Original U.S. WWII Named KIA Purple Heart Medal with Fort Brag ID Card

Item Description

Original Item: This WWII Purple Heart Medal is engraved on the reverse J.C. HOWARD. Private Howard (ASN 7001682) was Killed in Action and we include a copy of a roster of KIA soldiers from Oconee County, South Carolina. Included with the medal is the original case and lower portion of the cardboard storage box. We also have hi Fort Bragg, North Carolina Identification Card with a photo of him where it designates that he was assigned to Battery F, 36th Field Artillery Regiment.

In the spring of 1942 the regiment completed reequipping with the American 155mm gun. On 1 August it left Fort Bragg for the New York Port of Embarkation, and it arrived in Britain on 17 August, one of the first American combat units deployed to the European Theater. On 10 December 1942, the 1st Battalion, 36th Field Artillery landed at Oran, Algeria. At 1217 hrs on Christmas Eve, near Medjez El Bab, 2d section, Battery A fired the first American heavy artillery round in the European Theater, starting a mission that silenced a German battery. During the Tunisia campaign, the two battalions of the regiment supported nearly all of the Allied forces involved in the battle. The battalions were constantly separated because they were the only field artillery in the theater with their 25,000 yard range, and their services were eagerly sought by both British and American commanders. Lieutenant William Wall, Forward Observer for Battery A, broke up a large German armored attack by directing his battery's fire on it. He opened fire at 18,000 yards, and the tanks closed to 7,000 yards before withdrawing. At this range only one of the battery's guns could continue to fire, and the rest of the battery had loaded into trucks and was prepared to abandon the position and destroy the guns. The commander of the tanks, during questioning after his capture, said that he turned around because he was not willing to face the 155mm guns in direct fire. During this campaign, the 1st Battalion achieved another "first", becoming the first American field artillery unit of the war to destroy enemy aircraft by artillery fire, during an artillery "raid" on a forward airfield. During the Sicily campaign the two battalions were again separated, supporting different divisions. During the last part of the Sicilian campaign, Headquarters Battery, 36th Field Artillery served as the provisional headquarters for all American artillery in Sicily. From 29 August to 3 September 1943 the 2d Battalion fired the first American artillery to hit the European mainland, across the straits of Messina in support of the British 8th Army. The battalion set an ammunition dump on fire and silenced five German 170mm gun positions. The 36th Field Artillery landed on the hot Salerno beach beginning on 12 September, and participated in the drive on Naples and the Foggia airfields, then turning north to Cassino. During these operations, Battery C fired a "perfect mission", setting an ammunition train at Avellino on fire with the first round in adjustment at a range of 22,000 yards. Also during this period, the regiment conducted the first operations with high-performance aircraft adjusting artillery fire, cooperating with P-51s and artillery-trained pilots. While the 2d Battalion continued fighting at Cassino, the 1st Battalion withdrew from the line and prepared for the Anzio invasion, landing on D day, and providing the heaviest artillery support on the beachhead for the next five months. Both battalions then participated in the drive which freed Rome and continued into the Alban hills. On 5 March 1944, the regiment was broken up, with Regimental Headquarters, 1st Battalion and 2d Battalion redesignated HHB, 36th FA Group, 36th FA Battalion, and 633d FA Battalion, respectively. On 8 June 1944, the 1st Battalion was again withdrawn from the line for its longest break, this time in preparation for the invasion of Southern France. The battalion landed on D day, 15 August and raced north with VI Corps to the German border. Here, at the town of Mutzig, first section of Battery B fired the regiment's only direct-fire mission of the war using the Long Toms, at a German fort being held by 92 men. From 1 December until the end of the war, the battalion operated with two M12 self-propelled 155mm guns, which were used for special missions, especially direct fire. At the end of the war one battery was in firing position at Seefeld, Austria, prepared to fire on Innsbruck in support of the 103d Infantry Division. Fortunately, negotiations with the city's leaders led to the surrender of the city with no firing. Meanwhile, the 2d Battalion continued northward through Italy, crossing the Po River in April 1945 and reaching the foothills of the Italian Alps. At one time, while supporting the French Expeditionary Corps, the battalion earned the wrath of one regimental commander for occupying his objective before he reached it. He insisted that they leave the position so that he could secure it. Regimental Headquarters, known as Headquarters, 36th FA Group, participated in the Southern France invasion and ended the war in Germany. The regiment earned streamers for 11 World War II campaigns, more than any other regiment in the army. Elements of the regiment earned arrowheads for four amphibious assaults (Sicily, Salerno, Anzio, and Southern France); the only regiments in the history of the army to earn more were the 509th Infantry (five) and the 1st Special Forces (seven).
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