North High School Wall of Honor
John Clarence Petty, Jr.
Class of January, 1923

John Clarence Petty, Jr.
Research done by Claradell Shedd, class of 1953. PAGE IN PROGRESS
John Clarence Petty, Jr.
John graduated from North High in 1923. He enlisted in the IowaNational Guard at Camp Dodge. He was a Lt. Colonel. when he was killed in action in Tunisia on 02/12/43.
Correct this text... He enlisted in the US Army on ? at Camp Dodge, Iowa. At the time of his enlistment, was he was married.? His service number was 0281279. At the time of his enlistment, his next of kin was listed as his wife, Catherine Jeanette Petty, at 3842 10th Street, Des Moines, Iowa.
He was asssigned to the First Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division, as a member of the Commando (?) group. He was killed on February 12, 1943 during the Tunisia campaign in North Africa. At the time of his death, his rank was Lt. Col.
John Clarence Petty, Jr.
(get correct photo)
Get correct information for John Clarence Petty, Jr....Sequence of relocation: 4 daughters. From DM to Camp Claiborne, LA; 6 months of Officers Training at Fort Benning, GA.; back to Camp Claiborne where family rented a house and joined him. Then to Tama County, IA (Marshalltown) in charge of training Indian population. New Year's Eve to Trenton, NJ; to Scotland and Ireland for training. To Tunisia. In combat. Troops were falling back and he went forward to encourage them. Gunshot wounds in stomach. Company had to move positions of camp and hospital. Died in hospital after ten days. 02/12/43
John Clarence Petty, Jr.
Year   Rank   Status
January, 1923 Graduated North Des Moines High School.
1925     Enlisted. Iowa Army National Guard; Camp Dodge, IA.
1925-1928 x Personal x In California
1928-date x Employment x Central National Bank in Des Moines
May 26, 1928   Family   Married Catherine Jeanette Duncan in Des Moines, IA
aft May 26, 1928 x Iowa National Guard/1st Sgt. x Tama County, IA (Marshalltown). In charge of training Indian population. (Check sequence and timing of this event)
November 11, 1928 x Family x Joan Catherine Petty born in Des Moines, IA
(North High School, January, 1946). d.02/09/96.
December 7, 1931 x Family x Daughter Janet Charlene Petty born in Des Moines, IA
(North High School, January, 1950)
June 15, 1935 x Family x Daughter Mary Jean Petty born in Des Moines, IA
(North High School, 1953/Tech?) d.10/26/13.
June 16, 1935 x Family x Daughter Martha Jane Petty born in Des Moines, IA
North High School, 1953/Tech?)
February 10, 1941 x US Army x Enlisted in US Army
1941   Training   Camp Claiborne, LA
1942 x Training x 6 months of training at Fort Benning, GA?
1942 x Training x Camp Claiborne, LA
01/01/43 x Enroute x Trenton, NJ
date x Enroute x On transport carrier from New York to Scotland and Ireland for training prior to deployment to North Africa/Tunisia.
02/02/43 x Injured x Shot at railway station in ? presumably by Italian troops. In combat. Troops were falling back and he went forward to encourage them. Gunshot wounds in stomach. Company had to move positions of camp and hospital. Died in hospital after ten days. 02/12/43.
02/12/43 Deceased Killed in action; Tunisia.
02/12/43 x 3842 10th Street, Des Moins, IA x His wife, Catherine Jeanette Petty, lived at 3842 10th Street in the Oak Park area.
aft February 12, 1943 x Burial x US Cemetery at Tebessa, Algeria
1947-1948 x Burial x John's mother requested remains be returned to the United States. Interred at Highland Memory Gardens, Des Moines, IA
Normandy (get correct photos for N. Africa) Omaha Beach (get correct photos for N. Africa)
Highland Memory Gardens, Des Moines, IA
168th Infantry Regiment; 34th Infantry Division (Red Horse Cavalry)
113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron
A brief history of the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, 113th Cavalry Group Mechanized, XIX
Corp, 1st Army.

Why play the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance? It's surely not because it's an easy force to play, and it's
definitely not its overwhelming firepower. My reason for modeling and playing the 113th is simply
because it was the unit in which Cpl. James Hall, my grandfather, served. He was a member of Troop
E, the assault gun troop. He joined the Troop on the 28th of September 1944; crossed the Roer, Rhine,
Weser, and Elbe with them; fought on the northern shoulder of the 'Bulge' with them; received a purple
heart for being wounded in action in Stirzilburg, Germany; and was with the first group to meet up with
the Soviets before entering Berlin.

The 113th Cavalry Regiment originated as an Iowa National Guard unit with history tracing back to the
19th century Indian Wars. Its distinctive coat of arms featuring a Red Horse rampant, a prickly pear
cactus (for its service along the Mexican border), and a fleur de lis (for its service during the WWI), has given the unit the nickname of the "Red Horse Cavalry".

