03 October 2011
Amanuensis Monday - The Death of a Son - The Military Explains
Regarding the burial of their son, Mr. and Mrs. Ott have been advised:
"The official report of burial discloses that the remains of your son were interred in Plot J. Row 33, Grave 1251, in the U.S. Military Cemetery Carano, located approximately 30 miles northwest of Naples, Italy." (The burial took place "on the 28th of Dec 1944.")
Another letter from the same office conveys this information:
"Your desire to be fully informed regarding the death of your son, Private Lyle C. Ott, is most understandable. Information now available shows that on 16 February 1944 your son and other members of his organization were engaged in an attack on enemy positions near Cairo, Italy. During this engagement the third platoon, of which he was a member, was surrounded by the enemy, thereby cutting them off from the rest of the company. Every attempt was made to reach the stranded men but without success, due to the superior force of the enemy. Subsequently he was reported missing in action. Later a casualty message received from the Commanding General on the Mediterranean Area stated that he was killed 16 February 1944 in Italy, the same day he was previously reported missing. I regret that no further details regarding his death were given, but I am sure you will understand how extremely difficult it was under actual battle conditions to record all information regarding casualties."
This letter also explains why Mr. & Mrs. Ott had received no word from Lyle's commanding officer or chaplain. It states that "this procedure of reporting casualties was not in effect at this time."
The letter also explains why Lyle was not granted a furlough following the completion of his basic training and before being sent overseas. It states: "Generally it was possible to grant leave after completion of basic training, but cases did occur where this was not possible due to the urgent need for personnel with specific qualifications and training. You may be assured, however, that this did not result from discrimination nor callousness on the part of the military authorities, but was one of the sacrifices necessitated by the magnitude of the war."
Lyle's parents have not yet received his personal affects, but the letters they have received infer everything possible will be done to return these to them.
Explanation of the great difference in the date of death as compared to that of burial it is assumed that the interment on December 28, 1944 was the second or final burial. That is the body was in a temporary grave from February to December.