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WORLD WAR II

Much of the information on B. D.'s activities in the war, especially including the Battle of the Bulge, was researched by his son, Lt. Col. Eugene McKay, US Army, Ret. who has travelled extensively in the region where B. D. was deployed and saw action.

A narrative of B. D.'s involvement in the war.

On The Map: The 87th In Action

Near St. Hubert (In 2000)

The Company Radio Operator: The SCR-300 was the radio B. D. carried in the war.

Sketches and Doodles From Training: B. D. wrote home often, while he was in the US training for the war, and included these early drawings.

Information about Thomas Frank Baker and his death in the war. Baker was one of B. D.'s best friends (and a pilot).

Marines: Newspaper Clippings

Clippings saved by B. D. in his scrapbook. The newspaper from which these were taken is unknown, but it is likely the Charlotte News.

Marine Corps Pin

Pin

Marine Corps Discharge Paper

Honorable Discharge issued August, 10, 1940. (For hardship; B. D. had a wife and a young son whom he could not support on an enlisted man's salary.)

Marine Corps Pay Voucher

Final Pay Voucher issued December, 1940. This paper is important because it tells us B. D. served in Company A of the 21st Battalion. His monthly pay got him a hardship discharge, although I have not researched just how low this would be at that time.

Photos From Training at Ft. McClellan

These photographs are from B. D.'s scrapbook, and were taken during his Army training at the Infantry Replacement Training Center (IRTC), Ft. McClellan, Alabama, in 1944. He took basic training, and then went on to communications training where he learned radio operations.

Fifth Training Regiment, Company A (Communications)
Previous photo enlarged.
Lewey and Crossman.
"Old Man" Harry Stone (Age - 35). We know that he was killed in the war.
Cristich, Dejka, and Schwartz.
McKay and Schwartz.
Photo with Crossman and Dejka, notable because it has a panoramic view of the training camp.
A postcard of the Charles S. Stafford, dated April 13, 1945. This postcard was kept with the previous IRTC photos in the scrapbook. B. D. returned from the war on this ship.

World War II Uniform Insignia

87th Division Patch (from scrapbook)
There are several of these patches extant.

Uniform 87th Division Patch
This is the actual patch that B. D. wore on his uniform, and it has the wear and tear which could be expected. He always kept this patch in a special place, in the back of a bin holding his supplies for electronics.

Training (from scrapbook)
B. D. sent this patch back, saying he would not wear it, and said it was the patch of the IRTC at Ft. McClellan. The IRTC is the Infantry Replacement Training Center. (This patch was mounted with the stripes in a vertical orientation in the scrapbook. It should be rotated so that the stripes are horizontal, blue - yellow - red.)

World War II Medals, Ribbons, And Pins

Notes:

  • All infantrymen in the Army wear the pin with musket on the blue background, but only those who have been in action are given the version shown here with the silver laurels.
  • The Victory in Europe medal has two small stars on it, which indicate that he fought in two major battles. These have been identified as the Saar and Ardennes.
  • B.D. was wounded before entering Germany, so he did not receive a medal for the occupation of Germany, the other medal for which he would have been eligible.
  • B.D. also received a Good Conduct ribbon, which has been lost (if it was extant in Hendersonville, NC, something I don't remember). I am not sure if this was only a uniform ribbon or an actual medal.

Combat Infantryman
pin
 

Dog tag (first)

Dog tag (second)

Victory In Europe
medal (front)

Victory In Europe
medal (back)

World War II Victory
medal (front)

World War II Victory
medal (back)

American Defense
medal (front)

American Defense
medal (back)

Purple Heart 
medal (front)

Purple Heart 
medal (back)

Bronze Star 
medal (front)

Bronze Star 
medal (back)

Purple Heart 
uniform ribbon

Bronze Star 
uniform ribbon

World War II Medal Certificates

The Purple Heart The Bronze Star

Photos, Artifacts, And More

Fifth Training Regiment card outside
Fifth Training Regiment card inside; certifying that B. D. had completed radio operator training
Newspaper clipping saved by B. D. about the Battle of the Bulge. This is interesting because it discusses the cold, and the frozen limbs suffered by the soldiers.

The M-1 Carbine

After I moved to Hendersonville in 1980, I discovered that B. D. had an M-1 carbine. Only once or twice, he let me lift and carry the rifle. (We never fired it.) I was always amazed at how heavy it was, although it was only about five and a half pounds.

What I did not know was the story behind the rifle: The father of Gene McKay's wife, Chris, was also a World War II veteran. Major Andrew Ray carried an M-1 carbine in the war. He later obtained a circa 1970s replica of the M-1 carbine. After the Major's death, B. D. asked for the rifle, and Gene gave it to him. After B. D.'s death, the rifle passed into the hands of Gene McKay.


McKay

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