With its mechanization in 1944, the 113th Cavalry was reorganized into three groups, 113th Cavalry
Headquarters, 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron, and the 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance
Squadron. Collectively known as the 113th Cavalry Group Mechanized, they were commanded by Col.
William S. Biddle of Portland Oregon, and a West Point graduate, class of 1923. The 113th Cavalry
Reconnaissance Squadron was commanded by Lt. Col. Allen D. Hulse, and the 125th by Lt. Col.
Anthony F. Kleitz.

The mechanized cavalry squadrons were organized with three Cavalry Troops, lettered A to C, each
equipped with 13 M8 Greyhound armored cars and jeeps, an Assault Gun Troop, E, with six M8 Scott
HMC; a Light Tank Company, F, with 17 M5 Stuarts, later replaced with M24 Chaffee tanks; a Service
Company; and an H&H Company.

Cavalry Squadrons were primarily intended for reconnaissance missions. However, during the war
they were usually employed in defensive, security, or screening missions. Armored field artillery,
engineer, and tank destroyer units reinforced the cavalry for most missions.
The cavalry groups were seldom called to perform their primary duty, and later analysis showed
that pure reconnaissance missions accounted for only 3 percent of their activities. The lion's share of
missions included defensive operations; special operations (such as security, road blocks, rear
screening); security missions (such as flank protections, and filling gaps), and purely offensive

Highlights of service during the war
The 113th saw its first engagement with the Germans in Normandy. The Cavalry put aside its
reconnaissance tactics and took on the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Division head on, when the Group
crossed the Vire et Taute Canal on July 7th and took the towns of Goucherie and Le Mesnil-Veneron. It
fought amongst hedgerows against what turned out to be a German counterattack aimed at Carentan and Isigny for four days.
With the fall of Gathemo, the 113th got a chance to stretch its legs and really move across the
countryside. On August 13th, the group marched 32 miles to Mortain, paused, and then set up a moving screen in front of the 30th ID to Dornfront. Here the 125th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron worked with the 82nd Armored Reconnaissance Btn in the capture of the heavily defended 17th century fortress, while the 113th covered a sizeable gap between two advancing infantry regiments, an action which earned them a commendation from Division Commander, Maj. Gen. Leland S. Hobbs.
On September 5th, the Group under the XIX Corp, and with Company B of the 82nd Engineer Combat
Battalion and Company C of the 803rd Tank Destroyer Battalion attached, moved on what is believed to
have been one of the most spectacular mechanized cavalry reconnaissance missions in military history,
when it made its brilliant dash across Belgium three days in advance of the Corps. Light, and even
moderate resistance was fought, or brushed aside, and heavy resistance, of which there was considerable, was reported and by-passed. All types of enemy fron Panther tanks to infantry were encountered. Messenger service was maintained by plane and communications by long-distance radio.
During the 'Bulge', the group was primarily responsible for flank protection in the Maastricht-Aachen-
Ligen area. The group remained on its defensive mission in the Geilenkichen area until shortly after
Christmas, when they moved to the area of Gey, on the northern edge of the Hurtgen forest. While
defending this particular sector, the group patrolled aggressively, and during the night of January 19-
20, Troop 'C', 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron conducted a raid across the Roer, returning with
six prisoners, the first prisoners taken on the Corps front in three weeks.
The 113th were the first units across the Roer, the Elbe, the Rhine, the Ruhr, and the Weser. Always at
the front of the advance, the 113th were always given priority to fuel, sometimes to the detriment of the
advance of the 2nd Armored.
On April 9th, the group accepted the surrender of the city of Einbeck which had been captured by Troop 'B' of the 113th Cavalry Reconnaissance.
During the 312 days of combat and over a distance of some 800 miles from the Normandy Bridgehead
to east of the Elbe, the group captured approximately 600 enemy tanks, armored cars, half-tracks and
vehicles, and captured 21,599 prisoners.
168th Infantry (Red Bull Division)
IRELAND • Beginning [1941]
The entry of the United States into the war found the 34th Infantry Division already organized. Formed from the National Guard of Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota, the Division was inducted into Federal service on 10 February 1941 and, after basic training at Camp Claiborne, took part in the Louisiana maneuvers. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, certain units were dispatched to key places in the southern states for security purposes, but hardly had they settled down to their first war job when they were ordered to Fort Dix, New Jersey, for the War Department had selected the 34th to be the first American Division to go to the European Theater of War in World War II. The destination was Northern Ireland. {The Louisiana Maneuvers were large scale war games on the size of an Army.}

The Commanding General,with a small staff group and some elements of the Division, left for overseas almost at once to prepare for the main body. During their absence, and on practically no notice, the Division rapidly streamlined itself from a square to a triangular Division, which meant, unfortunately, that several units had to leave the Division. There was little time for regrets, though, for in three waves between 15 January 1942 and 13 May 1942 the Division shipped out, so that by the end of May the whole formation had concentrated in Ulster. The Division at once began a training program for small units which, especially as it was being executed overseas, had rather more urgency than the Louisiana maneuvers.

