96th Infantry Division Deadeyes Asssociation

Field Artillary Forward Observer   

 

   I was a forward observer with the 1st Battalion,  381st Regiment, from the 361st Field Artillary Battalion, 96th Division, in the rolling mountains above the beach on Leyte.  The enemy was scattered.  The Battalion was in a kind of circular defensive position.  Rifle fire pro and con was intermittent. 

   A knee mortar started landing shells in our area.  Sound of the propelling explosion coul;d be heard.  I had a concentration number in the general area.  I requested one gun, fired two rounds. Still mortar firing.  A Captain, Ed Ellison, said, "Move it left about 30 feet."  I did so; after the next round -  silence.

   Hours later, we moved up and came upon a Jap knee-mortar man.  He was staring with eyes open, settled back into a hole with a knee mortar in his hand.  There was  a big hole in his stomach.  A shell went through his stmach and dug out a hole behind him without tearing any other part of his body.  I took a picture, but my camera was lost when, at a later date, we had to abandon our trailer due to mud on Okinawa. 

   Capt. Ellison was killed in action on Okinawa.  He was a real officer; we used ot call him "Stonewall".