Llewellyn Morris Chilson (April 1, 1920 – October 2, 1981) was one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War II. He received twelve individual decorations for combat from the U.S. Army including seven decorations for valor.
After the war, the President of the United States personally decorated Chilson with seven decorations including three Distinguished Services Crosses for extraordinary heroism in Germany.
Other Comments: Llewellyn Chilson was born on April 1, 1920, in Dayton, Ohio. He was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 28, 1942, and completed basic training in June 1942. Cpl Chilson served with the 112th Infantry Regiment at Camp Livingston, Louisiana and at Camp Gordon Johnston, Florida, from June 1942 to May 1943, and then transferred to the 179th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division.
He served with the 179th in North Africa from June to July 1943, during the Invasion of Sicily in July 1943, at the landing in Salerno in September 1943, at the landing in Anzio in January 1944, during the Invasion of Southern France in August 1944, and into Germany in March 1945.
Sgt Chilson returned to the United States in June 1945, and received an honorable discharge on June 30, 1946. He reenlisted in the Army on November 17, 1947, and served as an Army Recruiter until March 1950.
SFC Chilson next served as a Light Weapons Infantry Leader with the 41st and 42nd Armored Infantry Battalions at Fort Hood, Texas, from March 1950 to February 1951, and then as an ROTC instructor in Fort Worth, Texas, from February to September 1951. His next assignment was with Company B, 701st Armored Infantry Battalion at Fort Hood from September 1951 to January 1952, followed by service as a 1st Sergeant with the 1st Armored Division at Fort Hood from January to October 1952.
MSG Chilson served as an Anti-Aircraft Artillery Crewman and Section Leader with B Battery, 5th Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Battalion in West Germany from November 1952 to December 1954, and then as a Section Leader with B Battery, 91st AAA Battalion in West Germany from December 1954 to October 1955. His next assignment was as a Section Leader with A Battery, 195th Field Artillery Battalion at Fort Hood from December 1955 to January 1956, and then with A Battery, 451st AAA Battalion at March AFB, California, from March 1956 to April 1957.
He then deployed to West Germany where he again served as a Section Leader with A Battery, 91st AAA Battalion from May 1957 to May 1958, and then with Headquarters Battery, 94th AAA Battalion from May to June 1958. MSG Chilson next served as an instructor with the U.S. Army Artillery and Missile School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, from July 1958 to September 1960, followed by service as a Section Leader with B Battery, 3rd Observation Battalion of the 26th Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Sill from September 1960 to June 1961. He served with B Company, U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Lewis, Washington, from June 1961 to August 1962, and then as an Operations Sergeant and Section Leader with the U.S. Army Artillery and Missile School at Fort Sill from September 1962 until his retirement from the Army on July 1, 1964.
While serving at Fort Sill in 1961, MSG Chilson was one of only four survivors (out of 22 passengers and crew on board) of the crash of an Air Force C-124 Globemaster II that crashed on takeoff from McChord AFB, Washington, on May 24, 1961. Llewellyn Chilson died on October 2, 1981, while on vacation in Florida.
WWII - European Theater of Operations/Sicily Campaign (1943)/Operation Husky
July / 1943
August / 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.