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CWO Quincy McKithan- 36th Aero Squadron WWI, HQ 36th Infantry Division Artillery WWII

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Hey everyone, as I go through and research the pile of things I picked up at the big show I hope to complete and share their stories.

Today I have the uniform set of Chief Warrant Officer Quincy Claunch McKithan, a two-war veteran and lifelong soldier. Born in February of 1898 in Forth Worth, Texas, McKithan grew up the son of a farmer watching the Texas town grow into a mighty industrial area. As he matured he found fascination with the changing technologies in his life, particularly automobiles, and picked up some handy technical skills working on them. In 1917, the excitement of war hit McKithan and with it, the desire to serve. In March of 1918 he enlisted with the United States Army and due to his technical mindset, was assigned as to the new Aviation Corps as a mechanic in the 36th Aero Squadron. He would train at Kelly Field near San Antonio working on JN-4 Jenny’s before being shipped to France where he would join the rest of the squadron in May. Overseas he worked at Cazaux Aerodrome, home of the French Aerial Gunnery School, and worked to maintain the overseas detachment of American military aircraft. His work would continue to support the American flyers until he returned home and was discharged on 11 April, 1919.

In the postwar years McKithan settled down, married his sweetheart, and started a career as car mechanic just outside of Fort Worth. Life was pretty slow and regular for the next twenty or so years but as a certain foreign dictator’s speeches began to plague his radio and the changing borders of Asia plastered the newspaper front pages, McKithan once again felt the call to serve. On 25 November, 1940 McKithan signed up to serve with the Texas National Guard. Attached as the Staff Sergeant to Battery B, 133rd Artillery Regiment, McKithan trained his fellow Texans in the usage of the M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzers, leading them on field exercises and through the growing period of activity leading up to Pearl Harbor. Once the attack hit that fateful December morning, however, everything changed. On 2 February of 1942 the Texas National Guard was once again reorganized into the 36th Infantry Division, or “T-Patchers.” Noted by his commanders for his technical handywork and training skills, McKithan was reassigned as a Warrant Officer Junior Grade in the Artillery Headquarters of the entire 36th Division. When the division shipped out to the European theater in 1943, McKithan was right alongside them. Landing in French North Africa on 13 April, 1943, McKithan spent the next few months finishing up the training of the division artillery in preparation for the inevitable combat ahead.

Sure enough, within a few months this combat began. On 5 September, 1943 McKithan and 247 other division personnel boarded the USS ANDROMEDA AKA-15 inbound for the invasion of Italy. Making her way offshore by 8 September, at 0730 the next morning she began sending men and material towards the shore. McKithan likely landed sometime around noon or late morning on the sands of Salerno, acting fast to organize the distribution of equipment and men on the beaches. As the Texans pushed up the beach and secured the initial landing sites, McKithan and the others tried to get together some sort of tangible command structure. For the next few days this was his role and as the division settled into the campaign, he once again rejoined fully in his job as a head-trainer and general warrant officer for the division artillery. McKithan served in this capacity for the remainder of the war, overseeing operations from Salerno to Southern Germany.

In April of 1945 he received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant at the age of 47. As the war came to a close and the division prepared to return home, McKithan was recognized for his long-standing meritorious service, and for exemplary action in performing his duties he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

Rather than return immediately with the division, however, McKithan stayed as a staff officer with US Army Europe for several years, was promoted to captain in 1951, and even awarded the Army Commendation Medal. In 1953 he finally returned to Texas and joined the Transportation Corps of the Army Reserve. Upon reaching Chief Warrant Officer W-4 in 1959, McKithan began to wind down his army career and retired in May of 1960. He left for his Fort Worth home and lived out the rest of his days under the hot Texas sun until his death at the ripe age of 84.

McKithan is a great example of who made up the US Army command-level staff, particularly in the national guard divisions. A WWI aviation veteran turned artillery expert, McKithan played an important role in the day-to-day operations of the 36th Division artillery forces throughout their entire European campaign. This uniform consists of his summer-weight khaki jacket and pants (which I don’t have on hand as they are being clened) and are likely the ones he used during his service in the latter half of the war and in the early occupation period. Ironically, the manufacturer, Washer Brothers, marks the uniform as coming from Fort Worth as well.






McKithan and Co B of the 133rd in 1940

Jenny’s at Kelly Field

LCVPs from the ANDROMEDA at Salerno which took McKithan ashore

GEN. David R. Atchinson- MO State Guard              ACW

PVT. John H. Drury- Co. A, 27th Ky IR                      ACW               Died of Typhoid

PVT. Henry E. Thomas- Co. I, 17th Ky IR                  ACW

PVT. Joseph E. Drury- Co. E, 356th IR, 89th ID       WWI                WIA

SGT. Edward P. Drury- 51st QM Training Co.           WWII

PFC. Delmer C. Koonter- Co. I, 142nd IR, 36th ID    WWII              WIA

SC3c Michael C. Drury- LCS (L) (3) 70                     WWII

SGT. Steven D. Koonter- 5th Cav, 1st Cav Div         Vietnam

SGT. John M. Drury- 227th AVN Bn. 1st Cav Div     Vietnam


Contact me with items from the 36th Infantry Division or any IDd uniforms of European Theater Infantry Divisions

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