Frank A. Garrity
Tech 5 Frank A. Garrity, was killed in action in Europe on December 17th, 1944, just nine days before his twenty-fifth birthday.
It was 17 December, a cold, cloudy, miserable day. The artillery battery that was supporting the recon platoon started to fire on LIXING so that they would have the proper setting for their 105’s in case they were needed. The artillerymen called it “zeroing in.” But it also alerted the Germans who were seen moving into defensive positions. Meanwhile the recon platoon began checking everythingmthat was not necessary to carry, such as billfolds, letters or anything that might give information to themmenemy in-advent of capture. At 1445, Lieutenant David Fleming moved his patrol down into the valley.mSo as to facilitate communication, a telephone and “walkie-talkie” were taken along by the platoon. Themtelephone later proved to be godsent; although it was hard for Mike Weiss to creep along protectingmhimself and stringing the wire behind him. Charlie Hall had the “walkie-talkie” but would have it shot outmof his hands early in the action.
As the platoon started down into the valley, Bob Harrell said to Austin “Smitty” Smith, an old timer ofnthe platoon who had been with Harrell since Camp Chaffee, “Buddies to the end, huh, Smitty?” They shook hands and Smitty answered, “Yes, Harrell, Buddies to the end.”
The lead Scouts were Robert Turney and Frank Garrity. At 1530 the first German shot was fired, and then they opened up with massive small arms fire from the windows, catching the platoon in an exposed position just outside the town. They were pinned down. Turney and Garrity were near the first house, and to get there they had to cut through a barbed wire entanglement. Turney started cutting, then they made a dash for the house; Garrity was hit through the leg and in the stomach, but they made it. They laid in silence so as not to draw additional German fire. Meanwhile Robert Starcevich who was near “Smitty” decided to try for a safer spot. As he raised up, an enemy round went through his head - no pain, just instant death.
When darkness finally came, the medics were able to inch down the hill with stretchers. All wounded and dead were carried back up the hill except Garrity. When it turned dark, Turney, who was clutching a hand grenade minus its safety pin, crawled over to where Garrity lay and shook him. The big man was dead. Turney tried to carry his buddy; he was too heavy. When, finally, Turney made it back to friendly lines, a nail was slipped in where the safety pin had been, and his fingers one by one were pried from the grenade. He had a death grip on it for hours. Garrity’s body remained in LIXING. That was the only body that did not return. The Germans probably buried him and left no record of his grave.
Source: From The Super Sixth by George Hofmann.
The picture of the current Mayor of Lixing, at the ripe old age of 14 months, with his hand on Frank's cross.
STATEMENT of the Priest of Lixing-les-Rouhling concerning a buried American soldier in Lixing-les-Rouhling.
On night of 17th Dec. 1944, about 5 p.m. an American Patrol, nearly 15 men, came from the direction of ROUHLING, along a hill towards the first houses of our village.
About 100 yards before, they made an artificial moon, while 3 or 4 American soldiers ran to the garden of the first house (isolated from the others) and intended to hide behind the wall. But, on the other side of the village, were German soldiers who fired on and wounded mortally one of these American soldiers, while one other was only slightly wounded.
This last one was able to join the group of his comrades hidden in the hedges of the hill, while the other (the dead soldier) remained in the garden which surrounded the house. It is what ocular witnesses of Lixing-les-Rouhling related to me. The dead remained 2 or 3 days in the garden. No one could go out of the cellars to bury him. At last, the German soldiers buried him, about 40 yards from the spot where he fell. According to their statement he wore 2 ( illegible) one of common black color, another white color, of greater value. The German soldiers took the last one and put the other on the grave.
A few days after, the inhabitants of the village put a cross on the grave. I, personally, on the day of the liberation, recited the burial prayers, and on the anniversary day of our liberation, the whole population, in procession, honoured solemnly this soldier killed for us.
Signed: The Priest, Simeon SCHREIBER
A civilian (illegible) farmer
The Secretary of the Mairie: P. VERNET
Frank A. Garrity
Technician Fifth Class, U.S. Army
Service # 32249402
9th Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division
Entered the Service from: New York
Buried at: Plot A Row 10 Grave 15
Ardennes American Cemetery
Awards: Bronze Star, Purple Heart