Meyers, Francis Joseph Jr., LTC

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
9 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
2163-Air Operations Officer (G3, S3)
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1967-1968, Korea Military Advisory Group (KMAG)
Service Years
1941 - 1968

Infantry


Ranger
Lieutenant Colonel



Ten Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1916
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSG Trey W. Franklin to remember Meyers, Francis Joseph Jr., LTC USA(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Contact Info
Home Town
Ebensburg, PA
Last Address
Ebensburg, PA

Date of Passing
Jul 21, 1992
 
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 60 Site 4188

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Belgian Fourragere Netherlands Orange Lanyard US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

Meritorious Unit Commendation 1944-1961 French Fourragere US Army Retired


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
 
“I am wounded but not slain, I will lay me down and bleed awhile, but shall rise and fight again.” It seems as if Rudyard Kipling had Francis Joseph Myers, Jr., in mind when he wrote “The Ballad of Johnny Armstrong.” Joe was a magnificent, natural warrior who could be counted on in any fight. However, this description fails to adequately describe Joe as a friend, husband, father, and grandfather. Perhaps the words of classmate and close friend Fred J. Ascani ’41 of C Company, best describes the more amiable half of Joe. “He was a fun-loving individual who always tried to keep everyone happy.”

Joe was born to Mr. and Mrs. Francis J. Myers, Sr., and spent most of his childhood in the small coal-mining town of Ebensburg, Pennsylvania. In high school, Joe was a standout athlete, lettering in basketball, football, and track, as well as a successful but indifferent student. His hobbies included “smooth dancing” and “fast driving.” His success in high school led to an appointment to the Naval Academy and he attended the Naval Academy preparatory school for one year before entering in 1935. Joe survived the rigors of freshman year at Annapolis only to be dismissed due to academic deficiencies his sophomore year. Joe showed his characteristic resilience for the first time after that disappointment by aggressively seeking an appointment to West Point. He was successful and entered with the Class of 1941 in July of 1937. 
 

Joe’s tenure at West Point was characterized by his natural fighting spirit and showcased on the track and soccer teams, but Joe’s warrior ethic did not win many battles against the Academic and Tactical Departments. Although Joe’s final class standing was less than stellar, he made the most of his four years at “Hell on the Hudson” and gathered his own personal army of loyal friends and acquaintances.
 

On 7 December 1941, nearly six months after Joe graduated, the U.S. was thrust into World War II. Loeutenant Myers, not wanting to miss out on all the excitement, looked for the quickest way to get into the fight. He found it with the newly formed Airborne Infantry. After Jump School in January 1943, Joe was assigned to the 505th Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 82d Airborne Division, and sent to North Africa for the Invasion of Sicily. In July 1943, Joe took part in his first combat parachute jump. After landing, he was knocked unconscious by an exploding shell and woke up in a German hospital in Caltagirone, where he received excellent care. He was a POW for one week before Montgomery and the Canadians took the town from the Germans.
 

Joe took his second combat jump into Italy, where he was, once again, wounded and sent to England. On D Day, 6 June 1944, Joe attempted his third jump with the famed 82d into St. Mere Eglise and, again, Joe was wounded and evacuated to England. Joe’s three Purple Hearts are a testimony to the theory that “wherever bullets were flying, there you’d find Joe.” A fourth combat jump in daylight near Nijmegen, Holland, was made during Operation Market Garden, “A Bridge Too Far.” His fifth jump was not really a jump, as he tailgated from a “cattle” truck in Werbomont, Belgium, in December 1944 and fought to the Salm River. He participated in the breach of the Siegfried Line, pushing south to the final drive across the Elbe River. There, Joe earned his third Bronze Star for valor.
 

Occupational duty in Berlin was sweet. Horses were ridden and tennis was played with high spirits. In 1946, Joe marched down 5th Avenue with GEN Gavin ’29 and the rest of the 82d Airborne. He also enjoyed 15 minutes of fame when interviewed on CBS national radio by the famous Arthur Godfrey. In September of that year, Joe married Franny McLean Mullins, the widow of a fellow ’41er, Charles Love “Moon” Mullins IV, in the Cadet Chapel at West Point. Fran had two small children with Moon, Charles V. and James. Joe raised his former track teammate’s children as his own. In addition to Moon’s boys, Joe raised four children of his own, two boys: Francis III and Patrick, and two girls: Debra and Maureen.
 

Joe won his Army aviator wings at San Marcos, Texas, but had them lifted at Fort Sill. From what we know, Joe was marvelous in the air but treacherous on the ground; parking the aircraft was his downfall. Without missing a beat, Joe returned to the 505th at Fort Bragg for a year before returning to Fort Benning for three years to teach in the Airborne and Ranger departments.
 

In 1952, Major Myers returned to combat as 25th Infantry Division Battalion Executive Officer in Korea and, in 1953, he served as Advisor to the Korean forces. During 1953–55, Joe served in Japan and during 1956–59, he served with the XVIII Airborne Corps, G-3, and was HQ Commandant. In 1959, he graduated from CGSC and then assumed the role of advisor in Viet Nam. During the early 1960s, Joe was assigned to Ft. Campbell and Ft. McPherson. During 1964–67, he served as Assistant Professor of Military Science in the Army ROTC program at Penn State and, on the side, earned a master’s degree in education. His final tour was in the G-3 section, KMAG, in Seoul, Korea.
 

