Summary

Dennis F. Blalock enlisted in the U.S. Army on 9 July 1941. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and entered active duty on 30 Sep 1942. During World War II, Dennis served as a unit commander with the 36th Division 'T-Patchers' (infantry), where he saw extensive action in the European Theater and was wounded three times (Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters). He was awarded a Silver Star (GO 73 Headquarters 36th Division 45) for gallantry in action during the Rapido River conflict in January 1944, and a Bronze Star for heroic action during the routing of a Nazi garrison near Haguenau, France, in March 1945. He received five battle stars and the following campaign medals: Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Naples-Foggia, Central Europe, Southern France, European, African, and Middle Eastern campaigns. Dennis served as an occupational mayor in Germany following the war, and was finally discharged from active duty on 31 Mar 1946. He continued to serve his country in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
At Retirement - Colonel 1
Rank:
End of WWII - Captain 1
Birth:
22 Dec 1917 1
New Roads, Pointe Coupee, Louisiana 1
Death:
24 Sep 1995 2
Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1
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Pictures & Records (13)

DennisFBlalock-SilverStar-citation.jpg
DennisFBlalock-SilverStar-citation.jpg
Dennis F. Blalock, Second Lieutenant (at the time), received the Silver Star for his gallantry in action during combat at the Rapido River. He was presented the award in the field by (despised) General Mark Clark. The photo also appears within these images. Residence prior to service is noted: Alexandria, Louisiana.
DennisFBlalock-InaccurateArticle.jpg
DennisFBlalock-InaccurateArticle.jpg
Here's proof that relying on news articles can corrupt your genealogic research. This news account of the Rapido River incident ran nationwide and is glaringly inaccurate. Dennis F. Blalock said the quotes were reversed in the article; he was who threw the pick over the river to run the wire. If we simply relied on this article, we would believe Dennis was crying over lost photos of his wife. At the time of this article, he was not married!
UpTheBoot.jpg
UpTheBoot.jpg
Mention the words Rapido River to a military man and you are likely to be greeted with a shudder. For an excellent account of the political shenanigans that led to this ill-advised operation, as well as detailed information about the battle, consult "A River Swift and Deadly," by Lee Carraway Smith.
DennisFBlalock-Newsclipping-GIJoe.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Newsclipping-GIJoe.jpg
From the scrapbook of Dennis F. Blalock: Dennis was awarded the Silver Star for his gallantry in combat during the fighting at Rapido River. He spoke infrequently about his service in WWII, explaining his reluctance with these words: "When you look into the eyes of the man you have to kill, you don't talk about it."
DennisFBlalock-Army-36thInfantry-BronzeStar-MarkClark.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Army-36thInfantry-BronzeStar-MarkClark.jpg
Capt. Dennis F. Blalock was presented the Bronze Star in the field by (despised) General Mark Clark for heroic achievement in combat while helping to rout out a Nazi garrison at Haguenau, Alsace, in April 1945. We have the Nazi flag that flew over this stronghold (signed by surviving members of Dennis' platoon within Fox Corps, 141st Infantry) and also tactical notes from the attack.
DennisFBlalock-Army-36thInfantry-BronzeStarCitation.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Army-36thInfantry-BronzeStarCitation.jpg
Dennis F. Blalock received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, a purple heart and two oak leaf clusters, and five battle stars for his service during World War II. Here is his Bronze Star citation for heroic actions while routing out a Nazi garrison near Haguenau, France, to free approximately 800 Jews.
DennisFBlalock-Army-swastika-expanded.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Army-swastika-expanded.jpg
This swastika flew over a German garrison by a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp system at or near Haguenau, France. It is signed by some of the members of Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, 36th Division, who attacked the garrison and liberated the camp.
DennisFBlalock-Army-swastika-signatures.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Army-swastika-signatures.jpg
Here is a closeup view of the swastika captured by Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, at a Nazi garrison that guarded a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp system at or near Haguenau, France. It was removed after Fox Corps liberated approximately 800 Jewish persons imprisoned there. A list containing all known information for the signatories appears in the "Stories" section.
DennisFBlalock-Army-NotebookPage-Jewish-sm.jpg
DennisFBlalock-Army-NotebookPage-Jewish-sm.jpg
Tactical notes made by C.O. Lt. Dennis F. Blalock, Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, 36th Division, before the attack on a Nazi garrison that guarded a concentration subcamp near Haguenau, France. The subcamp was part of the Natzweiler-Struthof system. Battle took place on 15 March 1945, and approximately 800 Jewish prisoners were liberated.
DennisFBlalock-AlexandriaTownTalk-BronzeStarAward.jpg
DennisFBlalock-AlexandriaTownTalk-BronzeStarAward.jpg
This newspaper article appeared in the Daily Town Talk, Alexandria, Louisiana, and describes an award ceremony for Dennis F. Blalock. Though the article states the photo was from his Bronze Star ceremony, it actually shows his Silver Star ceremony. The picture was apparently used a second time. Dennis was wounded once more after this article appeared, receiving a second oak leaf cluster for his Purple Heart. He also served as an occupational mayor in Germany after VE Day.
DennisFBlalock-RationStamps.jpg
DennisFBlalock-RationStamps.jpg
On the homefront: These unused ration stamps are from the scrapbook of Dennis F. Blalock. They were issued stateside to his sister, Rita Grace Blalock. Note the issue date of 30 July 1945, which is after V Day (8 May 1945), but prior to V-J Day (14 August 1945).
DennisFBlalock-VMail.jpg
DennisFBlalock-VMail.jpg
From the scrapbook of Dennis F. Blalock: Soldiers were sometimes fortunate enough to send V-Mail home to their family. In 1943, (then) Lt. D.F. Blalock wished his family in Alexandria, Louisiana, a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year with this song.
ThelmaStanboroughBlalock-headstone.jpg
ThelmaStanboroughBlalock-headstone.jpg
Col. Dennis F. Blalock was buried with full military honors. He is interred at Port Hudson National Cemetery, located in Port Hudson, Louisiana (Plot: I, 0, 389).
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Personal Details

