Maraist, Robert Victor

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Maraist, Robert Victor, born 28-02-1893 in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Great War with distinction and received French Croix de Guerre 1914–1918 with Palm. Maraist subsequently served with occupation forces in Germany. After returning to the United States, Maraist married Evelyn Mary Fournet on 24-06-1920. After the war, Maraist stayed in the army and served at several military camps, including Fort Myer, Virginia.

Second world war.

In 1940, Maraist was appointed as Commanding Officer of 27th Armoured Field Artillery Battalion. Two years later, Colonel Maraist was promoted to the capacity of Commanding Officer of Artillery of the 1st Armoured Division  under command of Major General Orlando Ward. Maraist earned two Silver stars during fighting in Tunisia with 1st Armoured, nickname “Old Iransides” . The division’s casualties included: KIA (killed in action): 1.194, WIA (wounded in action): 5.168 and DOW (died of wounds): 234.

In July 1943, Maraist was transferred to the newly formed 16th Armored Division, nickname “Armadillo”  at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas to retake command of its Combat Command Group. The division was in the command of Major General Douglass Taft Greene  at that time. Casualties of the 16th Armoured Division, KIA: 4, WIA: 28 and died of wounds: 1. Douglass Greene died of a heart attack on 13-06-1964.

Maraist spent six months with the division before he was transferred again, this time to the 69th Infantry division, where he retook the post of Divisional Artillery Commander. Maraist arrived with his 69th Infantry Division in Europe at the beginning of December, 1944. Maraist spent the rest of the war as a Divisional Artillery Commander and eventually was appointed as a new 69th Divisional Commander, when he replaced Major General Emil Reinhardt Reinhardt  in August, 1945. Casualty figures for the 69th Infantry Division, European theater of operations, total battle casualties: 1.506 and total deaths in battle: 384.

Maraist stayed in command of 69th Infantry Division until its deactivation in September, 1945. During the fierce battle for Leipzig, the 69th Infantry Division uncovered Leipzig-Thekla, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp on19-04-1945. The camp had been established in September 1943 to supply labor for the German war effort. At its height, Leipzig-Thekla held approximately 1,400 prisoners.Then Brigadier General Maraist returned to the United States and became a Civil Defense Director in New Orleans  In this capacity, Maraist strongly advocated preparing the civilian population to withstand nuclear attack and proposed the construction of fallout shelters in public buildings like schools and hospitals.

Death and burial ground of Maraist, Robert Victor.

Maraist retired from the Army in 1953. Brigadier General Robert Victor Maraist died on 18-02-1961 and was buried together with his wife Evelyn, born Fournet, who died age 88 on 13-02-1982, at Saint Michaels Cemetery in his hometown St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.

Cemetery location of Maraist, Robert Victor.

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