331st Infantry Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division
Plot C, Row 16, Grave 33
Pvt. Kenneth Hatcher was a member of the 83rdInfantry “Thunderbolt” Division. As a young man from Pardeeville, Wis., Hatcher was 27 years old when he enlisted. He then had to say good-bye to his two young children, Kay and Donald, and his pregnant wife.
On July 4, 1944, the 83rdInfantry Division began an offensive along the Carentan-Periers road, with the entire division artillery in support. The assault against the German 17thSS Division and 6thParachute Regiment was costly; the Germans knew the routes the 83rdwould take, and fought from concealed positions dug beneath the hedgerows. The 83rdadvanced toward the Taute River in the pouring rain. On July 10, the 331stInfantry Regiment captured Sainteny, and on July 15, the 83rdregrouped along the Ays River. Their position put them on the front lines for what would be Operation Cobra.
Hatcher was a new replacement, arriving at the front lines on July 24. He was a strong, powerful man and carried a heavy Browning Automatic Rifle into combat. Operation Cobra began the next morning. Hatcher was killed on July 26 when the 331stInfantry Regiment was ordered to attack through a swampy area near Sainteny. He was hit by German machine-gun fire from a farmer’s field.
Awards: Purple Heart
Kenneth I. Hatcher is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot C, Row 16, Grave 33.