Trooper Major Seaton

Trooper Major Stuart Manly SEATON - Class 1941

May 2, 1920 (Richmond, VA)

Note: this picture was taken shortly after the Bastogne action. It was taken in the Alsace area.

I was born in Richmond, VA on 2 May 1920. After the death of my father, Clarence A. Seaton in 1927, my family moved to the vicinity of Staunton, VA where I attended public schools in that city, graduating from Robert E. Lee High School as senior class president of the Class of 1937. After my graduation from high school I entered VMI with the class of 1941 following two older brothers at VMI. Emmett T. attended two years in the class of 1925 and John E. graduated in the class of 1939.

At VMI I majored in chemistry, receiving a BS degree.After graduation on 11 June 1941, I began my service in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lt on 7 July 1941. During the period July-September 1941 I attended the Battery Officers Course #15 at The Field Artillery School, Ft Sill. OK. I was then assigned to Btry A, 11th Bn Field Artillery Replacement Training Center, Ft. Bragg, NC.

On 20 July 1942 I was promoted to 1st Lt and remained with the 11th Bn until Sept 1942 when I volunteered for parachute duty. I received my basic airborne qualification in October 1942.

World War II Service

Upon completion of my basic airborne training, I was assigned to the 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (456 PFA BN), which on 3 Feb 1943 was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division.

The original Parachute Test Battery had been expanded and served as the cadre for the 456th. The Test Battery was commanded by Joseph D. Harris, VMI Class of 1940. Early in 1943 the 456th was expanded into a full T/0 & E battalion and I was assigned as Battery Commander of "A" Battery. I was promoted to captain 2 April 1943.

The 456th departed the US on 29 April 1943 and arrived in North Africa (Casablanca) 8 May 1943. After intensive training, the 456th as artillery support for the 505th  Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) jumped in Sicily on the night of 9 July 1943. During this operation I was wounded and by letter HQ 82 Airborne Division dated 20 Aug 1943 was awarded the Purple Heart.After completion of the Sicily campaign the 456th was employed on the Italian Southern front in December 1943, first in the vicinity of Venafro and later Cassino, Italy.

In February 1944, the 456th was moved from the southern front to the Anzio beachhead where it was employed as direct support artillery of the First Special Service Force (FSSF).

Also, in February 1944 there was a reorganization of the 456th. "C" and "D" Batteries accompanied the 82nd Airborne Division as it was moved to England. Headquarters Battery, my "A" Battery, and "B" Battery remained in Italy (Anzio) in support of FSSF.

As a result of this reorganization Headquarters Battery and "A" and "B" Batteries were re-designated as the 463rd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion (PFA BN).Early in February 1944, as a result of officer casualties from enemy artillery fire, I was assigned the position of Battalion S-2. Captain Joseph D. Harris (VMI40) who was Battalion S-2 died of wounds received from the artillery fire. I remained in the position of S-2 until late May 1944 when I was assigned the position of Battalion Executive Officer.

After the capture of Rome, Italy the 463rd received replacements, formed "C" and "D" batteries and began training for the next airborne operation. On 7 August 1944 I was promoted to major and on 15 August 1944, the 463rd as part of the First Airborne Task Force jumped into Southern France in Operation Dragoon. On this combat jump the battalion commander was a jump casualty and from 15 August 1944 to 20 October 1944 I served in the position of Battalion Commander of the 463rd.

On termination of the First Airborne Task Force the 463rd on 9 December 1944 was attached to the 101st Airborne Division. My unit fought with the 101" Airborne Division throughout the Ardennes-Alsace campaign including the defense of Bastogne, and subsequent operations.

I remained with the 463rd as part of the 101st throughout the remainder of combat operations in the European Theatre.

In addition to the Purple Heart, during my service in World War II, I was awarded two Bronze Star Medals (V and M) and the French Croix de Guerre Avec Etoile de Vermeil.

When the 101st was inactivated in the fall of 1945 the 463rd was also inactivated. At that time I was transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division and was again assigned to the 456th PFA Bn.

After approximately thirty-three months service in the European Theater, including two night combat parachute jumps (Sicily and Southern France) and participation in seven (7) campaigns I returned to the United States with the 82nd in early January 1946.

The 456th as part of the 82nd was in the "Victory Parade" in New York City, shortly after arrival back in the U.S. Interim Service Between WWII and Korea. Having previously applied, I received a regular army commission 5 July 1946.

I remained assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division after its return to the United States. My assignments included S-3, 456th PFA Bn, Battalion Commander 376th PFA Bn, S-3 Division Artillery and Assistant G-3 (Operations) 82nd Airborne Division. Following my post-war duty with the 82nd Airborne Division, I attended the Field Artillery Advance course at Ft. Sill, OK in 1948.

Upon graduation in June 1949 I remained on the faculty in the Combined Arms, and the Airborne and Special Operations Departments. I was promoted to Lt. Col. On 7 July 1951.

