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1st Sgt. Cecil C. Walker
Company K, 338th Regiment,
85th Custer Division
1st Sgt. Cecil C. Walker was a member of the Heavy Weapons platoon and served with the 85th Division from the initial training at Camp Shelby, MS, until the end of the war. The Heavy Weapons platoon operated all the heavy guns, mortars, and machine guns issued to an infantry unit.
The above photo shows Sgt. Walker receiving an Army Soldiers Medal for Heroism medal for risking his life to save the lives of some of his buddies, not involving combat. Their jeep turned over into a canal in Italy when a crate of grenades went off. Walker was thrown out, head first into the ditch bank, but the rest were pinned under the vehicle. Sgt. Walker saved his buddies from drowning. Sgt. Walker later received the Bronze Star with two oak leaves.
Sgt Walker was a member of a Heavy Weapons Platoon of Company K, who were trained to use 37mm anti-tank gun, .50-caliber and 30-caliber machine guns. He joined the 85th Division during training at Camp Shelby and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant prior to being deployed overseas. Sgt. Walker remained with his unit until the end of the Italian Campaign. He attained the rank of 1st Sergeant before his discharge at the end of the war.
Mike Walker, the son of Ceciil Walker, asked his Mother how did they meet. Here is her answer.
It seems that she went down to Camp Shelby from her home in Missouri in order to help a girlfriend who was going to marry a GI who was training there. Mom and the girl got jobs working on post. While at a wedding reception she was approached by a good looking buck sergeant who asked her if she wanted a cigarette, to which she replied No, that she didn't smoke. He said that was the correct answer because he didn't like girls who smoked. That was the beginning. (the friend never did get married)
Later they and some other couples traveled to New Orleans to get married. Turns out that the guy doing the services was a flim-flam man and took their money and the marriages were all illegal. They did it all legally right before the unit left for California training. Mom took the train out there after a short time and got a job working in a date-packing factory in nearby Arizona. She said that the heat in the factory was horrendous and you were so sticky from the fruit that it made things almost unbearable. She quit that gig after a few days.
She said that she and a few other wives were all tanned and looking good and the vacationing old geezers from California would try to pick them up all the time. She also said that there was a big official stink due to the deaths of some of the 85th's men due to training conditions. She lived in Florida while Cecil was in Italy.
Cecil Walker and his future wife.
This photo could have been taken at New Orleans.
Not sure if they were illegally or legally married.
After the War
Cecil Walker returned to Florida and worked with the Florida Power and Light Co. from 1945-1948, when he re-enlisted due to his wife's medical problems. He was given the rank of Staff Sergeant upon re-enlisting. He took the opportunity to go to Veterinary Food Inspection School and became specialized in that area. He said he had had enough combat for his lifetime.
He spent time at various posts in the US, Fort Riley, KS. Ft. Huachuca, AZ, and others. He was eventually sent to Japan at the start of the Korean War and worked in the big US Army hospital in Tokyo as did his wife. He returned to the US, did an assignment in Germany during the late 1950's, then back to the 5th Army HQ Command in Chicago, IL where he was stationed until his retirement in 1964 at the rank of Master Sergeant (E8). He eventually returned to his hometown of Bradenton, FL, after serving his country again from 1950 to 1964. He died in 1997 and his wife died at age 80 in October 2002.
A photo of Staff Sergeant Walker taken later in his career.
Note the 85th Division 'CD' patch on left shoulder.
Awards & Decorations earned by Cecil Walker during his career
Combat Infantry Badge
Bronze Star Medal
w/ 2 Oak Leaves
American Campaign Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal
UN/Korean Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
National Defense Medal
Europe -Africa-Middle East
w/ 3 Battle Stars Medal
WW2 Victory Medal
WW2 Occupation Medal
Army Good Conduct Medal
w/ Bar Deivce
Presidential Unit Citation
Sgt. Cecil Walker is mentioned in the history of the 338th Regiment."Part of the Anti-Tank Platoon under T/Sgt Cecil Walker continued to fire harassing 50 caliber machine gun fire from C. Cuneo behind M. Fano, while the remainder of the platoon kept one 37mm and one 57mm Anti-Tank gun in mobile reserve at the Battalion rear Command Post.”
The following quote comes from a small book published in 1946 on the history of 3rd Battalion of 338th Infantry Regiment. This quote is found on Page 106, chapter “Winter of 1944-1945”, that describes the combat near Monte Fano in November 1944.
This information was graciously provided by Mike Walker, Sergeant Walker's son. Mike Walker provided more photos of the Heavy Weapons platoon, including photos of the small cannon, heavy machine guns and photos of bunkers on the Italian front lines. For more photos of Sgt. Walker and his Heavy Weapons platoon, see 338th Regiment, Heavy Weapons Platoon.
Army Soldiers Medal for Heroism
Awarded for heroism not involving actual conflict with an armed enemy of the US.
Award requires personal hazard or danger and voluntary risk of life.
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