Sutton, Frank Spencer, Sgt

Deceased
 
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Last Rank
Sergeant
Last Service Branch
Signal Corps
Last Primary MOS
232-Switchboard Installer-Repairman, Manual
Last MOS Group
Signal Corps (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1943-1946, 293rd Joint Assault Signal Company
Service Years
1943 - 1946

Sergeant


One Service Stripe



Four Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Tennessee
Tennessee
Year of Birth
1923
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 4 Charles David St Clair-Fallen to remember Sutton, Frank Spencer, Sgt.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Clarksville, TN
Last Address
Beverly Hills, CA

Date of Passing
Jun 28, 1974
 
Location of Interment
Greenwood Cemetery - Clarksville, Tennessee
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 12, section 188

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Honorably Discharged WW II


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Leyte Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Leyte
Start Year
1944
End Year
1945

Description
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the amphibious invasion of the Gulf of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita from 17 October 1944 - 1 July 1945. The operation code named King Two launched the Philippines campaign of 1944–45 for the recapture and liberation of the entire Philippine Archipelago and to end almost three years of Japanese occupation.

Battle
Landings
Preliminary operations for the Leyte invasion began at dawn on 17 October with minesweeping tasks and the movement of the 6th Rangers toward three small islands in Leyte Gulf. Although delayed by a storm, the Rangers were on Suluan and Dinagat islands by 0805. On Suluan, they dispersed a small group of Japanese defenders and destroyed a radio station, while they found Dinagat unoccupied. The next day, the third island Homonhon, was taken without any opposition. On Dinagat and Homonhom, the Rangers proceeded to erect navigation lights for the amphibious transports to follow. Meanwhile reconnaissance by underwater demolition teams revealed clear landing beaches for assault troops on Leyte. Independently, the 21st Infantry Regiment on 20 Oct. landed on Panaon Strait to control the entrance to Sogod Bay.

Following four hours of heavy naval gunfire on A-day, 20 October, Sixth Army forces landed on assigned beaches at 10:00. X Corps pushed across a 4 mi (6.4 km) stretch of beach between Tacloban airfield and the Palo River. 15 mi (24 km) to the south, XXIV Corps units came ashore across a 3 mi (4.8 km) strand between San José and the Daguitan River. Troops found as much resistance from swampy terrain as from Japanese fire. Within an hour of landing, units in most sectors had secured beachheads deep enough to receive heavy vehicles and large amounts of supplies. Only in the 24th Division sector did enemy fire force a diversion of follow-up landing craft. But even that sector was secure enough by 13:30 to allow Gen. MacArthur to make a dramatic entrance through the surf onto Red Beach and announce to the populace the beginning of their liberation: "People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil."

US 1st Cavalry troops wade through a swamp in Leyte
By the end of A-day, the Sixth Army had moved 1 mi (1.6 km) inland and five miles wide. In the X Corps sector, the 1st Cavalry Division held Tacloban airfield, and the 24th Infantry Division had taken the high ground on Hill 522 commanding its beachheads. In the XXIV Corps sector, the 96th Infantry Division held the approaches to Catmon Hill, and the 7th Infantry Division held Dulag and its airfield.

General Makino spent the day moving his command post from Tacloban, 10 mi (16 km) inland to the town of Dagami. The initial fighting was won at a cost of 49 killed, 192 wounded, and six missing. The Japanese counterattacked the 24th Infantry Division on Red Beach through the night, unsuccessfully.

Campaign in the Leyte Valley
The Sixth Army made steady progress inland against sporadic and uncoordinated enemy resistance on Leyte in the next few days. The 1st Cavalry Division of Maj. Gen. Verne D. Mudge secured the provincial capital, Tacloban, on 21 October, and Hill 215 the next. On 23 October, Gen. MacArthur presided over a ceremony to restore civil government to Leyte. 1st and 2nd Cavalry Brigades initiated a holding action to prevent a Japanese counterattack from the mountainous interior, after which the 1st Cavalry was allowed to move on. The 8th Cavalry established itself on Samar by 24 Oct., securing the San Juanico Strait.

US infantrymen move cautiously toward a machinegun nest
On the X Corps left, the 24th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Frederick A. Irving, drove inland into heavy enemy resistance. After days and nights of hard fighting and killing some 800 Japanese, the 19th and 34th Infantry Regiments expanded their beachhead and took control of the high ground commanding the entrance to the northern Leyte Valley. By 1 November, after a seven-day tank-infantry advance supported by artillery fire, both regiments had pushed through Leyte Valley and were within sight of the north coast and the port of Carigara, which the 2nd Cavalry Brigade occupied the next day after Suzuki ordered a withdrawal. In its drive through Leyte Valley, the 24th Division inflicted nearly 3,000 enemy casualties. These advances left only one major port on Leyte—Ormoc City on the west coast—under Japanese control.

A US 105 mm (4.1 in) howitzer fires at Catmon Hill
From the XXIV Corps beachhead Gen. Hodge had sent his two divisions into the southern Leyte Valley, which already contained four airfields and a large supply center. Maj. Gen. James L. Bradley's 96th Infantry Division was to clear Catmon Hill, a 1,400 ft (430 m) promontory, the highest point in both corps beachheads, and used by the Japanese as an observation and firing post to fire on landing craft approaching the beach on A-day. Under cover of incessant artillery and naval gunfire, Bradley's troops made their way through the swamps south and west of the high ground at Labiranan Head. After a three-day fight, the 382nd Infantry Regiment took a key Japanese supply base at Tabontabon, 5 mi (8.0 km) inland, and killed some 350 Japanese on 28 October. Simultaneously two battalions each from the 381st Infantry Regiment and 383rd Infantry Regiments slowly advanced up opposite sides of Catmon Hill and battled the fierce Japanese resistance. When the mop-up of Catmon Hill was completed on 31 October, the Americans had cleared 53 pillboxes, 17 caves, and several heavy artillery positions.