Service During the Korean Conflict

During my service on the faculty at Ft. Sill I was ordered to Japan. In January 1952 I was assigned as Battalion Commander of the 674th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion.

The battalion was part of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. I remained in this assignment until June 1953. While with the 187th there were two periods when the unit was committed to ground combat operations in Korea.

The first commitment was for approximately three months during the summer of 1952. The unit was first attached to the 2nd Infantry Division Artillery and then the 7th Infantry Division Artillery.

While with the 7th Division I was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.

I participated in two campaigns in Korea.The second commitment was during the summer of 1953. Shortly before the peace agreement in Korea I received orders and reported for duty as a student at The Command and General Staff College, (CGSC) Ft. Leavenworth, KS

Post Korea Service

Upon graduation from the Command and General Staff College on 18 June 1954 I remained on the faculty as an instructor in the Airborne and Special Operations Department.

During my three years in this assignment my primary instruction was in airborne operations doctrine. While in this assignment I authored one article for publication in "The Military Review".

The award winning piece titled "The Helicopter In Early Link-Up Operations" was published in the January 1956 issue.

In June 1957 I was assigned to the J-2 Division of Headquarters European Command (EUCOM). For approximately six months my duties with J-2 concentrated on Middle Eastern affairs. Subsequently, I was responsible for intelligence matters concerning the Soviet Union and the eastern satellite countries.

I remained in this position in EUCOM until June 1960. At this time I returned to the US for assignment as Senior Artillery Instructor, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.On 29 December 1961 I was promoted to the rank of Colonel. While in my position at USMA I received the Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. During my service following WWII I received various Letters of Commendations and/or Appreciation while assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division; on the faculty of CGSC and in Headquarters EUCOM.

After 20 years 2 months and 27 days service, on 30 June 1962, I retired from the U.S. Army at West Point, NY.

Non-Service Activity Following Retirement.

After retirement from the Army he immediately entered the business community.

On 1 July 1962 he was employed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) firm of Anderson and Strudwick.

He remained with the firm until 18 August 1977. During his time with Anderson and Strudwick he served as Branch Manager of the firm's Richmond, VA office for approximately six years.

On 18 August 1977 he changed employment and joined the NYSE firm of Dean Witter as a Financial Advisor. He remained with this firm until his retirement on 20 April 2000.

My Awards.

Award of the Purple Heart

Award of the Bronze Star Medal (V)

Award of the Bronze Star Medal (1st OLC)(M)

Award of the Croix de Guerre Avec Etoile de Vermeil

Award of the Bronze Star Medal (2OLC)(M)

Award of the Army Commendation Medal

List of WW II and KOREA Campaigns in which I partecipated.


SICILY (with Arrowhead)


SOUTHERN FRANCE (with Arrowhead)





Summer-fall 1952

Summer 1953

Listing of other Medals, Badges and Unit Citations.


American Defense Service Medal

American Campaign Medal

WW II Victory Medal

Army Occupation Medal (Germany-Japan)

European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal(with 7 campaign stars and 2 arrowheads)

Five Overseas Bars

Korean Service Medal (with 2 campaign stars)

United Nations Service Medal

National Defense Service Medal 

Unit Citations 

Presidential Unit Citation, streamer embroidered BASTOGNE

French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, Streamer embroidered MUY EN PROVENCE, for Southern France.

Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm 1940, Streamer embroidered BASTOGNE, cited in the Order of the Day of the Belgian Army for action at BASTOGNE.

Republic of Korea Unit Citation


Senior Parachutist Badge with two bronze stars representing two combat jumps.


What did you think when you first heard about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did you realize immediately the USA was involved in a global war?


I was already in the Army and must have thought that the US would shortly be involved.

How did your parents feel about you signing in for Duty?

I had gone in about 3 weeks after graduation from VMI so my mother was aware of what I was doing. My father was deceased.

Once the training finished, did the Army tell you right away where you were going to?

I was already on my second assignment in an artillery replacement training center at Fort Bragg, NC. My first assignment was as a student in the Battery Officers Course at Ft Sill, OK.

Did you cross the Atlantic in a Liberty Ship, if yes, do you recall the name? How many ships were needed to transport the entire 456th to Casablanca ?

We went over on the Matson liner “S.S. Monterey”. We were also on the same ship as the 505th PIR.

Do you have any recollections about the Operation Anvil-Dragoon in Southern France in August 1944 and or do you have any recollections about the time you were in the Alps trying to stop the retreating Germans fleeing from Italy?


By the time of Operation Dragoon I was in the position of Battalion Exec. Vic Garret our S-3 and I were promoted to the rank of major a day or so before the jump into Southern France.

For me personally, the most significant event was that Col Cooper broke his leg on the jump and had to be evacuated and thus was away for two months. During his absence I served as Battalion Commander while he was gone.

He returned during the time we were in the Alps. While in the Alps area we remained in position supporting the 550th Glider Infantry Battalion.