Edit
Person:
Dennis F Blalock 1
Level of Education: After WWII - Four years of college 1
Level of Education: During WWII - One year of college 1
Marital Status: After WWII - Married Thelma R. Stanborough, two children 1
Marital Status: During WWII - Single, no dependents 1
Residence Prior to Service: Alexandria, Rapides, Louisiana 1
Birth:
22 Dec 1917 1
New Roads, Pointe Coupee, Louisiana 1
Death:
24 Sep 1995 2
Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1
Edit

World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
At Retirement - Colonel 1
Rank:
End of WWII - Captain 1
Service Start Date:
30 Sep 1942 1
Service End Date:
31 Mar 1946 1
Enlistment Location:
Fort Benning, Georgia 1
Service Number:
01294966 1
Awards:
SILVER STAR GO 73 Headquarters 36th Division 45, Bronze Star, Purple Heart plus 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, 5 Battle Stars 1
Campaign Medals:
Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Naples-Foggia, Central Europe, Southern France, and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaigns 1
Reissued:
Uncertain why Dennis received a new service number upon appointment to OCS 1

World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Tech 4th Gr. 1
Service End Date:
30 Sep 1942 1
Enlistment Date:
09 Jul 1941 1
Enlistment Location:
Jacksonville AAF Florida 1
Service Number:
34079156 1
Appointment to OCS:
Discharged as Tech 4th Gr; Reappointed as 2nd Lietenant 1

Other Service 1

Branch:
Army Reserve 1
Rank:
Colonel 1

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Stories

Mission Accomplished: Liberation near Hagueneau, France

In March 1945, C.O. Dennis F. Blalock led Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, 36th Division, forward to rout out a Nazi garrison near Hagueneau, France. Their mission was successful and they helped liberate approximately 800 Jews.

After overtaking the garrison, the swastika that flew overhead was torn down and the American flag was raised. Members of the conquering unit signed the swastika, a photo of which is posted here: http://www.fold3.com/page/641166987_dennis_f_blalock/photos/313183267/ . At full strength, Fox Corps would have included about 150 men. The signatures here could be from the platoon that initially entered the garrison with Dennis, or they could be from the command group of the unit. All currently known information about these individuals is included below. If you recognize one of these men and can provide further information, please let us know!

NAMES ON SWASTIKA – Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, 36th Division

CO 1st Lt Dennis F. Blalock – Born 22 Dec 1917. From Rapides Parish, Louisiana. Enlisted 9 Jul 1941. Single. College Student. Commanded H Company during Rapido River. Transferred to F Company in Feb 1944. Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart + 2 OL clusters, 5 Battle Stars. Died 24 Sep 1995 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is his Fold3 memorial: http://www.fold3.com/page/641166987_dennis_f_blalock/details/

Sgt Mario Confi – biographical information unknown

PFC Harold C. Wright – Born 1915. Entered service from St. Francois County, Missouri. Enlisted 18 Apr 1944. Married. 2 years of college. Semiskilled Aircraft Construction. Joined F Company in Nov 1944. Died 20 Feb 1998 in St. Louis, Missouri. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/89960362_harold_c%20wright/details/

PFC Robert H. Bruce – Born 1924. Enlisted 20 Apr 1944. Entered service from Pennsylvania. Married. High school graduate. Insurance Salesman. Joined F Company in Apr 1944. Bronze Star. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/87519238_robert_h%20bruce/details/

PFC Densil L. Fitzgerald – Born 23 Sep 1922. Entered service from Raleigh County, West Virginia. Enlisted 25 Nov 1942. Single. 2 years of high school. Unskilled Construction. Left F Company on 6 Aug 1945. Died 25 Sep 1981 in Raleigh County, WV. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/89076483_densil_l%20fitzgerald/

PFC Whitney – Entered service from Kentucky. Joined F Company in Jun 1944.

