Byers, Clovis Ethelbert

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Byers, Clovis Ethelbert, born on 05-11-1899 in Colombus, Ohio, entered the United States Military Academy at West Point , New York in 1916 and was not involved in the World War I battles. Byers spent for months visiting military schools in England, France and Germany prior to attending the U.S. Army War College from September 1939 to June 1940. He married Marie Richards of Columbus, Ohio. They had one son, Clayton Potter Byers, who was born on 23-06-1940. Byers was promoted to Major on 01-07-1940. In February 1942, Byers became Chief of Staff of Major General Robert L. Eichelberger newly-reactivated 77th Infantry Division, nickname “The Statue of Liberty” File:77th Infantry Division.patch.jpg at Fort Jackson. The 77th Infantry Division had the next casualties during the caimpaign in Europe, MIA and KIA, 5.356 and wounded 5.737. Byers would form a close working relationship with Eichelberger. When the Battle of Buna-Gona started going badly, General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area, decided to send I Corps headquarters to the front in Papua. Eichelberger recalled Macarthur’s instructions:

“Bob,” he said, “I want you to go out there and take Buna, or don’t come back alive.” He paused for a moment and then, without looking at Byers, pointed a finger. “And that goes for your chief of staff, too.”

In accordance with MacArthur’s orders, Eichelberger relieved the 32nd Infantry Division’s, nickname “Red Arrow Division” File:32nd infantry division shoulder patch.svgcommander, Major General Edwin F Harding Major-general-edwin-f-harding.jpg, replacing him with the division’s artillery commander, Brigadier General Albert Whitney Waldron , on 02-12-1942. Harding died age 83, on 05-06-1970 in Franklin, Ohio and Waldron, age 69 in 1961. In an attack on 5 December, Waldron was shot in the shoulder by a Japanese sniper, and Byers succeeded him as commander of the troops in the field. Byers in turn was wounded on 16 December . He became the third American General to be shot at Buna, Brigadier General Hanford MacNider
 Hanford MacNider2.jpg  having been shot earlier in the fighting, none of whom was more than 75 metres from Japanese lines at the time. General Eichelberger assumed command, as he was now the only American General Officer present. Waldron, who died age 78 on 18-02-1968 in Sarasota, Florida and Byers were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 32nd Infantry Division was in combat for 654 days, more than any other United States Army unit during World War II, with 7.268 casualties and eleven of its men were awarded the Medal of Honor. It was estimated the Division had killed over 32.000 Japanese soldiers during the war. Byers was promoted to temporary Brigadier General, on 31-10-1942. When the Battle of Buna-Gona started going badly, General Douglas MacArthur  the Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area, decided to send I Corps headquarters to the front in Papua. Eichelberger recalled MacArthur’s instructions: “Bob,” he said, “I want you to go out there and take Buna, or don’t come back alive.” He paused for a moment and then, without looking at Byers, pointed a finger. “And that goes for your Chief of Staff, too.” Byers in turn was wounded on 16-12-1942 and was the third American General to be shot at Buna. Lieutenant General Walter Krueger
  commander of the Sixth Army, nickname “Aloma Forch” File:US Sixth Army patch.svg  offered to make Byers an assistant division commander. When Byers refused the offer, Krueger took this as a personal affront. In August 1944, Eighth Army headquarters arrived in the New Guinea and Eichelberger became commander of the new army. Once again, Byers followed him as his Chief of Staff. For his services as Chief of Staff of I Corps, Byers was awarded the Legion of Merit. After hostilities ended, the Eighth Army participated in the Occupation of Japan. Byers landed at Atsugi aerodrome with the 11th Airborne Division, nickname “Angels” File:11th Airborne Division.patch.svg on 30-08-1945. Eichelberger remained Eighth Army File:Eighth Army SSI.svg commander.

Death and burial ground Byers, Clovis Ethelbert.

Byers retired as a Lieutenant General from the Army in June 1959. He died on 13-12-1973, at the age of 74 and is buried with his wife Marie, born Richards,   on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2, close by the graves of General, Commander 92nd “ Negro Division” , Edward “Ned”Almond, Major General, Commander 8th Bomber Command Europe, Frederick Anderson,Rear Admiral, Commander Destroyer Greyson, Frederic Bell, Navy Admiral, “Operation Crossroads”, William Blandy, Navy Admiral. Battle of the Leyte Gulf, Robert Carney, Air Force General Lieutenant, Claire Chennault, Lieutenant General, Commander 4th Corps , Italy Campaign, Willis Crittenberger, Brigadier General, First African-American General, Benjamin Davis, Quartermaster Lieutenant General, John Lesesne De Witt, Major General and Head OSS, William “Wild Bill”Donovan, Brigadier General, Speck EasleyMarine Corps Major General, Commander 1st Raider Battalion, Merrit “Red Mike” Edson Lieutenant General, VIII Army, Robert Eichelberger, Navy Admiral, Commander Nord Pacific Fleet, Frank Fletscher and Navy Admiral, Commander VII Forces, William Fechteler.
   CE Byers Gravesite PHOTO

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