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Highlighting the World Wars I & II Memorabilia Collection of Dave Sleeper

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Byrd, James A. Jr.


Rank: Private
Serial Number: 3840442
Military Branch: Co. B 172nd Infantry, 43rd Division
Origin: Missouri
Date of Death: 1945-2-27
Manila American Cemtery
Featured: No

James Albert Byrd Jr. was born  October 8, 1924, the son of James and Martha Byrd, probably in St. Joseph, Missouri. He enlisted in the Army in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on April 20, 1943 at age 19.

At the time of his death on February 27, 1945, the 172nd was fighting in Luzon, and he was buried in the USAF Cemetery Manila #2 in Luzon. He was reinterred in the Manila American Cemetery, on September 24, 1949. The burial flag used in that ceremony was shipped to his father on September 26, 1949.

It is not known when he joined the 172nd Infantry, 43rd Division. The 172nd saw action in New Georgia, Solomon Islands in June, 1943, invaded New Guinea on August 7, 1944, and invaded Luzon in the Philippines at Linguayen Gulf on January 9, 1945. The 43rd Division unit history gives day to day battle information that showed the 172nd right in the thick of it. The history shows that a lot of replacements joined the 43rd shortly before Pvt. Byrd was killed. He may have been one of them. His date of death is shown in accompanying official paperwork as being February 27, 1945. However, the American Battle Monuments Commission site shows DOD as April 27, 1945. This has yet to be clarified, although the ABMC can be wrong.

Private Byrd's group includes his officially small machine engraved posthumous slot brooch Purple Heart with its presentation box, copies of official paperwork relating to his death, plus copies of internet research. The medal is somewhat burnished, so it looks dark in the picture.