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 Curtis William “Cactus Jack” Garner

Curtis William “Cactus Jack” Garner

Birth
Lehigh, Coal County, Oklahoma, USA
Death 1 Jun 1944 (aged 24)
Lazio, Italy
Burial Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma, USA
Plot 1, 0, 585-B
Military TECH SGT, US ARMY
Memorial ID 684693 · View Source
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Curtis was the son of William Comer Garner and Eula Velma Riner. He never married. Never had time too. He had 3 sisters, Novella Bernice, Glyn Varnell, and Joy Evelyn. His nieces and nephews called him Uncle Son.

His fellow soldiers nick named him "Cactus Jack". He died near Campoleone, Italy and was originally interred in the Anzio Nettuno National Cemetery south of Rome. He was awarded the Bronze Star and is memorialized at the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City , Oklahoma. In August 1948, Cactus Jack came home.

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August 29, 1948, 45th Division News
IN MEMORIAM TO Curtis W. Garner

Tech: Sergeant CURTIS W. GARNER, Company B, 180th Infantry, has come home. On 3 August, at the Ft: Gibson National Cemetery. near Muskogee, Oklahoma, funeral services were held for the great Sergeant who at Ieast 23 different times in combat, assumed command of his platoon when it's leaders became casualties. He held that command up to periods of two months-others would take over, but always the burden again fell upon Garner. There's no use to recite any specific deeds of his heroism because heroism was a day's work with men of the old 45th like "Jack" Garner. "Jack," as his comrades called him, was a legend in' his company. He was loved, admired and respected. Somehow almost everyone who would come' back telling about his deeds of valor didn't live to put them down on paper. Jack Garner's record is engraved in the hearts of his friends rather than being printed on any official records.

It was at Campo Leone Station, Italy on 1 June 1944 that "Jack" fought his last battle. At the time his papers were en route to the Regimental CP for a battle field appointment. "Jack," like so many other Thunderbirds of the old school-like his friend Sergeant Joe Yelnick who• died, with him, would never say quit. The deeds of such individuals and the sacrifices which they have made should certainly be an inspiration to those of us who carry on. "Jack" was young—in fact he wouldn't look old among the hosts of young Thunderbird faces who now crowd the PXs of the Division's summer camp at Ft. Sill--and he wanted to live. Such sacrifices as his are challenges to all of us to give our best for the way of life for which he died.

He lived at Lehigh, Oklahoma, just a little ways out of Atoka where his mother and father now reside. Captain Charles Kilgore, Commanding Officer of Company K, 279th Infantry, and formerly of the 180th, represented the Division at the funeral of the great soldier.


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  • Maintained by: Tom M. Short II
  • Originally Created by: US Veterans Affairs Office
  • Added: 25 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 684693
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Curtis William “Cactus Jack” Garner (18 Mar 1920–1 Jun 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 684693, citing Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Fort Gibson, Muskogee County, Oklahoma, USA ; Maintained by Tom M. Short II (contributor 47260142) .