PFC Royden Victor Wagner Jr. – Born 18 Mar 1923. Entered service from Oregon. Joined F Company in Jun 1944. Died 14 Dec 1990 in Centralia, WA. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/90945590_royden_v%20wagner%20jr/details/

PFC Woodsie C. Gibbs – Born 10 Mar 1924. Entered service from Lilly, Wisconsin. Listed as LWA with F Company at Rapido River, 16 Jan 1944. Died 6 Jul 1999 in Lebanon, OR. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/629707830_woodsie_gibbs%20%20(1924)/details/

PFC Henry Arthur Whitman – Born 25 Apr 1921. Entered service from Pierce County, Washington. Enlisted 18 Nov 1943. Single. High School graduate. Sales Clerk. Joined F Company in Oct 1944. Died 30 Apr 2003 in Puyallup, WA. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/90861936_henry_a%20whitman/details/

PFC John George Mehalo – Born 16 Sep 1924. Entered service from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Enlisted 4 May 1943. High School graduate. Single. Joined F Company in Dec 1943 (same day as Mowen). Bronze Star. Died 25 Feb 2007 in McKees Rocks, PA. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/87349680_john_g%20mehalo/details/ 

Sgt Tech. William C. Henderson – Born 1922. Entered service from Caldwell County, Texas. Enlisted 25 Nov 1940 (National Guard). Single. 1 year of High School. Sales Clerk. Left F Company 19 May 1945. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/85346506_william_c%20henderson/details/

S Sgt Fred A. Ayers (Sea Gull) – Born 28 Jan 1914. Entered service from Bexar County, Texas. Enlisted 25 Nov 1940 (National Guard).Single. 3 years of High School. Kitchen Worker. Silver Star, Purple Heart. Died 25 May 1997 in Oklahoma. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/85345930_fred_a%20ayers/details/

PFC Theron Turner – Born 3 Feb 1920. Entered service from Massachusetts. Joined F Company in Nov 1944. Died 16 Aug 2000 in Waynesville, Missouri. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/623642100_theron_turner%20%20(1920)/details/

T/5 Herman Slay – Born 1 Apr 1916. Entered service from Ellis County, Texas. Enlisted 17 Jan 1941. Grammar School, no High School. Single. Died 3 May 1996 in Waxahachie, Texas. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/90195270_herman_slay/details/

PFC Preston J. Mowen – Born 12 Feb 1924. Entered service from Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Enlisted 5 Mar 1943. Single. 2 years of High School. Sales Clerk. Joined unit in Dec 1943 (same day as Mehalo). Bronze Star. Died 29 Sep 2008 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/87180984_preston_j%20mowen/details/

PFC Robert Neil DeRosa – Born 27 Feb 1922. Bronze Star. Died 31 Aug 1987 in Granada Hills, California. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/624174635_robert_derosa%20%20(1922)/details/

T/5 Raymond D. Currin – Born 10 Sep 1916. Entered service from Vance County, North Carolina. Enlisted 29 Nov 1942. Single. High School graduate. Farmer. Joined F Company in Mar 1943. Bronze Star. Died 6 Feb 2004 in Henderson, North Carolina. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/88058945_raymond_d%20currin/details/

T/4 Jackson Mitchell Erwin – Born 25 Feb 1919. Entered service from Palo Pinto County, Texas. Enlisted 21 Jan 1941. Single. 1 year of High School. Farm hand. Left F Company 16 Jun 1945. Died 8 Jan 1974 in Dallas, Texas. We believe this is the correct person: http://www.fold3.com/page/90195631_jackson_m%20erwin/details/

 

Many of the soldiers listed here also saw heavy action during the brutal Rapido River conflict in January 1944. Dennis F. Blalock commanded H Company at Rapido River and transferred to F Company thereafter. In F Company, Fred Ayers was the mess sergeant, John Mehalo and Preston Mowen saw action, and Woodsie Gibbs was lightly wounded during the Rapido River conflict.

 

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