the great Himmler. It has his signature in it and this makes it very valuable. I also made some contacts to get a pair riding boots made here by the local boot maker. The man who sells the leather here in town is going to a place where he can get some very good leather. Tomorrow one of the sergeants and I are going to take our interpreter and go to a place where some of the best silver and gold jewelry is made and see what we can pick up. I am going to send some little things that I have picked up and I hope that they reach you. Did you ever get the envelope that I sent that had some things in it? I hope. Well I must close for now and tend to a little work. Write soon and give my love to the girls. Love and kisses David
V-Mail: Dated June 5th, 1945 Dear Margaret and Barbara, This is a very dull evening and there is very dull and I have just been sitting here twitting my thumbs. I take it all back. When I finished the first line I was called to the C.P. and they had a meeting of all Platoon leaders and gave out with the poop. One platoon was pulled in and I thought it was going to be mine but the men have been behaving themselves and so we were left out here. It is a wonderful deal as we don?t have and training and e get up when we fell like it. We have just gotten a new radio and there is sure some good music now. This is the first time that I have had a platoon and it is a little strange to me and I just don?t know just how to act but I will make out just fine I am sure. They are a swell bunch of fellows here and they don?t give me too much trouble. Tomorrow I have to have a meeting and let them know how things stand now. We have a little work to do that won?t agree with them but they will do it though as they know a good deal when they see it. Well I guess I will close for now and go to bed as it is eleven and its past time for me to get to bed. Write soon and give David a big kiss for his uncle Dave. Love and kisses ?uncle? Dave.
Letter: Written June 14th, 1945 Dearest Barbara and Margaret, Just a few lines to let you know I am thinking of you. Today I went to a town not far from here and picked up some little things I am sending you now. This is not much but it is about all I can get here. My riding boots were finished today and they are sure wonderful. I have never seen such good work as was put into them. Every bit is hand made. Also I got my pistol holster today and it sure is nice work. These Germans are very good workers, there work is very fine and they take great pride in it. All of the work I have had done here has been perfect. Well I guess I will close for now. Some of my men just brought in a little deer. It sure is cute but I don?t know how we will keep it alive. I hope it does not die. Love and kisses David.
V-Mail: Dated June 25th, 1945 Dear Barbara and Margaret, It is very dull around the officers club this afternoon and so I thought I would write you a little note. I am here in a rest camp and Jimmies outfit has one here too, I sent him a note and perhaps he will come down. I bought you a little thing for David and I want to get one for Barbara?s baby but it was the last. I will mail it soon. This has been a nice rest and things get going good at night. We have dames here every night and plenty to drink. Write soon. Love David. Letter: Written June 14th, 1945 Dearest Barbara and Margaret, Just a couple of lines to let you know I am thinking of you this evening. We got an order from higher headquarters that there would be no more drinking by anyone in this unit. I am sure this is going to bring on some serious trouble as it is hard to keep the men from drinking if there is any around to be had and there is lots around this little village. There is a medical unit here and they are not affected by this order and so my men are not going to like it at all if they can drink and we have to stay off. I am glad it was made as it relieves a lot from my mind. Went fishing this morning and caught some nice ones. We have a fish farm here and so we just get a chair and sit there and pull them out, some sport. Some of my men got a little buck deer the other night and we had some swell steaks. There is plenty of wild life here and we are having a swell time hunting, fishing, and swimming. This is just a nice little vacation for most of these men. Last night I was out riding around in a jeep when a rabbit jumped up about fifty yards from me and so I just stuck the gun out the side and shot. He felt it I guess as he didn?t even kick. I was sure a sensational shot, well the men with me said so anyhow! I had a pretty rough night last night and today has been very dull so I think I well go to sleep early tonight. The sun does not go down until about nine thirty and it? not dark until then so I stay up tell then, it sure makes a long day and ?keerist What a Short Night? Write soon and I will be waiting for the good news to come in. it should soon arrive soon. You?re loving Bud. David
Letter: Written June 16th, 1945 Dear M. & B. Just a couple of minutes before inspection and so I thought I would drop you a line to let you know I am thinking of you and wondering what you all are doing. I?ll bet Babs looks like a lady in a side show by now. I sure wish I were around to see this little Guy or Gal as the case may be. Let?s pray it will be the latter as I wouldn?t want any body to fight over a name. I know you want to name him after me and that would be awful. I?m only kidding as I know you want a girl and so do I. what does John want? We had to see a picture show on redeployment today and by the way it looks I may get home before going to the So.P. I sure want to see you all just once more. I wrote Max and asked her to marry me as when I do get home I would like to live a normal life before going away. You know how long a love lasts in action and so I want some real living. I guess I will close now so write soon. Don?t get too alarmed at this letter as it is not as bad as it sounds. The war may get over soon!!!!!
