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

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Davis, James T.


Rank: Private First Class
Serial Number: 34520347
Military Branch: Co. B 323rd Infantry, 81st Division
Origin: Tennessee
Date of Death: 1944-11-13
Featured: No

James Davis was born June 5, 1919 and was killed in action on Peleliu Island on November 13, 1944. The 81st had relieved the Marines in October. Davis received the Bronze Star for action on October 22, 1944. The group includes his posthumous officially engraved slot brooch Purple Heart and officially engraved posthumous Bronze Star, including ribbon bars and presenation cases. Also included is a letter of condolence from a Tennessee Conressman.

The Bronze Star citation from GO 139 dated December 30, 1944 (included in group)reads as follows:

"Private James T. Davis(Army serial No. 34520347), Company B, 323rd Infantry, United States Army. For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy on Peleliu Island, Palau Group, 22 October 1944. When two men of his platoon were wounded by enemy mortar fire, Private Davis volunteered to assist in an attempt to evacuate them. With complete disregard for his personal safety and while subjected to enemy mortar fire, Private Davis succeeded in reaching the wounded men and assisted in evacuating them safely."

 

The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, taking place between September and November 1944 on the island of Peleliu. The U.S. Forces, originally consisting of only the 1st Marine Division, later relieved by the Army's 81st Infantry Division, fought to capture an airstrip on the small coral island. U.S. Major General William Rupertus, commander of 1st Marine Division, predicted that the island would be secured within four days, but due to Japan's well-crafted fortifications and stiff resistance, the battle lasted for over two months. The battle remains one of the war's most controversial, due to its questionable strategic value and high death toll. When considering the number of men involved, Peleliu had the highest casualty rate of any battle in the Pacific War.

General Geiger decided to evacuate the entire 1st Marine Division, to be replaced by more 81st troops. The 323rd Regimental Combat Team landed on October 15, and by the third week of October, most all of the Marines had been evacuated back to Pavuvu. The Army troops headed off to battle the remaining Japanese on Bloody Nose Ridge, fighting it out for another month before finally securing the island. It was during this time that PFC Davis was killed in action. The 81st lost 542 dead and 2736 wounded in this action.