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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
EUROPEAN-AFRICAN MIDDLE EASTERN THEATER