During this time we delivered artillery fire as required and requested by our forward observers and the 550th. Also we were subjected to enemy artillery or mortar fire, receiving some casualties.

If I am not wrong the 463rd PFA arrived in Mourmelon, France, just a few days before the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Col. Cooper asked to join the 101st Airborne on their “Rendezvous with Destiny” and then Division headed first to Werbomont, just a bit later the plans changed and the 101st went to Bastogne. When did you find out that you were going into combat again? How was the trip to Bastogne? Any recollections about that?

Your comments are generally correct. As I understood it the advance of the German Forces required a change in the destination of the 101st from Werbomont to Bastogne because of the importance of Bastogne to be held to retard the advance of the German Forces.

It was an important communication center which for tactical reasons had to be held.

For the move to Bastogne we were in the column behind the 327 GIR, the unit the 463 was to support. It was apparent that things up front were not going well because there were vehicles coming back from the direction in which we were going.

The 463rd took positions at Hemroulle, did the batteries stay in their same positions for several days, or did the batteries take different positions from time to time? Was it already freezing cold the first days you arrived, of did it become that cold some days later?


Our batteries stayed in the same positions except individual pieces were moved into anti-tank positions. These positions had been previously prepared for use in the event of tank attacks. They were of course used on the 25th (Christmas morning) to encounter the tank and infantry attack on Hemroulle. As for the weather, it was extremely cold the entire time we were in that area.

When one didn’t “hold the line” Ken Hesler told me one could have a rest in the little houses before the Rollé(y) castle. Was there some kind of schedule so that every member of the Battalion had a relief and could spend some time over there? Was this place only used by the 463rd, or did you share it with members of the 502nd PIR (the ‘chateau’ being the CP of the 502nd)? Do you have any recollections of that place?

Any schedules regarding rest would have been the responsibility of each Battery commander and I do not recall the use of Rollé

Once the battle for Bastogne was over, round mid January 1945, what did you do? Was that also the time some of the 463rd members got a pass for Paris? Did you also visit the ‘City of Lights’?


We made a night road march to the Alsace area where we went into combat positions. I do not recall any Paris leaves until we got back to Mourmelon.

What happened with the 463rd after the battle for Bastogne? Did you go right away to Alsace (in combat) until you were relieved end of February (25th). How long did you stay in Mourmelon after being relieved? Did the Battalion go into combat again in Germany, if yes, all Batteries?

After moving from Bastogne to the Alsace area the 463 went into firing positions in the vicinity of Keffendorf, France, firing in support of the 327th GIR on 26 Jan 1945. On 12 Feb the battalion moved to the vicinity of Winterhouse, France and from there returned to Mourmelon. While at Mourmelon the 101st was presented the Distinguished Unit Citation on 15 March.The battalion did go into Germany. Leaving Mourmelon on 2 April we moved to Neuss, Germany and at the end of combat operations we were at Bad Reichenhall, Germany and had the mission of policing the town.

When the war ended in Europe early May 1945, the USA was still at war with Japan. Was there a possibility that the 463rd would have received a new assignment in the Pacific?

I have no personal knowledge of plans for the 463rd to go to the Pacific. I remained with the battalion until the 463rd was deactivated along with the 101st on 30 Nov 1945. From Bad Reichenhall the battalion moved to Saalfelden, Austria on 8 July and then on 23 July to Joigny, France where it remained until deactivation. By this time many of the officers and men had returned to the U.S. and replacement officers and men had been transferred in.

After deactivation all personnel were transferred to the 82nd and assigned to the 456th. Returning to the U.S. as part of the 82nd we participated in the Victory Parade in New York City in early 1946.

Looking back: what or which scene grabbed you the most?


The action on Christmas Day 1944 at Hemroulle.

If you could do it all over ... what would you change?


Not much. The split-up was dictated by the situation at the time and was made by higher headquarters. The 82nd needed the 456th and the First Special Service Force certainly could use artillery support at Anzio and Southern France. We received quality personnel to reconstruct “C” and “D” batteries and in my opinion we had the finest and most combat experienced Parachute Field Artillery Battalion in the European Theater of Operations.

Did you meet some members of the 463rd at reunions after the war?

At first we were not having reunions. Col. Cooper changed that and with the help and planning of Joe Lyons he started the reunions. They are continuing until this day.

Did the 463rd website help to trace old friends?


Yes. The website is great. It is informative and helps us locate one another and to find out what they are doing. It is also helping relatives of former members to get information on family members of both the 456 and 463.

What can we teach our students about WW2?

Not enough emphasis is placed on educating our offspring of WWII. In the U.S. certain organizations are helping in this regard. For instance I have been interviewed by the Virginia War Memorial Education Foundation on the Battle of the Bulge.

Others have been interviewed on other subjects and operations of WWII with the objective of getting information out the middle school and high school students. It is a good program.

What do you think is best to keep the memory alive?

Keep your website operating and encourage activities such as the educational programs as already mentioned, and here in the U.S. we have a World War II Veterans Committee.