506th Parachute Infantry Regt, 101st Airborne Division
Plot F, Row 17, Grave 42
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.
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.”
Awards: Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster
John R. Hale is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot F, Row 17, Grave 42.