Headquarters Staff of the 124th Infantry Regiment on Morotai,
Netherlands East Indies, in 1945. (Photo provided by Marion Hess;
identifications by Dr. Thomas M. Deas)
Front Row (L to R): Lt Col Burns (Executive Officer), Col Edward
M. 'Ted' Starr (Commanding Officer), Lt Col George D. 'Pappy'
Williams (CO 3rd Battalion), Lt Col Robert Fowler (CO 2nd Battalion),
and Maj (later Lt Col) Wilbur Koonce (CO lst Battalion).
Back Row (L to R): Maj Lacedonia (Regimental Supply Officer), Maj
Becker (Regimental Operations Officer), and Maj Thomas M. Deas
Dr. Deas wrote:
This picture was taken in late February 1945, or early March 1945, on
Morotai, NEI before we went to the Philippines. Koonce (front row,
right, identified as "Koanert?") was Wilbur Koonce. He was still a
Major and had just been transferred to C.O. of 1st Battalion, and
Lacedonia had just come in to take over for Koonce as S4. Wilbur
Koonce was my roommate on Morotai until he was promoted and took over
the 1st Battalion. He came to one of our reunions once, but he was S4
before he was promoted and didn't have much to do concerning Medics.
He was a good fellow, a Chemical Engineer who helped develop
Masonite, the boarding that was used in kitchens and bathrooms. He
was from Laurel, Mississippi, originally from South Carolina. He was
slick bald headed on most of his head and we called him "Curley
Koonce." Everyone liked him. He was 1st Bn C.O. in the Philippines.
I believe that this was the occasion for Lt. Col. Williams getting
his Distinguished Service Cross for his
action and work
as 3rd Bn C.O. in New Guinea. He was called "Pappy" by all, even
the lowest Pvt, and was quite a character. A lawyer from Birmingham,
Alabama, and a darn good and loved C.O. and smart. He died during the
Korean Campaign as a Bird Col., but not in combat at that time.