The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 
MG Francis L. Sampson

MG Francis L. Sampson

Birth
Cherokee, Cherokee County, Iowa, USA
Death 28 Jan 1996 (aged 83)
Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota, USA
Burial Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota, USA
Memorial ID 5544 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Army Chaplain. Born in Cherokee, Iowa, the son of Lumena Ryan and Harvey Sampson, a hotelier. He was graduated from Notre Dame University before entering St. Paul's Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ordained a priest in June 1941, he served as a parish priest at Neola, Iowa where he taught at Dowling High School. He enlisted in 1942, and was commissioned a first lieutenant. Answering a need for chaplains in the airborne divisions, he entered paratrooper training, after which, he became the regimental chaplain for the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Part of the Normandy landings, he and his unit landed behind enemy lines. As fighting grew heavier, he remained with the wounded in a French farmhouse under heavy fire. When the area was captured by units of the Waffen SS, he was briefly held until liberated, tending the wounded from both sides throughout. During the Normandy campaign, he learned that that two of an Army sergeant's brothers had been killed on D-Day, and a third brother was reported missing in the Pacific. He initiated the paperwork to remove the sergeant from the fighting as a surviving son. He then escorted the man back to Utah beach for evacuation. It was upon this event that the 1998 film 'Saving Private Ryan' was loosely based. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during the campaign. In 1944, part of the Market Garden landings in Holland, the unit achieved their objective, and were then part of the force at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, during which he was captured. He was eventually confined to Stalag II A, until the camp was liberated by Soviet troops in April 1945. He was discharged that October and returned to teaching, but within six months, he had returned to the Army as regimental chaplain of the 505th parachute regiment of the 82nd Airborne. He served as regimental chaplain for the 187th Airborne Infantry from 1947 to 1951, and accompanied them when they parachuted into Sunchon, Korea in an attempt to rescue POWs. He then served as an instructor at the US Army Chaplain School at Fort Slocum until 1954, before taking up a post as chaplain for the 11th Airborne Division serving from 1955 to 1958. That year, he published a memoir, 'Look Out Below: A Story of the Airborne by a Paratrooper Padre.' He was promoted Colonel in 1961, and served as the 7th Army Chaplain from 1962 to 1965. The following year, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army, and promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He was promoted to Major General and Chief of Chaplains in 1967, and served until 1971, making annual trips to Viet Nam to minister to the American troops serving. He retired after a thirty year career, taking an appointment as pastor of Saint Mary’s Church, Shenandoah, Iowa. He also served as president of the USO from 1971 to 1974, and from 1983 to 1987 was assistant to the president of Notre Dame as Director of ROTC. He succumbed to cancer at age 83 and was laid to rest under a stone that read: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Bio by: Iola


Family Members

Parents

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

How famous was MG Francis L. Sampson?

Current rating:

68 votes

Sign-in to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 May 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5544
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for MG Francis L. Sampson (29 Feb 1912–28 Jan 1996), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5544, citing Saint Catherine Cemetery, Luverne, Rock County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .