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FROM PEARL HARBOR THRU OPERATION VARSITY & BACK HOME AGAIN


BEAST

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(Due to the kindness of a fellow forum member, I was able to add this outstanding grouping to my collection. Many thanks to him for his patience!)

 

 

 

Earl E. Kirk

Headquarters Company, 17th Airborne Division

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Before the war, Earl Kirk was a truck driver and when he was drafted he took these skills with him, receiving the MOS of Mechanic Auto 014. Entering the service March 25, 194, he was assigned to the Coast Artillery Corps. In July of 1941, he left the continental US for an assignment in Hawaii. His most probable assignment was with one of the two CAC brigades in the Hawaiian Coast Artillery Command.

 

 

 

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Stationed at Schofield Barracks during the Japanese attack on the islands, he was most likely eating his Sunday breakfast when the attack began. Schofield Barracks and nearby Wheeler Field were attacked, Wheeler being bombed and Schofield being strafed. After the attack, the CAC prepared for an invasion.

Kirk remained in Hawaii until March 1943, when he returned to CONUS. He married Betty Nona Pierce while on leave, remaining in the US until November 1944.

 

 

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He sailed to Europe, arriving at the end of November 1944. At some point he was assigned to Headquarters, 17th Airborne Division participating in the three campaigns credited to the 17th ABN DIV, Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe.

 

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After the war in Europe ended, some personnel were assigned to other units. Most likely this is when T-4 Kirk was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps. In September 1945, he rejoined the division and was sent to Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts. The division was inactivated on September 16th and Kirk was sent to Camp Atterbury, Indiana for separation.

 

 

 

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After the war, Mr. Kirk returned to trucking from which he retired in 1978. He passed away on June 14, 1997.

 

 

 

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from findagrave.com

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Very nice grouping! I'm sure that not too many soldiers can claim to have been on the receiving end of enemy fire at Pearl Harbour and in the ETO!

 

Outstanding addition to your collection!

 

Rick

 

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Brian Dentino

A very nice grouping E. So, where in Indiana was Mr. Kirk from? Love the Ike.......nice to see one once in a while with the XVIII AB Corp patch with divisional combat patch on the right. Very nice set up to a well traveled soldier. Thanks for sharing this one with us, and congratulations on landing it!

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Very nice grouping! I'm sure that not too many soldiers can claim to have been on the receiving end of enemy fire at Pearl Harbour and in the ETO!

 

Outstanding addition to your collection!

 

Rick

 

Thanks Rick, I was really pleased to add this one!

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A very nice grouping E. So, where in Indiana was Mr. Kirk from? Love the Ike.......nice to see one once in a while with the XVIII AB Corp patch with divisional combat patch on the right. Very nice set up to a well traveled soldier. Thanks for sharing this one with us, and congratulations on landing it!

 

Thanks Brian! Mr. Kirk was born in Tipton, but after the war lived in the Anderson area. I still have more to research with this group. I have very few details on his service at Pearl, and want to nail down in which unit he served when he was there.

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Very neat group Beast. As Rick said, it's pretty crazy to think he was there during some of the 1st shots of the pacific and some of the last of the ETO.

 

JD

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Garandomatic

I think I saw this grouping in person months back, really liked it. It was one of those that I really wish I was able to pick up for sure, and it's great to se it here.

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There are a few more items included with this group, but one of the more interesting is this EM cap badge. I haven't seen a pin back version before.

 

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Very nice grouping indeed. Interesting (and somehow very odd) to see the PTO and ETO ribbons on the same uniform. It seems like he never added his campaign stars and/or invasion arrowhead to his ETO ribbon. You often see this with uniform groupings. The number of campaign stars on the ribbons does'nt always match the campaigns as listed on the service records...

 

Congratulations on landing this beautifull grouping

 

Kristof

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Corpsmancollector

Fantastic grouping with a very unique and illustrated history. Well done on acquiring it and being the new caretaker, it's a stunner!

 

Will

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Thanks to everyone for their comments! As I was researching this veteran, I was surprised how many Pearl Harbor Army vets were sent to the ETO. I thought they would have been sent as replacements to the Pacific, but the build up in Europe must have taken priority.

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Thanks guys! I am hoping to find some news articles about his service, but it appears that he moved around before the war. He was born in Tipton; in the 1940 census he is listed as living in Boone township, Madison County; but his address on his discharge is located in Noblesville, Indiana. Not sure which newspaper would have carried any articles about him.

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  • 1 month later...

I am still trying to research Kirk's service at Pearl Harbor. While googling around different accounts of the attack, I found this one from a veteran of the 25th ID.

 

"Corporal Steve Rula, company clerk in Company C, 27th Infantry didn't get too excited about an alert on November 27, 1941 that sent them to the field. But this alert was different. For the first time they were issued live ammo. Company C set up camp in tents near Ft. Shafter. The unit was assigned to guard the municipal water works, Hawaiian Electric power plant, railway station, and Honolulu docks against sabotage. On the morning of December 7, 1941 Corporal Rula, like many other Soldiers, was in the chow line when he noticed what he thought was the Navy taking anti-aircraft practice. Sergeant Earl T. Kirk a former artilleryman yelled, "Practice hell, practice shells make white smoke -- that's black!" Breakfast was over -- the war was on."

http://www.25thida.org/pearlharbor.html

Now I have searched NARA to see how many Earl T. Kirks were serving prior to December 7th, 1941 and none appear. That doesn't mean that Earl T. Kirk couldn't be shown as Earl Kirk, but there isn't an Earl Kirk with no middle initial that enlists prior to 1942.

So now what? Pull the morning report for Company C, 27th Infantry? That's possible, but does anyone have another suggestion? I have reached out to the 25th ID association, but haven't received an answer yet. I would like a few more clues before I send a researcher on a wild goose chase.

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  • 5 months later...

Well dang. Steve Rula who is quoted above, wrote about his wartime experiences in PEARL HARBOR: Before and Beyond: The Eyewitness Account of Steve Rula. In his book, he writes that the vet was Earl T. Girk, not Kirk. Back to the research drawing board!

 

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Could that have been a misprint on the last name?

That's what I was hoping, but Earl T. Girk shows up in the NARA records and the info matches.

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  • 3 months later...

With the 72nd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor being tomorrow, I thought I would bring this thread back to the top.

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