363rd Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division
Plot E, Row 20, Grave 20
Col. Ollie William Reed and his son, 1stLt. Ollie W. Reed Jr. both served in U.S. Army infantry divisions during World War II. The elder Reed served in the U.S. Army during World War I. He was stationed on the Texas-Mexico border to guard against any raids by the Mexican revolutionary and bandit Pancho Villa, who had attacked U.S. Army forces in Columbus, New Mexico in 1916. His son was born in 1919. By March 1920, Reed was a 24-year old lieutenant with the 50thInfantry Regiment, stationed at Niedermendia, Germany, when his wife and one-year-old son, Ollie Reed Jr., visited.
For the next ten years, Col. Reed’s changes in duty assignments moved the family to many parts of the United States. By 1933, Reed Jr. became a cadet at Wentworth Military Academy in Missouri, where his father was stationed, and was soon accepted to West Point as an honor graduate.. Because of his military obligations, Ollie Junior. had little free time in his personal life. After graduation, he married Laura Sloman and the two had a son, Ollie W. Reed III, in January 1944. However, Ollie Junior would spend only a few brief months with his baby son before he and the 91stInfantry Division were shipped to French Morocco on April 18, 1944 for training.
By that time the elder Reed was promoted to colonel, and along with other soldiers of the 29thInfantry Division he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The division suffered heavy casualties on that day and throughout the month of June as it pushed towards its vital objective, the French town of St. Lo. After one commanding officer of the 175thRegiment was taken prisoner on June 11, and another was wounded on June 17, Ollie Senior was named as their replacement on June 23.
Meanwhile, Ollie Junior entered combat with the 363rdInfantry Regiment near Riparbella, Italy on July 4, 1944. On July 5, they were ordered to take a small hill in the mountains southwest of Chionni. As soon as they reached the hill, they were attacked by the Germans and hit with a heavy concentration of artillery fire. Ollie Junior was killed instantly on July 6 at the age of 25.
Three weeks later, on July 30, 1944, his father was on his way to visit the 2nd Battalion at the crossroads at Villavadon, France. When Col. Reed exited the vehicle, an artillery shell landed between him and the jeep. He received a severe wound in his right side and died from his injuries later that day. Col. Reed was the highest-ranking member of the 29thInfantry Division killed in action during World War II.
Two telegrams arrived in Kansas, notifying the wife and mother of her son and husband’s deaths. The telegrams arrived 45 minutes apart from one another. Father and son are buried side-by-side in the Normandy American Cemetery.
Awards: Purple Heart
Ollie William Reed Jr. is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot E, Row 20, Grave 20.