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John R. Hale

506th Parachute Infantry Regt, 101st Airborne Division

Corporal, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Washington

Died:

6/20/1944

Grave Location:

Plot F, Row 17, Grave 42

The 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment insignia.

Cpl. John R. “Peepnuts” Hale was a member of the 506thParachute Infantry Regiment of the 101stAirborne Division. His unit was the 1stDemolition Section of Regimental H.Q., a demolition section that was trained and assigned to demolish enemy targets behind the lines. They were ordered to secure or destroy the bridges over the Douve River during the Normandy Invasion of Europe in June 1944, a mission that cost the lives of many in the unit. This unit, the “Filthy Thirteen” was best known for a series of famous photos, which appeared in Stars and Stripes, showing members wearing mohawks and applying war paint to one another. The inspiration for this came from the unit's leader, Jake McNiece, who was part Choctaw.

Cpl. Hale (left) and Thomas Lonergan equipped with a parachute and donning the famous war paint and mohawks characteristic of the 'Filthy Thirteen' get ready to board their C-47.
Hale secures equipment before boarding his C-47 for Normandy.

Hale was killed attacking a machine gun nest on June 20. His fellow soldier, Pvt. C.J. Oleskiewicz, remembers: “He was right behind me. We were crawling across a field after getting a machine-gun nest. I heard a single shot, turned around and ‘Peepnuts’ was dead.”

The "Filthy 13" of the 101st Airborne Division prepares on night of D-Day at RAF Upottery, England. 5 June 1944.

Awards: Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster

John R. Hale is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot F, Row 17, Grave 42.