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John Lewis "Louie" Pitts
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Birth: Aug. 19, 1917
Death: Apr. 3, 2009

Wayne County News
Published Oct. 30, 2008

WCN Spotlight: Remembering The Sacrifices of Wayne County Veterans Pitts' bravery, faith carried him through battles, life's trials

By Sean Dunlap

For 91-year-old Louie Pitts, the memories of his experience during World War II in Africa, Europe and on the Normandy beaches on D-Day are probably still as fresh today as they were when they happened more than 60 years ago. And he sheds tears when he thinks about some of those unimaginable situations he and his fellow soldiers faced on those battlefields. After all, it would be hard not to become emotional when you consider Pitts — a Private First Class in the U.S. Army — was seriously wounded twice in April, 1943, and August, 1944. Pitts, a Wayne County native, said he can remember when he was drafted into the service in June, 1942. "I was not more than 20 years old, and I was out plowing one day," he said. "I remember seeing my mother come to me crying, and handing me the letter. I just sat down right there behind the plow where I was (in shock)." He, like other draftees, headed to Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg before being sent to Virginia for 13 weeks of basic training during July and August, 1942. Following that training phase and as he prepared to leave on a troop ship headed overseas as part of the Army's Ninth Division, 39th Infantry, G Company, Pitts was presented with a Bible, which became one of his most treasured possessions. "As we got ready to go up the gangplank to the ship, we were handed a New Testament," he said. "Some didn't take one, but I wanted mine and I put it in my pocket." Pitts didn't realize it, but the little Bible that he had received would not only nourish his soul during the difficult days ahead, but would eventually save his life. "I carried it all the way through with me," Pitts said of that New Testament. €œWhen I was wounded in France (in the arm, leg and thigh), it was in my pocket and stopped one of the bullets that would have probably hit my heart." Pitts said while other pieces of shrapnel went through his body, one piece lodged in that Bible near his heart and landed at Psalms 91:7, which states — A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. That same Psalm goes on to read, "God says, I will save those who love Me and will protect those who acknowledge Me as Lord. When they call to Me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble, I will be with them. I will rescue them and honor them. I will reward them with long life; I will save them." The serious nature of Pitts' battlefield injuries in France required his transport to medical facilities in England. His family back in Wayne County was notified at the time was that he was missing in action, when he was, in reality, in the hospital receiving critical care attention. "I have lived by the Bible, and the 91st chapter of Psalms," Pitts said. "It's been the basis for what I have believed all these years." Pitts was also wounded earlier in his military deployment while in Africa, but would return to action and be a part of the D-Day invasion of France. He related tales of getting into the landing craft, facing an endless barrage of German artillery and small arms fire, and navigating his way through the numerous bodies strewn along the beach and in the water. "I don't remember ever crying while I was in the service," Pitts said as he wiped back tears. "I can still remember what I saw, what I smelled and what I heard ... it is with me every day, especially when I lay down to rest. You can't help but think about it. "I remember the bullets and all the shells on D-Day, and a shell landing in the middle of the boat. The Germans were really raining everything they had on us. Pitts was active during his time in the service, taking on numerous reconnaissance missions, including some that were considered "suicide missions" — noting that he would probably not return, but he did. He also was in the same theater of action — the Belgian Bulge — as U. S. Gen. George Patton. "I didn't get all that close to him, but he was there," Pitts said. "I was proud to serve my country, but was even more glad when I was able to finally come home." His service netted him a Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster, three Bronze Stars, a Four Leaf Clover, the Combat Infantry Badge, Battle Star, Combat Medal and Infantry Medal Badge. His name is also included on the Wall of Liberty monument dedicated to American soldiers who were part of the D-Day invasion of the European continent. At the end of the war, he was discharged from a Memphis, Tenn., hospital in August, 1945, and he returned to Wayne County. He met Inell Poore of Jasper County at an ice cream parlor in Laurel, and the two eventually fell in love, got married and had six children — five daughters and a son — while making their home locally. She passed away about two years ago after 62 years of marriage. In reflecting on the upcoming Veterans Day observance, Pitts fought back tears when he noted the significance of the occasion "It's a time to remember those who came back, as I was blessed to be able to," he said. "And a reminder that we can't forget those who didn't make it back ... they gave it everything they had."

Wayne County News
Mr. John Lewis "Louie" Pitts, 91, a native of Wayne Co. and resident of Waynesboro, MS, died Friday, April 3, 2009, at Wayne General Hospital in Waynesboro, MS. He was retired from Masonite Corporation. Mr. Pitts attended Maynor Creek Assembly of God Church & Liberty Baptist Church. He served in U.S. Army and was a Veteran of WWII. His battles and campaigns include Northa Africa, Normandy and Northern France Campaigns. He has the following Decorations and Citations- the E.A.M.E Campaign Medal, Three Bronze Battle Stars, Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge. Mr. Pitts was wounded in action on April 30, 1943 and August 5, 1944 in European Theatre. He had 3 passions in life- God, Family and Country. Mr. Pitts is survived by his Son- Travis (Wilma) Pitts, Laurel, MS; 5 Daughters- Carolyn (L. C.) Livingston, Laurel, MS, Beverly Waites, Hattiesburg, MS, Elizabeth (Charles) Freeman, Waynesboro, MS, Jeanell (Bobby) Shows, Soso, MS, Alicia Butler, Waynesboro, MS; Sister- Lois Street, Waynesboro, MS; Brother- Tom Pitts, Waynesboro, MS; 10 Grandchildren and 13 Great-Grandchildren.

 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Allen Pitts (1880 - 1968)
  Caroline Elizabeth Martin Pitts (1880 - 1957)
 
 Spouse:
  Inell Poore Pitts (1928 - 2006)
 
 Children:
  Nancy Elizabeth Pitts Freeman (1952 - ____)*
 
 Siblings:
  Dan Pitts (1898 - 1972)*
  Lorena Pitts Tiner (1900 - 1960)*
  Charlie Pitts (1902 - 1902)*
  Vennie Pitts (1904 - 1947)*
  William Pitts (1906 - 1982)*
  Johnie Pitts (1908 - 1908)*
  Ollie Mae Pitts Boyles (1910 - 2006)*
  Vardaman Pitts (1913 - 2000)*
  John Lewis Pitts (1917 - 2009)
  Thomas Griffin Pitts (1919 - 2012)*
  Lois Pitts Street (1921 - ____)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Maynor Creek Assembly of God Church Cemetery
Whistler
Wayne County
Mississippi, USA
 
Maintained by: Gwen Langley Pittman
Originally Created by: Patricia Langley Harvey
Record added: Jan 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32866573
John Lewis Louie Pitts
Added by: Gwen Langley Pittman
 
John Lewis Louie Pitts
Added by: Gwen Langley Pittman
 
John Lewis Louie Pitts
Added by: Patricia Langley Harvey
 
 
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- Michael Hollingsworth
 Added: Mar. 2, 2011

- Marian and Richard--Rest in Peace
 Added: Feb. 28, 2011

- Patricia Langley Harvey
 Added: May. 23, 2009
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