Welcome to VZW's Tribute to the 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
9th Infantry Division Tribute
Starlin H. Hughes and Friends
(Photo Courtesy of Carson B. "C.B." Baker, of Johnson City, Tenn.)
This photo is courtesy of T-3 Sgt. Carson B. "C.B." Baker, of Johnson City, Tenn., who served as a medic in the 47th Infantry Regiment during World War II.

The photo shows former 47th Infantry Regiment commander George W. Smythe, left, and the 47th Infantry Regiment's Lt. Col. James D. Johnston, right, in the rear. The five soldiers in front are unknown.

Brig. Gen. Lewis "Chip" Maness, retired, of Rockledge, Fla., who assumed command of the 47th's 2nd Battalion in Germany shortly after the Normandy and Northern France campaigns, was ranked captain on June 22, 1944, when Johnston was severely wounded in action.

Johnston died a few days following the drive to envelop the critical port city of Cherbourg, France. Johnston was wounded from a German 88mm shell at Crossroads 114 near Acqueville and Le Motel.

Maness was serving as Johnston's S-3 operations officer and was standing a few feet away from the lieutenant colonel when he was wounded.

"We had taken a house on a crossroads and Johnston wanted to use that as an observation post," Maness recalled. "Johnston said to me, 'I want to go back and get some tanks.'

"I said, 'We don't have any tanks attached to us.'

"He said, 'I am going back and find some'

"And when he stepped out the door of that house, an 88 round came in right at his footsteps, killing the artillery liaison officer from the 84th Field Artillery. He was with Johnston and they were both hit at that crossroads just outside Cherbourg. I was inside the house when that 88 cam in. Johnston's stomach was cut open pretty badly. I called the medics, and the medics came up and got him and took him off. The other man was already dead. I knew Johnston wasn't going to live after I saw the wound, but we got the medics up there as quickly as possible. We heard that he died in the hospital a few days later.

"Johnston was one of my dearest friends," Maness said. "He was a courageous man and a great leader and he loved his men and would do anything in the world for them. He was always out there in front with them. Johnston was one hell of a good battalion commander."

Lt. Col. James D. Johnston, of North Carolina, died Thursday, June 29, 1944. He is buried in Plot E, Row 26, Grave 37, at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer above Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, which maintains the breathtaking 172.5-acre Normandy cemetery and other memorials and cemeteries in Europe, approximately 461 of 9,386 graves belong to 9th Infantry Division soldiers in the cemetery overlooking "Bloody Omaha."

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596th Signal Support Co., 97th Signal Battalion
47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
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