315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division
Plot C, Row 24, Grave 39
2ndLt. Dean Woods married his wife, Thelma, a second-generation Japanese woman, while on leave in the spring of 1944. The couple was unable to marry in their home state of Nebraska due to anti-miscegenation laws, so the ceremony took place in Iowa. Two weeks later, Woods was deployed with the 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division for D-Day preparations.
On July 21, after leading a small reconnaissance patrol across the Aye River near LeSaye, Woods and his regiment came upon a minefield. As the regiment attempted to crawl through the field, Woods detonated a German anti-personnel mine, seriously injuring himself. To keep his men from suffering the same fate, Woods told them not to follow him. Due to the minefield, the men were unable to retrieve the body immediately and Woods was declared missing in action until the area was cleared and Woods’ body was found.
Awards: Purple Heart
Dean A. Woods is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot C, Row 24, Grave 39.