Webb, Kenneth Jay.

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Webb, Kenneth Jay, born, 15-08-1920, in Binghamton, Broome County, New York, the son of Levi Irving Webb (called “Leon”) (1896–1956) and his wife Mabel May, born, Morris Webb (1895–1981). Kenneth had three sisters, Agnes K. Webb Lawrence (1914–1999) Mary L. Webb Stevens (1930–2020) and Leona (Webb) Tuminella..

Kenneth attended Port Dickinson school and and North High School and was employed at the Sidney Plant of the Scintilla Magneto Division. He enlisted in the US Army at Binghamton, New York on 28-07-1942. So he had enlisted in the United States Army. Served during World War II. He became a paratrooper and was among the first to land behind enemy lines in Normandy on D-Day. He was wounded in action on 14-06-1944 and hospitalized in England. He returned to active duty in time to participate in the airborne invasion of Holland during Operation Market Garden.

Operation Market Garden was an Allied military operation during this World War fought in the German-occupied Netherlands from 17 to 27 September 1944. Its objective was to create a 64 mi (103 km) salient into German territory with a bridgehead over the Nederrijn (Lower Rhine River), creating an Allied invasion route into northern Germany. This was to be achieved by two sub-operations: seizing nine bridges with combined US and British airborne forces (Market) followed by British land forces swiftly following over the bridges (Garden).

Operation Market Garden ; 15,326–17,200 killed, wounded, and captured 88 tanks destroyed · 377 aircraft and gliders lost ; 6,315–13,300 killed and wounded. Unknown .The Germans suffered between 8,000 and 13,000 deaths.

Webb had the rank of Private First Class. Service number assignment was 32383307. Attached to Company E, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. under command of General Taylor, Maxwell Davenport. The 506th Parachute Infantry received their training at Camp Toccoa in Georgia at the foot of Currahee Mountain and began each day by running 3 miles up the mountain and 3 miles back down. The regimental patch that they wore had the word Currahee and an outline of the mountain on it. Their battle cry was “Currahee”.

E Company was established at Camp Toccoa, Georgia. Before attending paratrooper training, the unit’s troops performed the standard battle drills and physical training that comes with being in the parachute infantry. One of the exercises was running Currahee, a large, steep hill whose trail ran “three miles up, three miles down”. E Company, while training at Toccoa, was under the command of the not very loved Herbert Sobel, who was known for his extreme strictness.

Sobel was honorably discharged from the Army on 18-03-1946. He worked as an accountant before being recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He remained in the Army National Guard, eventually retiring at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He later married and had three children.

In 1970, Sobel shot himself in the head with a small-caliber pistol in an attempted suicide. The bullet entered his left temple, passed behind his eyes, and exited the other side of his head. Both of his optic nerves were severed by the shot, leaving him blind. Soon afterward, he began living at a VA assisted-living facility in Waukegan, Illinois. He died there of malnutrition on 30-09-1987, age 75. No memorial services were held for him.

Kenneth participated in three major operations: Operation Neptune (D-Day at Normandy on June 6, 1944) under command of Lieutenant General Sink, Robert Frederick “Bounding Bob”. in which he and his company were air-dropped behind enemy lines in Vierville, (roughly 2 – 3 miles from Utah and Omaha Beach) in the middle of the night the morning before the great invasion began in order to clear out mortar teams and machine gun nests from behind. Eight days into the operation, Kenneth was hit with gunfire and wounded and had to be airlifted to a hospital in England to get fixed up in time for;  Operation Market Garden in Holland on September 17, 1944; the 2nd compagny under command of 2nd Lieutenant Lynn Davis “Buck” Compton and on 19-12-1944, the Battle of the Bulge in the Bois Jacques woods of Foy. Lynn Davis “Buck” Compton survived the war and died 25-02-2012 (aged 90) in Burlington, Washington.

Death and burial ground of Webb, Kenneth Jay.

Kenneth with his company, had been air dropped to the front line to face off a German division and to hold them back from Bastogne. It was expected that they would be relieved within a few days. In hindsight, the enemy turned out to be prepared for battle as Adolf Hitler had anticipated the invasion. Hitler had sent his finest and fiercest divisions to the area who then completely surrounded Kenny’s company. It turned into an epic 4 week battle known as the Battle of the Bulge and the turning point of WWII with Germany.

The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. The battle lasted for five weeks from 16-12-1944 to 28-01-1945, towards the end of the war in Europe. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region between Belgium and Luxembourg. It overlapped with the Alsace Offensive, subsequently the Colmar Pocket, another series of battles launched by the Germans in support of the Ardennes thrust.

In addition to being trapped and under constant fire, Kenneth and Easy Company were short of food, ammunition, warm clothing and medical supplies and it was during a blistering cold period in knee deep snow. It became so bad that his company called in air strikes on themselves to push the Nazi’s back. On 13-01-1945, Kenneth, age 24, was shot and killed – the day before the Allies broke through to save the remainder of the company.

Kenneth Jay Webb is buried or memorialized at Plot G Row 4 Grave 20 of the Luxembourg American Cemetery Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. This is an American Battle Monuments Commission location.

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