The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, 1LT Lawrence Homer King, 0-411854, who died in the service of his country on February 1st, 1945 in Luzon. The cause of death was listed as KIA. He was from California.
The decorations earned by 1LT Lawrence Homer King include: the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
At the time of his death, Lt. King was the S-2 for the 1/35th.
Lt. King also received another Silver Star for actions involved with his death.
(Below information provided by Marie Kissinger. Lawrence was the Great-Uncle of Maries husband. Thanks Marie!)
Lawrence Homer King was born April 2, 1920 in Enid Oklahoma, he was the middle child of Dr. Homer Pernal and Eunice Loise Lawrence King, taking his name as a combination of his mother's maiden name and his father's first name. Lawrences older sister, Arilla Eunice King would marry Sidney Rew Troxell and have 4 children. Sidney served as a Warrant Officer during the war. Lawrence's younger sister, Doris Aleen King would marry Bruce Nelson and also had 4 children. Bruce served in the Army Air Corps during the war. Arilla and Doris passed away within a month of one another in 2012. The family moved from Enid to Los Angeles California shortly after 1930. Lawrence attended Manual Arts High School; he was Vice President of the Natural History Club and went on to study Entomology.
Lawrence had been a member of the ROTC program and enlisted in the Army January 1941. Lawrence received the Silver Star for gallantry in action in Guadalcanal and earned the nickname "Killer King" during the Vella Lavella engagement. Lawrence was killed on February 1, 1945 while doing reconnaissance for the upcoming battle at Lupao. From Lt. Col. Delbert Munsons account, "Late in the afternoon there was a report of tank activities on the part of the enemy to the left of Lupao. Lawrence led a patrol of eight men to that area and found tracks of numerous tanks but no tanks. He then swung in back of Lupao to continue his investigation. Finding no activity there he returned by the same route he had taken going out. When about 400 yards from the American lines he swung sharply to the left to where a bridge had once crossed a deep ravine. The surrounding land was rice paddies. Near the bridge (washed out) were a few trees, some native huts, and grass from two to four feet tall. When about 20 yards from the bridge a Jap machine gun opened fire. Lawrence was hit several times in the chest. He called scatter, and then told the men to get out of there and not to try to come to him for he was too badly shot up to ever get out. One, however, crawled to him to administer first aid. He was already beyond the need of it. Lawrences body was recovered the following day." Lawrence is interred at the American Cemetery, Ft. William McKinley, Manila, Philippines.
25th Division Headquarters, 29 April 1945, General Orders Number 137
Silver Star (Oak-Leaf Cluster) Posthumous Award
First Lieutenant Lawrence H King for gallantry in action against Japanese forces near Umingan and Lupao, Luzon, P.I. on 31 January 1945 and 1 February 1945.On the afternoon on 31 January 1945, the First Battalion 35th Infantry was assigned the mission of making a forced road march from Caridad to the vicinity of Masiil-Siil and there set up a road block on the main supply road from Umingan to San Jose, both of which were held by strong enemy forces. There was no information possible on routes for the march, and no time to make an extended reconnaissance. First Lieutenant King, Battalion S-2, personally assumed the task of locating a route across the difficult and trackless terrain. He worked entirely at night while continually being hampered by numerous enemy patrols. He successfully selected a marked route which enabled his battalion to cover the sixteen miles to its objective without being detected. The following morning, although fatigued by his night operations, he voluntarily led a patrol toward Umingan in order secure information as to enemy positions. During a subsequent fire fight with an enemy patrol, he accounted for one of the enemy dead. Later the same day he once again disregarded personal safety by volunteering to lead a patrol south toward Lupao to verify Japanese tank activity. After successfully working their way through the town, the patrol was fired upon by a concealed machine gun which mortally wounded First Lieutenant King who ordered his men to leave him and seek safety. The gallant actions and devotion to duty displayed by First Lieutenant King were a priceless example and inspiration to the entire battalion during the forthcoming battles for Lupao and Umingan. Next of kin, Homer P King (Father), 1107 West 47th Street, Los Angeles, California.
(Following Story by Perry Ball)
FIRST LIEUTENANT LAWRENCE KING'S LAST PATROL
1 February 1945
First Lt. Lawrence H. King was the S-2 (Intelligence Officer) for the 1st Battalion when the 1st Battalion completed the all-night, cross-country march from the vicinity of Caridad and arrived at San Roque at daybreak on the morning of 1 February. S/Sgt. Albin M. Anderberg, the Senior NCO in the eight-man S-2 Section, recalled that Lt. Col Munson directed the 1st Battalions companies to where he wanted them to establish their defensive positions. First Lt. King then volunteered to take the S-2 Section plus a half-dozen riflemen from one of the rifle companies on a reconnaissance patrol to the northwest along Highway 8 in the direction of Umingan. The patrol was asked to look for evidence of tracked vehicles as a Japanese tank unit was known to be in the area, but had not yet been located.