In July 1968, Joe retired as a Lieutenant Colonel at Fort Lewis, Washington. He spent the next ten years working at the Army Education Center with the Bootstrap Program. Joe enjoyed his retirement years by sampling golf courses around the country and visiting children and grandchildren.
 

In July 1992, Joe attended a family reunion in Colorado Springs. One night during that reunion, Joe got out of bed to sit where the whole family gathered, laughing and playing cards. He donned his trademark grin to enjoy the company. “I just want to get one last look,” he told his son. He then went back to sleep and died that night. Joe was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
 

He will be remembered as a man possessing a dual personality: one half was a happy-go-lucky kid always looking for a good time while the other half was a professional soldier who fought and bled for his country without complaint. He was a true American warrior who lived his life according to West Point’s motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.” In the final analysis, “May it be said, well done,” Papa Joe. “Be thou at peace.”
 

   
Other Comments:
Not Specified
   
 Photo Album   (More...



Sicily Campaign (1943)/Operation Husky
Start Year
1943
End Year
1943

Description
The decision to invade Sicily was agreed by the Western Allies at the Casablanca Conference in January 1943. 'Operation Husky' was to be a combined amphibious and airborne attack scheduled for that summer under the supreme command of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Allies began air attacks on targets in Sicily and Italy in the early summer of 1943. They also attacked the Italian island of Pantellaria, which surrendered to the British 1st Division who arrived there on 11 June.

The Allied convoys concentrated near Malta on the 9 July and headed for Sicily's southern beaches. The careful planning of the landings was slightly hindered by a storm, which slowed down the landing craft. The Italian defenders believed such weather conditions would deter any attempt of an invasion and were on a low state of alert.

The British 1st Airlanding Brigade mounted in 137 gliders, were the first to land. They were to seize the Ponte Grande Bridge south of Syracuse. These landings were, on the whole, unsuccessful. Of the 137 gliders, 69 came down in the sea, drowning some 200 men. A further 56 landed in the wrong area of Sicily and just 12 reached the target area and managed to take the bridge. The US paratroopers had difficulties too, the pilots were inexperienced and dust and anti-aircraft fire resulted in the 2,781 paratroopers being scattered over an area 80km radius.

The main amphibious landings involved three British divisions in the east and two US divisions in the west, all supported by heavy fire from off shore warships.

The British did not meet strong resistance from the Italian coastal troops and were able to bring tanks and artillery ashore ahead of schedule. By the end of the day 13th Corps had taken Syracuse and 30th Corps had secured Panchino.

The US divisions had a far more difficult landing, with stiff resistance from the Italians and German air attacks. Later in the day the Hermann Goering Panzer Division, with it's 56 ton Tiger tanks, joined the defence, but the US 2nd Armored Division and US 18 Regimental Combat Team landed in the evening and the Americans managed to stand firm against the fierce fighting. Eventually, naval supporting gunfire forced the tanks to disperse.
The sudden appearance of so many paratroopers gave the appearance of a much greater invasion and the Axis defenders called for reinforcements.
By 12 July, the British had captured Augusta and Montgomery decided to head northwards, to the east of Mount Etna, to take Messina. The Commander of the US 7th Army, Lieutenant-General George S Patton, unhappy with this change of plan, was to fight westwards, towards Palermo. The Americans advanced well. They captured 53,000 prisoners and also the port of Palermo on July 22. This enabled the US 9th Division to land there, instead of on the southern beaches, and was valuable for receiving Allied supplies. Alexander ordered Patton to advance to Messina.

Meanwhile the British Eighth Army was making slow progress. The German paratroopers, with 88mm anti-tank guns, were a formidable enemy and the mountainous Sicilian countryside was hard to negotiate. The Highlanders fought hard for Biancavilla and the XIII Corps eventually took Catania and then Paterno.

The Canadians of Lord Tweedsmuir's Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment managed to take the hill town of Assoro by scaling a cliff and taking their enemy completely by surprise and advanced to Leonforte, which fell to them on 22 July.

By August, the invasion of Sicily was almost complete. The race for Messina continued; the British were helped greatly by airborne forces landing ahead and saving bridges from destruction by the Axis troops. On 17 August, the US 3rd Division entered Messina at 10am, just 50 minutes before the arrival of the British Army. The Germans had been evacuated, but had left huge amounts of weapons, ammunition and fuel. The historic city of Messina had been ravaged by Allied bombs and after the invasion, by shells from the Italian mainland.

Operation Husky was a success. The Allies achieved their goal - the 'soft underbelly' of Europe had been exposed and the Mediterranean could be fully used as a sea route. The cost of casualties was high, though less than anticipated. The Allies lost more than 16,000 men and estimated that 164,000 Axis troops were either killed or taken prisoner.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1943
To Year
1943
 
Last Updated:
Jan 17, 2010
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  43 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Eatman, Harold Lee, 1st Sgt, (1942-1945)
  • Maxwell, Robert, Cpl, (1942-1945)
Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011