REGINALD C. EARP-JONES

Flight Lieutenant | Royal Rhodesian Air Force

Throughout his life, Louis never spoke of his service, instead locking those difficult memories with the rest of the mementos from his life in the Army in an old steamer trunk that sat tucked away in the house.  His best qualities might have been forgotten along with his career in the Army - he was a distant father, belligerently demanding to see his daughter in the middle of the night after a few drinks had their desired effect, and had worked his way through at least three marriages, a couple of which were no longer than a few years.

 

His daughter never heard details of his 69 months overseas – over half of which were in combat – how in both World War II and Korea he never hesitated under fire and boldly faced the fray when he was most needed.  Twice he was decorated for life saving, and there are undoubtedly more instances of good deeds on his part that are not documented and have faded away to time as he suppressed them and tried to forget, tucking them away along with the few precious items he kept in his footlocker.

Even before joining the service, Louis’ life was tumultuous.  Army life, at least, provided stability and at most times, was predictable.  Louis Sr. worked as a lineman for the railroad, trying to support his wife, Willie, twelve years younger than he, and their two children, Louis and his sister Mildred.  When Louis was twelve, Mildred being fourteen, she was already married and died tragically from an accidental gunshot wound.  Within two years, both his parents were remarried.

 

Louis finally found a stable home in the Army in 1935 and within five years was earning a solid $372 dollars per month with the rank of Private First Class.  If he made Sergeant, he could nearly double that number, which seemed to be an extraordinary amount to be earning coming out of the depression.  The advent of the armored forces provided Louis with the opportunity to excel, and he had earned his stripes before sailing to Ireland and on to North Africa with the 1st Armored Division on May 10, 1942.

Sources:

Vaughan, Curry N, et al. Mud, Mountains, and Armor: The 1st Armored Division From Rome to the Alps. 1949, Mud, Mountains, and Armor: The 1st Armored Division From Rome to the Alps.

United States, War Diary – 24th Infantry Division Unit War Diaries, Department of the Army, 1950.

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