|Birth: ||Dec. 22, 1917|
Pointe Coupee Parish
|Death: ||Sep. 24, 1995|
East Baton Rouge Parish
Biography written by Evelyn Park Blalock. Please do not publish elsewhere without providing full and proper credit. Thank you.
* A HERO TO FAMILY AND COUNTRY *
Dennis Ferrell Blalock was born to William Franklin Blalock and Marie Louise Chenevert Blalock, in New Roads, Louisiana. He had one sister, Rita Grace Blalock Cole. Dennis spent his earliest years on the farm of his grandmother, Eliska Samson Chenevert, near False River. When his father was promoted to a new position with the railroad, the family moved to Alexandria, Louisiana.
Following graduation from Bolton High School, Dennis attended college first at Louisiana State University and then at the University of Texas in Austin. He left school and enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 9, 1941. He was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and entered active duty on September 30, 1942. During World War II, Dennis served as a unit commander with the 36th Division 'T-Patchers' (infantry), where he saw extensive action in the European Theater and was wounded three times (Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters). He was awarded a Silver Star (GO 73 Headquarters 36th Division 45) for gallantry in action during the Rapido River conflict in January 1944, and a Bronze Star for heroic action during the routing of a Nazi garrison to liberate 800 Jewish prisoners from a concentration camp near Haguenau, France, in March 1945. He received five battle stars and the following campaign medals: Rome-Arno, Rhineland, Naples-Foggia, Central Europe, Southern France, European, African, and Middle Eastern campaigns. Dennis served as an occupational mayor in Germany following the war, and was finally discharged from active duty on March 31, 1946. He continued to serve his country in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring as a colonel.
Here is a glimpse into one mission during his service, while serving as the commanding officer of Fox Corps, 141st Infantry, 36th Division, U.S. Army (T-Patchers). In March 1945, Fox Corps, moved forward to attack a Nazi battalion command post that was guarding a subcamp of the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp system at or near Haguenau, France.
Instructions for the mission, as documented in Dennis' tactical notes, were as follows: Move light and fast. Bring no kitchens, 2 blankets, 1 munitions BAR, wools, and carry fatigues. Deploy at 8 o'clock with three trucks and no lights. Keep guns out. Objective is to overtake a Nazi battalion command post (Bn CP) guarding 800 Jewish prisoners.
At this point in the war, the BAR usually referred to an individual weapon rather than a team. The Browning could be carried and operated by one soldier, so they weren't using the designated "gunner, spotter, loader" plan or working like a .30 Browning LMG team. This allowed all men to fire as needed and didn't load any soldier down with excessive magazines as supply for the other soldiers (i.e., faster and more flexible movement). There were no spare barrels to carry and the gun didn't need a tripod; however, this plan left no backup to supply more munitions to soldiers who had expended their supply and also did not provide for spotters.
Their mission was successful and they liberated approximately 800 Jewish prisoners. After overtaking the enemy, the troops began administering aid to the freed prisoners, many of whom were diminished to almost skeletal form. The swastika that flew overhead was torn down and the American flag was raised. At full strength, Fox Corps would have included about 150 men. The platoon members that initially entered the stronghold had the privilege of signing the captured battle flag. A photo of these signatures and biographical information for all signators previously appeared on this memorial, but unfortunately it was removed by Find-A-Grave.
After the war, Dennis first returned to his childhood hometown, Alexandria, Louisiana. He then moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. While there, a fraternity brother set him up on a blind date with the woman who was to become his wife, Thelma Rita Stanborough. Together, they had a daughter, a son, and four grandchildren. Dennis spent most of his professional career with Matlack Trucking Inc., retiring as a senior operations manager. It was through Matlack that he transferred from New Orleans to Baton Rouge.
Dennis was a man of strong character. He had lifelong friends from his military service and fraternity who knew they could literally trust him with their lives. A humble man, Dennis was not one to talk about his military service, even when prodded. His children did not even know how or when he had earned the medals that were tucked underneath his socks in the top dresser drawer. When he finally granted a series of interviews to his daughter-in-law to record family history, he explained his reluctance: "When you look into the eyes of the man you have to kill, you don't talk about it." He found solace in his younger years through fishing and later through gardening. He was adored by his grandchildren, who often helped "Grampsy" in the garden.
Dennis died on September 24, 1995, at Medical Center of Baton Rouge. He was 77 years old. Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Jean Vianney Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with military honors and interment at Port Hudson National Cemetery near Zachary.
Other members in Dennis' family who served during World War II include his wife, Thelma Stanborough Blalock (a civilian employee with the Army Air Corps); his brothers-in-law, Thomas William Stanborough (in the Navy, a survivor of the U.S.S. Arizona, later died in the Solomon Sea) and Zachariah T. Stanborough (a bomber pilot with the Army Air Corps); his father-in-law, Thomas Stanborough (a naturalized American who served as Ship's Master with the Merchant Marine, sunk by U-158 in the Gulf of Mexico); and numerous cousins.
William Franklin Blalock (1887 - 1972)
Louise Chenevert Blalock (1895 - 1980)
Thelma Rita Stanborough Blalock (1921 - 2010)*
Dennis F. Blalock (1917 - 1995)
Rita Grace Blalock Cole (1921 - 1992)*
COL, US ARMY
Port Hudson National Cemetery
East Baton Rouge Parish
Plot: SECTION I SITE 389
Maintained by: EveyBl
Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Offi...
Record added: Feb 25, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 374562
Added: Jul. 20, 2016
Thank You for your Service to our nation during WWII in defense of our freedoms. God Bless & Comfort those you've left behind to mourn your passing. Rest in Eternal Heavenly Peace.|
Added: Mar. 17, 2016
Added: Feb. 15, 2016
|There are 18 more notes not showing...|
Click here to view all notes...