First Lt. King led the patrol down the road toward Umingan in two groups. The advance party consisted of 1st Lt. King and one man walking on the right shoulder of the road and two other men on the left shoulder. The second party followed fifty yards behind with S/Sgt. Anderberg and four men on the right shoulder and a Corporal from the S-2 Section and four men on the left shoulder. Both groups marched in staggered formation with 6-8 feet between each of the men. The S-2 section men were armed with M1 carbines and the riflemen carried with M1 rifles.
The patrol walked five miles and came to the outskirts of Umingan without incident. It was about noon and 1st Lt. King told the men to take a break in the ditch along the side of the road before heading back to San Roque. The men were still lying against the side of the ditch when a group of four or five of the U.S. Army Air Force B-25s approached from the west and started to bomb Umingan. Suddenly, one of the B-25s crashed in the area. Another B-25s spotted the patrol in the ditch as it completed its bombing run and began a low strafing run down Highway 8 in the direction of the patrol. The three machine-guns on each side of the planes fuselage began to fire and the men dove to the bottom of the ditch as the bullets flew over their heads. The machine-guns stopped firing about 200 yards before the plane reached their position and the tail gunner did not take advantage of the opportunity to fire at them as the plane flew over them and continued on down the road toward San Roque. The plane then banked to the right in the direction of Lupao. The B-25 pilot apparently recognized the U.S. soldiers green helmets and green fatigues as he approached and broke off the attack when we realized he was firing on U.S. troops. The Japanese soldiers, by contrast, wore khaki-colored uniforms.
The shaken patrol got up, brushed itself off and headed back to San Roque. They had walked about two miles when a Japanese soldier stepped out of the trees and bushes on the left side of the road, directly in front of the Corporal from the S-2 Section. The first group of four men in the patrol had already passed by. The Japanese soldier had heard the patrol walking along the road, had mistaken them for Japanese soldiers retreating from Umingan in the direction of Lupao, and had stepped out of the trees to greet them. S/Sgt. Anderbergs first thought was that the man was a Filipino. However, he saw the Japanese soldiers khaki-colored uniform and leggings and knew he was Japanese. S/Sgt. Anderberg, the man behind him and the Corporal on the left side of the road were the only soldiers among the group of eight soldiers who had a direct field of fire. The Japanese soldier did not have a gun, but he did have a bayonet and a grenade on his belt. He reached for the grenade with his right hand and S/Sgt. Anderberg, the Corporal, and the other U.S. soldiers opened fire. The grenade went off, either because it was hit by a bullet or because the Japanese soldier had pulled the pin. The surprised Japanese soldier was nearly blown in half and fell to the ground.The U.S. soldiers quickly searched the body of the dead Japanese soldier. He had no papers, but they took his dog tag and bayonet. This soldier was probably a lost straggler looking for contact with other Japanese soldiers, as he had no gun. The U. S. soldiers made no effort to go into the jungle on either side of the road to search for others. In fact, 1st Lt. King decided it was now too dangerous to continue walking down the road. He ordered the patrol to move 50 yards to the open ground on the left side of the road and continue walking single file in a direction that was parallel to the road and where they could still see the road.
The patrol walked another mile and came to a place where there was a Filipino Nipa hut 20 yards back from the other side of the road. Two men suddenly came down out the front steps of the elevated Nipa hut. They were 70 yards away and once again S/Sgt. Anderberg thought they were Filipinos. Suddenly, both men stood in a standing position and raised rifles in the direction of the patrol. This time, all 14 men in the patrol had an open field of fire. First Lt. King or S/Sgt. Anderberg said something and they all opened fire. One of the Japanese soldiers fell to the ground; the other ran into some chest-high sawgrass behind the Nipa hut. The U.S. soldiers did not pursue the Japanese soldier into the sawgrass, nor did they search the Japanese soldier that had fallen to the ground, as they did not want to get anyone hurt. Instead, they hurriedly walked the last two miles back to San Roque.
First Lt. King immediately went to make his report to Lt. Col. Munson. First Lt. King came back saying the Lt. Col. Munson wanted him to lead another reconnaissance patrol along Highway 8 in the other direction towards Lupao. The purpose was to again look for evidence of tracked vehicles. S/Sgt. Anderberg had raised a blister from the previous days all-night march and that morning's patrol towards Umingan. It was the only blister he had had in the entire time he was in the U.S. Army. First Lt. King saw him working on the blister and told him he did not need to go on the afternoon patrol. S/Sgt. Anderberg responded that he could still go, even though he had a blister, but 1st Lt. King said, "That's OK, I'll take Sgt. Elasky. Sgt. Elasky wants to go on a patrol anyway." Sgt. John Elasky, a member of the 1st Battalion S-3, had wanted to go on a patrol, and 1st Lt. King saw this as an opportunity to take him along.
