Duncan, James J. – PFC Combat Infantryman

James J. Duncan - PFC Combat Infantryman

World War II Europe
(1943-1946)

James J. Duncan was born 12 Jan 1924 in Ilsley, KY. He was the son of Cal and Georgia Duncan. 13 Feb 1943 at age 19, he attended basic training at Ft. Hood, Texas and later Camp Carson, CO. He was transferred 15 June 1944 as a replacement soldier to the 29th Division, 116th Infantry-Co L, 3d BN, where he participated in the brutal Normandy campaign in France, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe as a combat infantryman.

On 30 July1944, he was reported MIA in France. Jim was in a military hospital, unable to identify himself with significant injuries. He recovered enough to be identified and was returned to combat duty on 24 Aug 1944.

Later, on 06 Oct 1944, Jim was listed as a battle casualty at Aachen, Germany. He was suffering from “battle exhaustion with injuries.” On 26 Oct, his mother received a telegram that he was “wounded in action.” On 03 Nov, she received a correction to a previous telegram, advising her that he was “more than slightly wounded.” He spent more than two months in the hospital recovering. He was returned to duty and his unit continued to battle it’s way through Germany and served as an occupational unit until returning to the U.S. from Bremen, Germany.

James had participated in four major European battles, earning him the following awards:

  • European, African, Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon
  • 4 Bronze Service (Battle) Stars for Combat Campaigns:
  • Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland and Central Europe
  • 3 Overseas Service Bars-one each six months overseas
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar M-1
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Purple Heart Medal

On 22 Feb 1946 Jim was honorably discharged at the Camp Grant Separation Center in Illinois. He has served two years, 11 months and 10 days of active duty. After the war, Jim used his mechanical skills and military automotive training to pursue a career in auto mechanics. This training he passed on to his sons. Jim never spoke of the war except with close military brothers. He marched to a higher calling on 05 Jul 1994 and now rests at Live Oak, in Selma, AL.

Submitted by Penny Jasper, niece