103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION
103d Infantry Division History: World War II
The following databases lists the 848 members of the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) who were Killed In Action, Died of Wounds, Died Non Battle, or Finding of Death. The database files, in Microsoft Excel and PDF formats, are the result of a Total Study of all 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) soldiers Killed In Action. In addition to the Total Study, there are databases of only those soldiers who are buried in foreign cemeteries and soldiers who were repatriated back to the United States.
So as to facilitate research, current and future, there are databases of the Total Study of deaths during the war by name and by unit and date of death.
Additionally, the databases list the Rank, Serial Number, Home State, Date of Death, the Official Finding of the soldier's death, (i.e. KIA ((Killed In Action)), DOW ((Died of Wounds)), or NBD ((Non-battle Death))), Awards (See Explanation of Award list and Abbreviations below), Cemetery, and in the case of foreign cemeteries, the Grave Location.
Information on these databases was thoroughly vetted through research of the Casualty Reports, Morning Reports, 103d Infantry Division General Orders, American Battlefield Monuments Commission, National Archive & Records Administration, and the publication "THE TRAIL OF THE CACTUS."
For an explanation of AWARD ABBREVIATIONS and how the awards are listed on these databases, CLICK HERE.
The following information was compiled by Tim O’Gorman, Director, U. S. Army Quartermaster Museum, and Dr. Steve Anders, Quartermaster Command Historian. A special thanks is given to those who have served in the Graves Registration units; they are special people who are all dedicated to rendering the utmost respect for all those in the service who have fallen for whatever reason. God Bless them one and all for their service to the soldiers and families.
During WWII, Graves Registration Units were responsible to identify and bury soldiers who were killed. The soldier’s personal effects were very carefully collected, cataloged and returned to their loved ones back home. More often than not, soldiers of the Graves Registration Unit had to work close to the front line.
Officers and senior non-coms had to have experience in civil engineering and topographical drafting so as to provide them the essential expertise to locate and layout cemeteries. The remaining members of the Graves Registration Unit were trained to supervise the collection and burial of the deal. The units did not have sufficient personnel to dig graves or transport the dead. These tasks were performed by Quartermaster service and transportation units. Upon burial, the location was registered on a report of interment and forwarded through channels to the Quartermaster General. The Graves Registration Unit was responsible for supervising burial of the dead, recording the grave location, and marking the graves. As part of their duties, the Graves Registration unit personnel collect, prepare receipts, and ensure personal effects of deceased soldiers are sent back to family members.
As soon as the battlefield is declared free from extreme danger, the key operative extreme, the units are allowed to enter the battle area and recover those who were pronounced dead by the Medical Corps. The bodies are moved to cemeteries designated by the division commander. Due to the potential for disease and to preserve morale, often it was necessary to perform hasty burials. In those cases, the Graves Registration leaders would provide a sketch of the grave location so that the body could be retrieved after the cessation of hostilities.
Every effort is made to identify the dead. Identification tags, or dog tags as they were commonly referred, made this task easy. Otherwise, identification was made from items that might be present on the body, such as letters. Other methods of identification include dental work, fingerprints, and sometime just the process of elimination, such as who was declared MIA. This was particularly the case where the body was badly mutilated.
The first thing that is done with battlefield deaths is referred to as the “Stripping Line.” This is where any munitions are removed. Also, great care is necessary due to enemy booby-traps that are placed under the bodies of dead soldiers. Personal effects are removed just before burial. They are placed in a bag or other container and tagged with the soldier’s name. These are then sent to Headquarters, Grave Registration Services with a complete inventory of everything taken from the body.
Great care is taken to ensure reverent and full respect for the dead, including burial. To this end, the services of a Chaplain might be obtained.
After the war, the next of kin, of those buried in foreign cemeteries, were given the option of having the soldier’s remains returned to the United States for interment at a national or private cemetery. The option also included leaving the soldier buried in the American military cemetery in the region where the death occurred. Today, however, those interred in American military cemeteries overseas is permanent as a provision of law terminated the authority of next of kin to have the remains repatriated. The ability to make the decision was terminated effective December 31, 1951.
What follows is a list of those soldiers who were repatriated. To the extent possible, by those researching the repatriation of 103d Infantry Division battle death remains, the location of the cemetery where the 103d veteran is buried is listed. Notice there are still some whose grave sites have not been determined. Should anyone have knowledge of where these soldiers were buried upon repatriation, please contact the Web Master with whatever information is available.
God Bless all those who paid the supreme price for the freedom of this great nation and whose actions also provided freedom for many who were under the oppression of the Axis forces.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.”
The following are lists of Battle Deaths incurred by the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus). The Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet file has 3 sheets; SHEET 1 for all deaths sorted by Last Name, First Name and Middle Initial. SHEET 2 is sorted by Unit and Date of Death. Thus one conducting research into Battle Deaths can quickly locate all Battle Deaths incurred by a particular unit. SHEET 3 is sorted by Date of Death and Unit thus allowing for a quick view of when Battle Deaths occurred and cross reference those dates with Unit Operation Narratives to determine what combat operations were ongoing on those dates.
Battle Deaths - Sheet 1, Sheet 2, and Sheet 3 Excel
Battle Deaths - Last Name, First Name, & MI (Sheet 1) PDF
Battle Deaths - Unit & Date of Death (Sheet 2) PDF
Battle Deaths - Date of Death & Unit (Sheet 3) PDF
Established by Congress in 1923, The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) purpose is to commemorate the service, achievements, and sacrifice of United States armed forces. There are 24 overseas military cemeteries, and 25 memorials, monuments, and markers. Nearly all the cemeteries and memorials specifically honor those who served in World War I or World War II.
The sacrifice of more than 218,000 U.S. servicemen and women is memorialized at these locations. There are close to 125,000 American war dead buried at these overseas cemeteries. There are an additional 94,000 individuals commemorated on Tablets of the Missing. Tablets of the Missing are war dead who are listed as missing in action, lost or buried at sea. Also listed on the Tablets of the Missing are those whose bodies were non-recoverable or unidentifiable. All of the Tablets of the Missing are commemorated individually at the overseas cemetery closest to the region where the death occurred. There are also three Tablets of the Missing memorials in the United States.
The following documents the numbers of 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) soldiers who are buried in each American Cemetery. Tables list Cactus veterans by unit in each cemetery.
St. Avold, France
Epinal (Vosges), France
Draguignan (Var), France
Should you have an update on any individual listed on this table, please feel free to contact us through our Contact page. (CLICK HERE)
MASTER HONOR ROLL
Honor Roll of 103d Veterans
Through an exhausting effort of former 103d Infantry Division World War II Association President, Mel Wright, a comprehensive Master Honor Roll was put together listing veterans who have passed away. The list is sorted in three manners; by name, by unit, and by date of death, if known. These men all fought gallantly to not only preserve the freedoms of this great nation, but to free others from the Axis tyranny under which they lived. Our nation is grateful for their service as is other nations that were conquered by the Nazis. God rest their souls.
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