Letter: Written June 16th, 1945 Dear Mother and Roy Before dinner is ready I will write a short letter. I have just returned from a deer hunt but we were not successful but it was a nice trip. On the way we came to an old castle which was partly in ruins but some of the original was still standing. It had a large dungeon which we explored and found nothing. In one of the large rooms someone had stored a large quantity of good leather. I am going to go back and get some day and have a leather jacket made. I have received my first mail from you in almost three weeks and it sure has been good reading your letters. You all seem to think I well get home soon. Well don?t get to excited until I am home as things are yet very uncertain as to what will be come of us over here. I do think that we will get home but it is still a long time until then. I must close for now so write soon and send some stamps. Love and kisses David
Letter: Dated June 17th, 1945 Dear B. & M., Just a couple of lines to let you know I received some mail from you for the first time in three weeks and it was sure good to here from you. The pictures of you and John were swell. I have been wanting some snaps of you. As soon as I get some film I well take some shots and send you the roll to get developed. Unless I can get it done here. I have a swell camera now and want some 120 film. Will you send me some? If you need any money for the baby well write and I will send you some as soon as possible. Please do this. I know how John spends money. He is about like me only he hasn?t grown up yet. I hope he goes through some of the things I?ve gone through and he will look upon life a lot different. Write very soon and be good girls. The hot rumor is we will be home in July, hope so. Love and kisses David.
Letter: Dated June 20th, 1945 Dear mother and Roy, The men are out drilling and doing some exercise this morning and so while things are quiet I will try and get off a short note to you and let you know what has been going on around here with me. The day before yesterday I went back to the officer?s sales store and purchased some nice clothes as some of the things that I got while I was in school have been lost now and so I had to replace them. This outfit is sure on the ball about uniforms and we have to have a different one for every occasion. I sure will be glad when I get when I get home and get to wear them where they will do some good. I now have five work uniforms and it takes that many to keep looking like I have to all the time. Most of the things that I have are regular issue to enlisted men and I got them from the supply sergeant. I am also supply officer and so I get any thing I need with out any questions asked this helps out a lot. While I was back at sales there were some of the most wonderful looking girls that I have seen in a long time. U.S.O. girls and I couldn?t keep my mind on the things that I came back for. I just stood there and looked at them. It sure is good to talk to someone that can speak English. Friday the doctor up at the medical station and I are going to take a ride up to one of the field hospitals and get a date with one of the nurses that work there and I sure will be glad to get out with one of them. Just to talk with and be with an American girl is heaven now. I guess I won?t know what to talk about but I guess I well be able to manage as you know me. Well I guess that I will close for now and get to work as I can?t just sit here all day I have to earn my pay in some way. Write soon and say hello to the girls for me. Love and kisses David
Letter: Dated July 1st, 1945 Dearest Barbara and Margaret, I have been sitting here in the office eating some cheese which Mother sent me and it sure is good. I am pretty much alone here today as some of the men have gone to a ball game in Koblenz where we have a big field. Our Regt. Is playing the 320th. Today makes a month since we got here and time sure has passed fast. Tomorrow our Regt. is having a cocktail party for the officers an General. Ik?s Yacht which is in the Rhine now. It will give me a chance to meet some of the other officers. We are getting back to prose time social amenities now and I am going to suffer I can see it. My pay wont allow me to do as much as the other officers. I am not up on seniority to get a pass or a home and I am hoping I will be able to go to England or the Rivera. I am going to save this months pay for it. Next month I am going to send home a hundred dollar allotment, as long as