Clio Logo

In the twentieth century, the 36th Infantry Division played a crucial role in America’s defense. First created in 1917, the 36th Infantry Division fought on the Western Front in World War I. On November 25, 1940, it was activated for service in World War II. The division departed San Antonio, Texas, for its mobilization station at Camp Bowie. From there, it moved to Brownwood and later to Mansfield, Louisiana, taking part in various maneuvers. When the United States entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the division was reorganized from a square division into a triangular division on February 1, 1942 and redesignated the 36th Infantry Division. Following maneuvers at Camp Blanding, Florida, the division was staged at Camp Edwards, Massachusetts for its port call overseas. During this time, the soldiers conducted mock assaults of Martha’s Vineyard Island in preparation for future amphibious operations. They departed the New York Port of Embarkation on April 2, 1943, for service in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations.

World War II Monument on Courthouse Square

World War II Monument on Courthouse Square

Left block of monument

Plant, Tree, Font, Art

Center block of monument

White, Cemetery, Headstone, Sleeve

Right block of monument

Plant, Font, Wall, Headstone

I Company, 143D Infantry, 36th Division was made up of 117 boys from Belton, Killeen, Salado, Jarrell, Holland, Moody, and McGregor. The division landed in North Africa in April 1943 and trained until September. On September 9, the troops landed in Italy as part of Operation Avalanche, the Allied invasion of Italy. The division was landed near the ancient city of Paestum as part of the U.S. Fifth Army. The division took part in grueling and bloody campaigns in Italy (Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno), Southern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. After 400 days of combat, the 36th Infantry Division returned to the United States and was deactivated on December 15, 1945. Total casualties were: 3,131 (killed); 13,191 (wounded); 506 (died of wounds). Personal awards given included: Medals of Honor, 14; Distinguished Service Crosses, 80; Distinguished Service Medals, 2; Silver Stars, 2,354; Legion of Merit Medals, 49; Soldiers Medals, 77; Bronze Star Medals, 5,407; Air Medals, 88.

At the annual reunion of I Company from Belton and D Company from Temple in 1986, plans were discussed for a granite monument to remember the World War II servicemen who left Belton in 1940 to serve in the war. Judge Harlan Fuller, coordinator of the project, estimated that between $15,000-20,000 in funds would be required. Fuller said the monument would be located on the courthouse lawn or at the Bell County Museum. A target date of September 9 was chosen to honor the anniversary of the invasion of Salerno. The granite monument was installed on the southeast corner of the courthouse square in early summer 1987 and dedicated on September 13, 1987 at 2:00 p.m.

The dimensions of the monument are approximately 10 by 3 feet in length and about 7 feet at its tallest point. The center block features an azure arrowhead with gold T centered on a recessed circle. The inscription reads: “Militia Roll Call. We, the men of Co. I answered the call to duty….and in departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. ~Longfellow” The block on the left depicts 143/I crossed rifles infantry insignia while the block on the right shows a high relief enameled 143D shield.

The following names are listed on the monument (Left to Right):

Privates: Allman, Cecil M./Atchinson, Dick/Barton, Thomas C/Bell, John Z./Blair, James D./Bowden, Marion P./Bowden, William W./Bridges, Charles E./Brown, James W./Carpenter, Everett O./Carpenter, Hubbard F./Carpenter, Thomas O./Carroll, M. D./Cass, Oscar D./Copeland, Oda G./Cox, Cecil J./Crenshaw, John/Cryer, James E./Cummings, R.M.

Privates: Denny, Alton J./Denny, Virgil O./Diddle, Jake C./Dugger, Coral P./Dyson, Charlie F./Fuller, Harlan M./Furnace, Joseph B./Giddens, Jeff A./Greathouse, Oscar I./Haire, Lester C./Hargrove, Fleno/Hargrove, Houston/Hargrove, Thomas C./Harvey, Durward I./Hash, Frank V./Hayes, J.T./Hicks, Lazell H./Hoover, Jim B./Hoover Jack Y.

Officers: Carden, Henry H./Cole, Thomas E./Laughlin, Alfred J./Miller, Mallory C./Porter, Daniel B., Jr.

First Sergeant: Withers, Henry D.

Sergeants: Parrish, N.B./Riley, David W./Shine, Francis T./Stroud, William H./Waskow, August/ White, O.B./Wilson, James W.

Corporals: Bradford, Harry E./Britton Rufus W./Donnahoo, Jack R./Ewing, Paul/ Houston, George I./Huey, Charles R./Lanmon, Edgar A./Saffold, Eugene/Waskow, Henry T./Wood, Ernest G.

Privates First Class: Carr, Bobby G./Casey, Wayne F./Cole, Walter R./Cooksey, Jesse I./Dotson, Chester M./Drake, Marvin O./ DuBose, Gorden R./Grigsby, Robert L./McFarland, Charles I./McInnis, James W./Reed, Joseph A./Splawn, Marvin M./ Stone, Charles R./Stroud, Jessie C./Teague, Walter M./ Turland, J.P./Savliska, William J./White, Jack G./Wilson, Arthur D.

Privates: Hughling, Grady W./Humphrey, Welburn B./Hutchinson, R.R./Knight, Hulen D./Krepin, August D./Isaacks, Claude V./Langston, William/ Maberry, George E./Magill, J.D./McQueen, John K./Modgling, John H./Modgling, Sidney/Moore, Morris B./Morgan, O.T./Mullins, John A./Naler, james D./Oswalt, Curtis L./Parker, Owen W./Pedigo, Frank T.

Privates: Pedigo, S.L./Parmenter, Woodrow W./Pinkston, Clifford L./Reedy, Daron M./Sexton, Sam W./Sims, Otha E./Sirkel, Laurence F./Smith, Robert A./Stanley, Marion E./Stojanik, Jessie L./Stoke, James F./Taylor, Nelson W./Tedder, William G./Townsend, John A./Turland, Walter E./Wade, Randell W./Wall, Abner/Woolley, Joe

“Company I Memorial.” Belton Journal, September 10, 1987.

“To the Men of Company I, 143D Infantry, 36th Division (Belton,TX).”

U.S. Army. Center for Military History.” 36th Infantry Division.”

WWII Units Plan Memorial for Belton Guardsmen. Belton Journal, May 29,1986.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Photo by Denise Karimkhani, 12.6.2021

Photo by Denise Karimkhani, 12.6.2021

Photo by Denise Karimkhani, 12.6.2021

Photo by Denise Karimkhani, 12.6.2021