History

 

Henry T. Waskow

Henry Thomas Waskow was a U.S. Army Captain memorialized in Ernie Pyle's dispatch "The  

Death of Captain Waskow," which in turn was faithfully portrayed in the movie The Story of

G.I. Joe. The column also publicized the documentary film The Battle of San Pietro, by John

Huston, depicting the action in which Waskow died.

Born: Sep 24, 1918 · DeWitt County, TX

Died: Dec 14, 1943 · San Pietro Infine, Italy

Education: Trinity University

Timeline

1935: He attended the public schools and graduated from Belton High School in 1935, as president of the student council, receiving top grades and showing a particular aptitude for mathematics.

1939: He graduated with a bachelor's degree on June 5, 1939, and was offered a job at Belton High School.

1941: When President Franklin D. Roosevelt put the National Guard under federal control and activated the 36th Infantry Division, the Waskow brothers were transferred to Camp Bowie in January 1941.

1941: Waskow was given his commission as a lieutenant on March 14, 1941 and received training in Fort Benning before being assigned to B Company, 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment.

1943: Henry T. Waskow died on December 14, 1943 in San Pietro Infine, Italy.

CPT. Waskow was a U.S. Army Infantry Officer. Killed In Action in Italy.

CPT. Waskow was buried in Nettuno, Italy, although there is a memorial maker for him in the family burial plot. Belton's Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 4008 is named after CPT. Waskow as is a street in Fort Hood's Walker Village.

Ernie Pyle, the famed war correspondent, was at the foot of the mountain the night they brought Captain Waskow's body down, by pack mules.  He stood close by as the men of Company B, 143d Infantry, 36th Division, paused for a last visit and goodbye to their leader.

He wrote to the world, "In this war I have known a lot of officers who were loved and respected by the soldiers under them. But never have I crossed the trail of any man as beloved as Captain Henry T. Waskow of Belton, Texas."

A member of that company gives us a glimpse of the officer when he said. "He was a captain, really and truly. He never gave an order. He asked his men to follow him and they did and they all loved him."

Captain Henry T. Waskow was killed in the battle for San Pietro and the Liri Valley during the attack on the Winter Line. He fell, leading his company in the assault on December 14, 1943.

A final measure of this peerless soldier is contained in his last will and testament. He wrote, "If you read this I will have died in the defense of my country and all that it stands for ... God alone knows how I worked and slaved to make myself a worthy leader of these magnificent men."

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