31st Infantry Division - 'Dixie Division'

World War II Diary

of

Robert T. Webber

124th Infantry Regiment History

Personal Diary
 April 12 - June 28, 1945 


Name

Robert Thomas (Bob) Webber

Home of Record

2300 Belleview Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois

Army Service

28 Nov 1944 - 29 Nov 1946

Inducted at

Fort Sheridan, Illinois

Rank

Corporal - Technician Grade 5 (Tec 5)

Serial Number

36 925 893

Basic Training

Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas

Dec 1943 - Mar 1944

Combat Unit

F Company, 2nd Battalion

124th Infantry Regiment

31st Infantry Dixie Division

8th U.S. Army

Postwar Unit

Army Forces Western Pacific (1945-1946)

Overseas Tour

12 Apr 1945 - 30 Sep 1946

Degree

B.S., Chemical Engineering, Cornell, 1951

Employment

The Monsanto Company, 1951 - 1985

Interment

Monday, 9 February 1998

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

St. Louis, Missouri

Section YY, Site 339

Robert T. Webber in 1970

ROBERT THOMAS
WEBBER
TEC 5
US ARMY
WORLD WAR II
MAY 31 1926
FEB 4 1998
CUL GRANDPA BOB
73  KØMED

Headstone of Robert T. Webber, 28 December 2001

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In July 2000 I began searching for information about my father's service during World War II. I knew his Army unit and remembered some stories that he told me when I was young, but I knew little else. I searched the internet for information about the 31st Infantry Division and quickly found Marion Hess, whose husband served in the the 124th Infantry Regiment of the 31st Infantry Division during WWII. I also found Dr. Thomas M. Deas, MD, who was the 124th Infantry Regimental Surgeon during WWII. I learned from Marion Hess that the 31st Infantry Division reunion would be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on 24 August 2000. I attended the reunion and met Marion, who reminded me of my mother. Marion introduced me to Lou Hall, one of the "Boys of F Company," who remembered sharing a foxhole with Dad on Mindanao. Lou looked at me and said, "You look like your Dad."

The next day I drove to Missouri to visit relatives. I found Dad's diary while searching his personal effects at Mom's house in Saint Louis on 29-30 August 2000. I found it tucked inside a brown leather address book and calendar that he carried overseas. He wrote the diary in ink and pencil on looseleaf paper. It must have been difficult for him to keep the paper dry in the jungles of Mindanao. Dad's father, Michael Philip (Mike) Webber, was a Corporal in the 49th Company, 5th U.S. Marine Regiment in Europe during World War I. Grandpa Mike kept a war diary in the form of letters and postcards that he sent to loved ones from overseas. I think that Dad was influenced by his father's example.

I transcribed Dad's diary as he wrote it. My additions to his narrative are in square brackets [like this]. I used brown text for comments and quotations, and red italic text for reference links. Click on most pictures for a larger image.

I am indebted to my mother, Jean Webber, who helped me interpret Dad's diary; and to Marion Hess for her information about the 124th Infantry Regiment of the 31st Infantry Division; and to Doctor Thomas Malcolm Deas, MD, who shared his memories of combat during World War II. Tom Deas and some of his former medics provided invaluable assistance. Tom still calls his medics "my boys." I am honored to be included by Tom as one of his boys.

Bobby and Roy Webber in 1937 Bob Webber on Back Porch Left: Bobby Webber and his older brother Roy in front of Mueller & Son General Store and U.S. Post Office in Rockaway Beach, Missouri in 1937. Right: Bob Webber on the back porch at 2300 Belleview. Dad graduated from East St. Louis High School in May 1944. He wanted to join the Army Air Corps and become a pilot like his older brother Roy, but was not accepted. He was drafted into the Army on 28 November 1944 and inprocessed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He completed Infantry Basic Training at Camp Joseph T. Robinson near Little Rock, Arkansas in March 1945. Below (L to R): Dad's High School graduation portrait in May 1944, and his official Army photograph in March 1945, with the caption he wrote on the back:

Robert Webber in May 1944
May 1944

ROBERT THOMAS WEBBER
MARCH 1945   36925893
1ST LEAVE
FROM INFANTRY BASIC
CAMP ROBINSON, ARKANSAS
NOV '44 - MARCH '45

Private First Class Bob Webber after basic training in March 1945
March 1945

Dad told me that when he said good-bye to his family in March 1945, his parents Mike and Irene did not expect to see him again. He was assigned to Company O of the 2d Replacement Regiment at Fort Ord, California. From there he and his cohort shipped out of San Francisco as replacements for units already engaged in combat in the Pacific.

Paul M. Webber
30 August 2000

Reunion: WWII Medics of the 124th Infantry Regiment


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