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Biography of Jack Beaty

Waxahachie, Texas

Jack Beaty was a staff sergeant in the United States Army. He joined the Army in September of 1942, and trained at Camp Wolters, which was an infantry-replacement training center four miles east of Mineral Wells in Parker and Palo Pinto counties. In late 1942 he was transferred to Camp Gruber, which was an infantry-training center in eastern Oklahoma in Muskogee and Cherokee counties. He finished his stateside training in Louisiana, and shipped overseas serving with Company A in the 235th Engineers Combat Battalion, 5th Army. 

Jack served his country for 18 months in North Africa and Italy. And on February 28, 1945, he was killed while helping to construct a bridge 200 miles north of Cassino in central Italy. The bridge was later named the "Jack Beaty Bridge" in his honor. 

Alton P. Williams, who was an officer in Company A, served with Jack at Camp Gruber, and was with him when he died in Italy. He wrote the following account to Perry Giles in Waxahachie: 

“We recognized Jack as being a good man, and from late 1942 until late 1943, he received several promotions. The platoon sergeant was killed in late 1943, and Jack was promoted to take his place. In a little more than a year, Jack was promoted to Private First Class, Corporal, Sergeant, and then to Staff Sergeant. I was instrumental in all of his promotions. 

“At night on the preceding date, February 27, 1945, we unloaded the bridging equipment, but the Germans kept sending in a few artillery rounds, or mortars, so we stopped the building of the bridge and went a few hundred yards back to the rear and spent the night. The next a.m., on February 28, we started to build the bridge. We had worked a few hours and no German shells came in. Due to the limited building space, we had to build a few feet onto the bridge, and then push it forward. After a few hours one mortar shell landed in our midst. We had 63 people there—3 officers and 60 enlisted men working on the bridge. The one shell came in and hit one-third of the people there. One officer was hit, and 20 men were hit—four men were killed. After we were hit, B Company came in and finished the job. Col. Jones and I and a couple of men went to the site and pulled the bridge forward to open up the road. Then later in the day, B Company came and finished the job. 

“The pictures show the sign that was on the bridge after it was finished, and the by-pass (detour) showing the tank route. The trucks couldn’t get by because the by-pass was so muddy. 

“When the one mortar shell came in and hit us, I said to Sgt. Beaty, ‘Are you hurt?’ He said, ‘Yes sir, pretty bad.’ Those were his last words.” 

Staff Sergeant Jack Beaty was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Beaty of Waxahachie. He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery in Waxahachie. He was awarded the Presidential Citation, two major Battle Stars for the Italy Campaign and the Purple Heart Medal. He is listed on the Forreston Monument, First Methodist Church in Waxahachie Honor Roll, and the Ellis County Veterans Memorial.

The bio information is courtesy of Perry Giles, Giles Monument Company, Waxahachie, Texas and Alton P. Williams of Pennsylvania.

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