US armored car at Labiranan Head
On the left of XXIV Corps, the 7th Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Archibald V. Arnold moved inland against the Japanese airfields of San Pablo 1 and 2, Bayug, and Buri, using "flying wedges" of American tanks, the 767th Tank Battalion, which cleared the way for the infantrymen. Between Burauen and Julita, the 17th Infantry overcame fanatical but futile resistance from Japanese spider holes, who placed satchel charges on the hulls of the American tanks. A mile north, 32nd Infantry soldiers killed more than 400 Japanese at Buri airfield. While two battalions of the 184th Infantry patrolled the corps' left flank, the 17th Infantry, with the 184th's 2nd Battalion attached, turned north toward Dagami, 6 mi (9.7 km) above Burauen. Using flamethrowers to root the enemy out of pillboxes and a cemetery, US troops captured Dagami on 30 October, which forced Gen. Makino to evacuate his command post further westward. Meanwhile, on 29 October, the 32nd Infantry's 2nd Battalion, preceded by the 7th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop, moved 15 mi (24 km) south along the east coast to Abuyog for a probe of the area, and then over the next four days patrolled west through the mountains to Baybay, all without opposition.

Japanese counterattacks
With 432,000 Japanese soldiers in the Philippines, General Yamashita decided to make Leyte the main effort of the Japanese defense, and on 21 Oct. , ordered the 35th Army to coordinate a decisive battle with the Imperial Japanese Navy. The 16th Division was to be reinforced by the 30th Infantry Division from Mindanao, landing on Ormoc Bay. The 102nd Infantry Division would occupy Jaro, where the 1st and 26th Infantry Divisions were concentrating. Battalions from the 55th and 57th Independent Mixed Brigades were on Leyte by 25 Oct.

As the Sixth Army pushed deeper into Leyte, the Japanese struck back in the air and at sea. On 24 October, some 200 enemy aircraft approached American beachheads and shipping from the north. Fifty American land-based aircraft rose to intercept them, and claimed to have shot down between 66 and 84 of the attackers. Day and night air raids continued over the next four days, damaging supply dumps ashore and threatening American shipping. But by 28 October, counterattacks by US aircraft on Japanese airfields and shipping on other islands so reduced enemy air strength that conventional air raids ceased to be a major threat. As their air strength diminished, the Japanese resorted to the deadly kamikazes, a corps of suicide pilots who crashed their bomb-laden planes directly into US ships. They chose the large American transport and escort fleet that had gathered in Leyte Gulf on A-day as their first target and sank one escort carrier and badly damaged many other vessels.

Four Japanese snipers shot and killed in the muddy water of a bomb crater
A more serious danger to the US forces developed at sea. The Imperial Japanese Navy's high command decided to destroy US Navy forces supporting the Sixth Army by committing its entire remaining surface fleet to a decisive battle with the Americans. The Imperial Navy's plan was to attack in three major task groups. One, which included four aircraft carriers with few aircraft aboard, was to act as a decoy, luring the US 3rd Fleet north away from Leyte Gulf. If the decoy was successful, the other two groups, consisting primarily of heavy surface combatants, would enter the gulf from the west and attack the American transports.

A US anti-aircraft gun at Tacloban airfield in action
On 23 October, the approach of the enemy surface vessels was detected. US naval units moved out to intercept, and the air and naval Battle of Leyte Gulf—the largest naval battle in the Pacific and also one of the largest naval battles in history—was fought from 23-26 October—the Japanese suffered a decisive defeat. Nonetheless by 11 December, the Japanese had succeeded in moving more than 34,000 troops to Leyte and over 10,000 short tons (9,100 t) of materiél, most through the port of Ormoc on the west coast, despite heavy losses to reinforcement convoys, including engagements at Ormoc Bay, because of relentless air interdiction missions by US aircraft.
 
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1944
To Year
1945
 
Last Updated:
Dec 14, 2014
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

727th Amphibian Tractor Battalion

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  67 Also There at This Battle:
 
  • Allen, Rade, Cpl, (1942-1945)
  • Asworth, Charles
  • Balonek, John, T/5, (1942-1945)
  • Bradley, Bernard, S/Sgt, (1941-1945)
  • Chesser, Arthur, Cpl, (1941-1945)
  • Corbin, Merritt, 1LT, (1942-1945)
  • Hayes, Eugene, Pfc, (1943-1945)
  • Jabin, William, Sgt, (1944-1946)
  • Johnson, Donald, T/5, (1943-1945)
  • Lambert, Francis, Pfc, (1941-1945)
  • Mahurin, Howard, MAJ, (1941-1946)
  • McLavy, Frank, LTC, (1941-1946)
  • Nelson, Robert, T/4, (1943-1946)
  • Parr, Horace Stayton, Cpl, (1942-1945)
  • Ross, Charles G., LTC, (1942-1972)
  • Shubert, Garry
  • Sorenson, Wilbur, Cpl, (1942-1945)
  • Vradenburgh, Sr., Ralph, Pfc, (1942-1945)
  • Wells, Kenneth Edward, Pfc, (1941-1948)
  • Windmeyer, David, T/5, (1942-1945)
  • Woll, Lewis, T/5, (1942-1945)
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