In Memory Of
Corporal Lester Shackelford
1st Infantry Division - US Army - World War II1942 - 1945
Corporal Lester Shackelford, known by friends and family as 'Shack', served in the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army from 1942 to 1945.
The 1st Infantry Division nicknamed 'The Big Red One' after its shoulder patch and 'The Fighting First', is the oldest division in the United States Army.
Shack was there when the division landed in Oran, Algeria on 8 November 1942, as part of Operation Torch.
From 21 January 1943 to 9 May 1943, Shack and the brave men of the First would engage in several combat offensives at Maktar, Tebourba, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Béja, and Mateur, in helping to secure Tunisia.
In July 1943, they took part in Operation Husky in Sicily.
The 1st saw heavy action when making amphibious landings on Gela, the most fortified German beach head.
The 1st then moved up through the mountains and saw some of the heaviest fighting in the entire Sicilian campaign at Troina.
Some units lost more than half their strength in the assault.
Shackelford was a member of one of the two divisions that stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Some of the division's units suffered 30 percent casualties in the first hour of the assault.
They secured Formigny and Caumont on the beachhead by the end of the day.
Shack was there when the First fought through the hedgerows, then drove across France in a continuous offensive, reaching the German border at Aachen in September, taking the city after a direct assault on 21 October 1944.
The First then attacked east of Aachen through the Hurtgen Forest, driving to the Rur, and moved to a rest area 7 December 1944 for its first real rest in 6 months' combat.
When the Battle of the Bulge suddenly broke loose on 16 December 1944, the division raced to the Ardennes. Fighting continuously from 17 December 1944 to 28 January 1945, the 1st helped turn back the German offensive.
Not finished yet, the division attacked and breached the Siegfried Line, fought across the Rur, 23 February 1945, and drove on to the Rhine.
The 1st broke out of the bridgehead, took part in the encirclement of the Ruhr Pocket, captured Paderborn, pushed through the Harz Mountains, and was in Czechoslovakia, fighting at Kinsperk, Sangerberg, and Mnichov when the war in Europe ended.
With all of the battles in the many months of fighting, Shack would later say that his 5 Minutes of Fame came when he was picked to be one of 4 MPs that would guard the podium when General George Patton gave his famous Apology speech.
Among the many medals won by Shack and members of the Fighting First, Corporal Shackelford was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroic Achievement of Service.
After the War
After the war Shack would return to Lexington, Kentucky and marry his sweetheart, Flossie Miller, 19 April 1947.
He would make his living driving a truck for O'Neil Masters Trucking.
Lester Shackelford died 18 August 1988, and is survived by his wife Flossie and daughter Connie.