DVIDS – News – 84th Infantry Division, WWII Soldier Landed on Omaha Beach D-Day

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Today marks the 78th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces launched the largest military invasion by land, air and sea in history to retake North West Europe from Nazi forces. More than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified French coast in what General Dwight D. Eisenhower called a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than victory total”. The cost in lives was high, with over 9,000 Allied soldiers killed or wounded.

Pfc. Reid Clanton enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18 on May 19, 1943. His first combat assignment in a Forward Artillery Observer Team with the 29th Infantry Division landed him on Omaha Beach on D-Day. survived to continue fighting through France, Belgium and Germany, including the liberation of France at Saint-Lo and Brest.

On November 5, 1944, Clanton was transferred to his main unit, Cannon Company, 335th Infantry Regiment, 84th Infantry Division (now 84th Training Command), as the unit moved through Paris toward the Siegfried Line. He immediately entered combat at Aachen along the Siegfried Line. A few weeks later he was assigned to serve as a forward artillery observer on the front lines with the infantry, as they penetrated the Siegfried Line in the vicinity of Lindern.

After a successful campaign to take Lindern, they were ordered on 19 December 1944 to move south to halt the German advance into the Marches. Clanton and his fellow soldiers drove all night and arrived the next day just in time to reach the Germans head-on. The 84th Infantry Division was able to hold Marche for the next two weeks. Meanwhile, Clanton was transferred to the Third Army to serve in a forward artillery observer team in the Ardennes region. There his team moved to the most forward positions to call in artillery fire on the Germans. After defeating the Germans in the Ardennes, it was attached to the 335th Infantry Regiment, while the entire 84th Infantry Division returned to the Siegfried Line near Lindern.

In February 1945, the 84th Infantry Division crossed the Roer River and then moved to cross the Rhine in April 1945. They were finally stopped at the Elbe, when Eisenhower made the decision for the Russians to take Berlin.

In total, Clanton spent over 250 days in combat across France, Belgium and Germany, including over 90 in direct combat in France.

Clanton returned home after the fight and was fired without his awards and service records, which was common at the time.

In a ceremony held May 16, 2022 at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, U.S. Army North paid special tribute to Clanton’s service, awarding him long-awaited medals. The Bronze Star was presented to a surprised Clanton in recognition of his contributions to combat operations during World War II. He was also awarded the Good Conduct Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, the World War II Victory Medal, the Insignia of Combat Infantryman and the Honorable Service Lapel Button for World War II.

Clanton’s wife, Carolynn, and several members of her family were present at the surprise ceremony held in her honor. They all expressed their pride and gratitude for his service to our nation as the greatest generation soldier.

“War is hell. We should try to prevent World War III. This is not the right thing to do. We have to get along, understand each other and help each other. We don’t need any more equipment of war,” Clanton said.







Date taken: 06.06.2022
Date posted: 06.06.2022 14:11
Story ID: 422279
Location: WE





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