|Ernie Pyle with troops on Ie Shima where Pyle and Pvt. Williams were killed about a week apart.|
Lauren J. Williams never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.
He was born on May 11, 1917 in California. His mother was also born in California, but his father was born all the way across the continent in Florida. His father was a truck driver for an oil company and later a service station salesman. Lauren had an older sister. By 1940 Lauren and his sister were no longer living with their parents.
Lauren was working as an auto mechanic with a grammar school education when he joined the army on June 24, 1944. His enlistment records show he was married, but there is no other information about his wife.
Lauren was a private in Company K, 3rd Battalion, 305th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division. The 77th was on it's way to invade Guam when Lauren joined the army. He may have been a replacement when the 77th participated in the invasion of Leyte but for sure he was a rifleman by the time the 77th was assigned to assault Okinawa.
On April 16 Pvt. Williams, and the rest of Company K, was part of the landing at Ie Shima. The Americans captured the airfield and took heavy casualties in the fighting at Government House Hill and Bloody Ridge. Pvt. Williams died during the second day of this attack. The famed war correspondent Ernie Pyle died nearby a week later.
His remains were returned to be buried at Tracy Public Cemetery in Tracy, California.
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