I have it I will spend it. I think I will send you, Babs twenty five dollars to help out as I know you don?t get it from John. You can spend what ever you need and the rest save. Also start a bank account for Ann as then I will add to it. I want her and David to have some money to spend when they are old enough to. I was going to church this morning; I can?t now as there is no other officers here at the time. So far Max has not answered my question about marriage but it should come any time. I am going to write her as soon as I finish this letter. Well darlings, all four of you. I must close for now. Write soon and be good. You?re loving Uncle David. (IK?s Yacht is Dwight David Eisenhower Allied Commander)
Letter: Dated July 3rd, 1945 Lt. David L. Briggs Co. D 137th Inf. Regt. 35th Infantry Division. Dear Mother and Roy, I am not feeling so hot today as the party that was given for the officers in our Regiment was pretty good and I guess I drank a little too much. It took place on the boat that used to belong to Hitler and it sure was some boat, some party!! Waiters all over the place and if you wanted some champagne or cognac or wine you just asked for it and there it was. We took a ride up the river but I didn?t see very much as I spent most of the time below in the bar. It was my first party as an officer, and I got to know many of the officers in the Regt. some of them were new and some of them were old. Many were enlisted men last time I saw them. All in all I had a swell time and plenty to drink. Tomorrow we are moving to a new location about forty miles from here and I sure do hate to go as we have a very good place where we are now. I am supposed to go to Brussels tomorrow morning at five but perhaps it will be canceled. I hope not I am sitting here waiting for an officer to come up and relieve me. I wish he would come so as I could get back. Well I must close for now and get my things together as we will be shoving off soon. Write very soon. Love and kisses David P.S. I am writing this with my new pen you sent me and I think it is wonderful. Thank you a million it is wonderful.
Letter: Dated July 8th, 1945 Dear Mother and Roy things are very quiet around here today and so I thought I would write now as when we start moving I won?t have much time to write. We are supposed to pull out of here tomorrow for some kind of Honor in Holland. I can?t disclose the place we are going now. After that we will join the Division at the staging area, where we will prepare for shipment home. I expect to be in the States some time in late August or early September. It sure will be wonderful to get home again. I would much rather stay over here for a while as the sooner we get home the sooner we will go to the South Pacific or China. I am not so anxious to see more action. My mail must be all messed up as I haven?t received any mail in some time from you. Yesterday I got Barbara?s announcement of the baby and they sure are nice. This is about all I have to write now so I will close. Write soon and keep your fingers crossed that I get home. Love and kisses David.
Letter: Dated July 18th, 1945 Lt. David L. Briggs Co. D. 137th Infantry Regiment 35th Infantry Division. APO. 35 Dear Mother and Barbara, Today I received the glasses you sent and I sure am glad to see them come as I needed them very badly. We are now through with our mission here and have started our processing for the trip home. I should be there by my Birthday. I wish I could be there for yours but it looks like I won?t be able to make it. We have a great deal to do before shipping out. All of the men have to be clothed and re equipped for the trip. I am supply officer which entails a great deal of work in supply. Last night I went to Brussels and had a swell time. I and three other officers had dinner ay the Canadian Officers Club and then met some girls who danced with us. There was no liquor there which made it a very cheep evening. I hope to be able to get in tonight as I have a date with this girl and I also have a bottle of White Horse Scotch which I want to drink. We have been getting some good rations of liquor. This is one good thing about being an officer. I must close for now and get ready for a school we must attend on supply. Write very soon and I will be home soon. Aug 18 Don?t write after Aug 1st. Love and kisses David.
Western Union Cable gram IOSAC INTL AMOWUR VIA WU CABLE 16 AUG 22 VLT MRS MARY STOCKBURGER 344 WEST 11 ST CLAREMONT SAILING TODAY BE HOME SEPTEMBER 18TH* BRIGGS