|Birth: ||Jan. 15, 1923|
|Death: ||Jun. 19, 1944|
Pvt. Oliver was a member of Company A, 300th Engineers Combat Battalion. He was trained at Camp White near Medford, Oregon. The Battalion was commanded by Major Reil Crandall, and consisted of about 800 young men, mostly 18 to 21 years old, who came from Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. During their training they learned how to build bridges, and had bazooka training, they learned that they would be expected to hold both a shovel and a rifle. Other training included map reading, scouting, patrolling, radio operation, tank and aircraft identification, first aid, infiltration and courses in improvising with whatever was available as it was needed to support a mission.
At the end of their training, they traveled to the east coast to begin their trip to Europe aboard the 'Queen Mary' which was being used as a troop ship. The trip began on December 3, 1943, out of New York Harbor. The crossing of the Atlantic took five days, and the group was landed at Gourock, Scotland.
On June 6, 1944, the invasion of Europe by the Allied forces began with the landing on Normandy Beaches. The 299th Engineers went with the landing forces, and the 300th was held in reserve. At that time the 300th Combat Engineer Battalion was attached to 1110th and First Army under the command of Major John Tucker.
Over the next few days, the 300th was divided into three separate echelons. On June 16, the First Echelon was transported by LST-87 (landing craft) to Utah Beach, Normandy, and began the task of clearing minefields in the area of Carentan. The Third Echelon was transported on June 27th also to Utah Beach and was later able to meet up with the First Echelon about 8 miles north of Carentan.
On D-Day+13, Pvt. Oliver was aboard the "Second Echelon" being transported on June 19, 1944, by the landing craft LST-523. Approximately one-third of the men and equipment of the 300th Engineer Battalion were aboard the landing craft headed to Utah Beach when it struck a German mine, and sunk off the coast of France. Of the 195 enlisted men and six officers on the LST, more than ninety of the 300th lost their lives that fateful day and more than another 90 were either wounded or missing in action. By June 30, only 40 survivors had returned to duty. Many wounded never returned to action due to the severity of their injuries. Others were never accounted for. Of the 145 Navy seamen also on board LST-523, 117 lost their lives.
Pvt. Joe D. Oliver lost his life, and his body was never accounted for. He is Memorialized at Normandy American Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer, France. In 1958, his mother applied for a military headstone to be placed in his memory in the Charleston Cemetery. When she died in 2007, she was buried in this cemetery, as is Pvt. Oliver's father.
Pvt. Joe D. Oliver
Service No. 38432042
U. S. Army
300th Engineer Combat Battalion
Awards: Purple Heart
Status: Killed in Action
**Note: Also on this landing craft were Lenoy R. Anglin and Earl B. Reynolds. Delta County lost three young men in this tragic incident.
James Floyd Oliver (1898 - 1958)
Nell Ann McGuyer Oliver (1903 - 2007)
Created by: Veterans Researcher
Record added: Jul 15, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 113864079