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LT Stancy Lewis
Company B, 310th Engineer Battalion,
85th Infantry Division
Lieutenant Stancy Lewis entered the war in Italy as a Staff Sergeant and was later promoted to an officer. That is what makes his story so interesting. Lt. Lewis served with the combat engineers to help make it possible for the army to advance and the supplies to get through.
Stancy was born in Marshalburg, North Carolina. He was inducted at Ft. Bragg N.C. on the very same date that the 310th Combat Engineering Battalion was re-activated. After basic training, he transfered to Camp Shelby, MS, and began training with Company B, 310th Combat Engineers of the 85th "Custer" Infantry Division. He entered the war in North Africa, as a Staff Sergeant and was later promoted to an officer during the campaign in Italy.
On 29 January, 1943, he had reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served as a platoon leader until he was offered a field promotion to officer. The recommendation, below, is dated September 1944 and describes Sgt. Lewis' exemplary service.
Recommendation for promotion to Officer.
General Order dated 12 Sept 1944.
S.Sgt Lewis has fully demonstrated in combat those qualities and capabilities which make a successful leader. During the advance on ROME in May and June 1944, his platoon was frequently detached as combat team platoon, calling for numerous independent actions and decisions on his part. The work of a combat team engineer platoon frequently requires the absence of the platoon leader on reconnaissance or liaison with the supported unit, and the actual work of leading the directing the platoon often falls to the platoon sergeant. In all such instances Sgt. Lewis performed outstandingly.
On or about 18 May 1944, his platoon led the advance into GAETA, Italy and succeeded in clearing that heavily mined and trapped area so that the following armored cars were able to enter and occupy the town. Sgt. Lewis personally directed the bulk of this work, organizing his platoon into sweeping parties and supervising the removal of numerous mines and booby traps.
On or about 20 May 1944, Sgt. Lewis' platoon accompanied a force on an amphibious operation from GAETA, ITALY to SPERLONGA, ITALY. During the voyage the amphibious vehicle in which Sgt. Lewis and approximately half of his platoon were riding sank. Sgt. Lewis kept the group together, encourage and sought assistance for the poor swimmers and was largely responsible for the lack of panic which prevented a large number of casualties.
On or about 21 August 1944, his platoon was engaged in clearing the streets of EMPOLI, ITALY for the passage of traffic, when his platoon leader stepped on a mine. Sgt. Lewis saw to the evacuation of the officer, took over the platoon and completed the task at hand, despite the presence of numerous mines and intermittent artillery fire.
At this time the remained of the battalion had been committed as infantry and it was not practicable to replace the platoon leader for several days. Sgt. Lewis commanded the platoon during that period, performing numerous tasks in support of an Infantry Regiment in such a manner as to draw favorable comment from the commander thereof.
Signed by Lt.-Col. John D. Cole, Jr .
Commanding Officer of 310 Engr Btn
Sgt. Lewis in front of a barracks at Camp Shebly, MS.
Lewis is wearing tan summer uniform with tie and
appears to wear the rank of Corporal or maybe Sergeant.
Photos taken in Italy.
Citation for the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.
Award to 1st Lt. Stancy Lewis, 17 May 1945, in recognition of meritorious achievement in action during the period 22 Nov 1944 to 2 May 1945. During the drive into and through the PO VALLEY, Lt. Lewis superbly directed his platoon in the tasks of opening supply routes. Working long hours, often well into the night, and through areas often pocketed by the enemy, he was greatly responsible for quickly opening heavily cratered and mined roads, with unbelievable speed.
On 19 April 1945, the lateral leading West from PIANO di VENOLA was critically needed. Lt. Lewis directed with great skill the breaching of a field of Topf mines, filling of a crater, and the construction of three by-passes around blown bridges with such skill and effort that this tremendous job was completed in 14 hours, even though much of the work was done after dark.
Lt. Lewis' work on the PO RIVER crossing, 23 and 24 April 1945, was also outstanding. The scarcity of standard rafting material demanded improvisation in order to cross elements of the division rapidly so that they might support the Infantry. Lt. Lewis engineered with great skill the improvisation of a raft from scrap lumber and supervised the operation of a ferry-site all night, causing his men to stand by their tasks though enemy planes were harassing the area. His efforts greatly contributed to the expedient crossing.
From 13 Jan to 10 March 1945, Lt. Lewis supervised his platoon in road construction from SAN CLEMENTE to MT. GRANDE. This construction was accomplished under the most inclement weather, ground that would not support traffic, necessitating such material as Sommerfeld matting and a tremendous quantity of rock, much of which was broken by hand. Lt. Lewis kept his platoon cheerful and efficient while working long hours, doing a splendid job.
After the War
Stancy now lives in South Carolina near his family and friends. He health is declining and is not in good physical condition. This biography was written by his son.
Bridge Repair - These photos were taken by Lt. Lewis and his company.
The first photo is a bridge destroyed by the Germans in order to delay the advance of the Americans.
The second photo shows the bridge repaired with a Bailey Bridge construction.
Coping with the War
After the war, Stancy Lewis did not talk about his experiences. This biography and photos were collected and researched by his son, Randy Lewis. He was lucky to have the records about his father and has graciously permitted me to use this material to tell others about the brave men who fought in the "Forgotten Front" of Italy.
Check out these other Biographies and webpages relating to the 310th Engineer Battalion.
PFC Lee McCloud Pvt Warren Stichtenoth
For more details of the events described above, go to History of 310th Engineer Battalion
Photos from 310th Engineer Battalion Group Photo of Company B taken at Camp Shelby, Feb., 1943.
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