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Dean A. Woods

315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division

Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Nebraska

Died:

7/21/1944

Grave Location:

Plot C, Row 24, Grave 39

Dean's wife, Thelma Kohiro Woods.

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.

Capt. Hooper and the 79th Infantry Division escort German POWs out of Cherbourg. June 27, 1944.
GI of the 79th Infantry Division fires an M1 bazooka in the Lessay sector. July 18, 1944.

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. 

79th Infantry Division crossing a field in Lessay, France. July 18, 1944.

Awards: Purple Heart

Dean A. Woods is buried in Normandy American Cemetery Plot C, Row 24, Grave 39.