First Lt. King took Sgt. Elasky, plus Sgt. Parker and two other men from D Company, on the patrol at 1445. He led the patrol in a circular route around Lupao, beginning on the northwest outskirts, walking in a clockwise direction, and ending on the southwest outskirts. They came upon a Filipino on the east side of Lupao and he told them that the Japanese were retreating into the mountains to the east. (This was generally true as far as the bulk of the Japanese Army was concerned, but not true in regards to those tank and infantry units that had been ordered to strongly defend Lupao.) The patrol found evidence of the movement of tanks and infantry in the direction of San Jose to the east, but not tanks. They did not find anything about Lupao. They then encountered a second Filipino who reported that the Japanese were heading toward San Jose.
The patrol arrived on the southwest outskirts of Lupao where they encountered two Japanese soldiers. They killed both Japanese soldiers, and this may have alerted others Japanese soldiers in the area of their arrival. The patrol was crossing an area of open rice paddies. It was 1700, it was just getting dark, and they were about 400 yards south of the 1st Battalion position in San Roque when 1st Lt. King swung sharply to the left to where was a small bridge that crossed a ravine. There were a few trees near the bridge, some Filipino Nipa huts, and grass from two to four feet tall. First Lt. King was leading the patrol and had crossed the bridge and the rest of the patrol was back on the other side of the bridge.A Japanese light machine-gun and two riflemen that were concealed off to one side suddenly opened fire. First Lt. King was hit several times in the chest and he yelled, "Scatter" as he fell to the ground behind some rice paddy dikes. The rest of the patrol scattered and took cover in the tall grass. They were far enough back that none of them were wounded. Sgt. Elasky crawled to within seven to eight yards of 1st Lt. King and could see that he had been badly injured. First Lt. King told Sgt. Elasky not to try to get any closer and to leave him there as he was too badly shot up to ever get out. He then told Sgt. Elasky to take the rest of the patrol back to the 1st Battalion.
Sgt. Elasky then crawled back and found two of the other three men. It was getting dark, which made it too dangerous to try to go back through the U.S. lines, so Sgt. Elasky and the others stayed in the vicinity of the bridge and returned to the 1st Battalion position in the morning. The men in the 1st Battalion had heard the shots outside their perimeter and were worried about the fate of the patrol. They were relieved when the patrol returned, but soon discovered the loss of part of the patrol.
Sgt. Elasky made his report to S/Sgt. Anderberg and S/Sgt. Anderberg summited a patrol report with an accompanying patrol map on 2 February. The report said that it was believed that 1st King had been fatally shot, but it was not certain. The report also stated that Sgt. Parker was missing. Sgt. Parker made his way back to the 1st Battalion later that same day, but only after spending a night by himself in enemy territory. Lt. Col. Munson put S/Sgt. Anderberg in charge of the S-2 Section and he assumed the duties of the 1st Battalion S-2 for the rest of the campaign.
First Lt. Elmore Bostwick, Jr. of C Company led a patrol to recover 1st Lt. King's body on the morning of 2 February. First Lt. Bostwick returned in the early afternoon with 1st Lt. Kings body, which had been nearly cut in two, but had not been molested. His carbine and ammunition had been taken but the money he had on him was still there. First Lt. Bostwick also reported that the road to Lupao was heavily mined.
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Munson recalled that 1st Lt. King was a good soldier and a fine reconnaissance officer who did not make mistakes. However, he made a classic mistake on the patrol to Lupao that may have cost him his life. He was bringing the patrol back to the 1st Battalion position at the same place where it had left. The Japanese mostly likely observed where the patrol left the 1st Battalion perimeter, concealed the light machine-gun by the bridge which they expected him to use, and waited for his return. They would also have had advance warning of his approach from the patrol's shooting of two Japanese soldiers shortly before they arrived. S/Sgt. Anderberg's patrol map illustrates the place where 1st Lt. King's patrol departed and where it was attempting to return. First Lt. King may have been overly tired, as he had been on the move for 24 hours without a rest at that time. Lt. Col. Munson later wrote to 1st Lt. King's family that, "I never knew a braver man."
First Lt. King received the Posthumous Silver Star Medal with an Oak Leaf Cluster for his action against Japanese forces near Umingan and Lupao on 31 January and 1 February. S/Sgt. Anderberg received the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in connection with military operations against the Japanese forces at Lupao during the period 2 to 8 February 1945. Sgt. Elasky made it through the war and, to S/Sgt. Anderberg's knowledge, never went on another patrol.