The country of Northern Ireland is wild and wet. Jagged hills and bare moors are dotted with peat bogs and cut by brown mountain torrents. The Division soon became accustomed to the difficulties of the cross-country movements which later were to form part of their daily existence in combat. Almost as soon as the Division had arrived in Ireland a call was made for volunteers to create the 1st Ranger Battalion, which may be said to have had its origins in the 34th Infantry Division. In order to create team spirit and cooperation with our British Allies, a number of exercises involving the services of both nations were held. Training for combat was intensified after Major General Charles W. Ryder assumed command of the Division on 12 June 1942, for the General was certain that more active duties than garrisoning a base lay ahead.

ALGIERS • Pretending [1942]
In the early part of August confidential orders were received to move the 168th Regimental Combat Team from Ireland to Scotland in preparation for an undisclosed combat mission. While in Scotland the 168th RCT underwent rugged training for amphibious and mountain warfare. A small inkling of the type of operation which lay in the offing was obtained when volunteers were requested for No. 1 and No. 6 Commando, British units which specialize in amphibious raids and whose toughness is a byword in the Allied services As training progressed, further orders were received from the High Command to constitute a planning group which was to move to London on an extremely secret mission. It was in London that it first became known that elements of the 34th Infantry Division had been selected to take a large part in the first big Allied offensive of the war - the landing in North Africa. The mission was to seize the port of Algiers and to insure that it was kept open for the supply of an Allied army which, moving rapidly eastward, was to occupy Tunisia, taking Rommel's Afrika Corps in the rear.

The Allied force which General Ryder was to command was given the name "Eastern Assault Force" and was to land near Algiers at precisely the same hour when two other Allied task forces hit the beaches near Oran and Casablanca. It is not of great importance here to study the details of this gigantic operation; it is enough to say that the Eastern Assault Force arrived off Algiers at the appointed time, 0100 hours on 8 November 1942. Due to certain errors, not all of the assault infantry waves were put ashore at the right places. In the case of the 168th Infantry a delay of several hours was caused by the landing of a battalion 17 miles away from its designated beach. Nevertheless, so thorough had been the briefing of all ranks on the situation and mission that the heights overlooking Algiers were under our control less than 12 hours after the first landing craft scraped upon the beach. The 3rd Battalion, 135th Infantry, had joined the expedition at almost the last minute, being given the task of landing from two destroyers after they had smashed the boom guarding the entrance to the harbor. Although a gallant attempt was made to put this plan into execution the boom proved a more difficult proposition than was first thought and before the leading destroyer could bring up alongside the mole, French searchlights and guns had been alerted and severe damage was inflicted upon the two small ships. The infantry who managed to get ashore were opposed by Senegalese troops and French tanks - more than a match for the Americans who had only small arms. When our troops had fired all their ammunition their commander surrendered to prevent further bloodshed.

Meanwhile, a second American Combat Team and a British Brigade seized important airfields south of Algiers while the 168th Infantry had patrols in the southwestern outskirts of the city. Throughout the whole of this skirmishing, negotiations were going on between General Ryder, as the Allied representative, and General Juin, French commander.

On the morning of 9 November, a little more than 24 hours after the assault waves touched down, a conference was held in the main fort of Algiers and an armistice arranged which came into final effect on 11 November.

The campaign in North Africa began with several days of combat against the Vichy French army and navy. Then came a period of organizing under the Britis high command. By January 1943, German troops had landed re-inforcements in Tunisia and the Americans first entered combat against the German Wehrmacht troops.
After the German Army in North Africa surrendered, the 34th Division stopped to rest and re-organize. General Patton lead the 7th Army in the invasion of Sicily, while the 34th prepared for fighting on the mainland of Italy..
Also of interest is that on 19 November 1942, the 175th Field Artillery Battalion was assigned to support the British 78th Division and entered combat at Medjez-el-Bab, Tunisia. This was the first American unit to enter combat against the German army.
Camp Claiborne, LA   Hutment, Camp Claiborne, LA  
Camp Claiborne, LA Hutment, Camp Claiborne Fort Benning, GA
US Army Seal

Red Bull Division

34th Air Division
John Clarence Petty, Jr.
Lieutenant Colonel
(field rank: Colonel)
168th Infantry Regiment
34th Infantry Division

Red Horse website
Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Purple Heart
Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

8th Corps; Normandy

Field Artillery

5th Army
The comprehensive list of names from North High's 1893-2018 graduation classes are from Claradell Shedd's North Des Moines High School website. The names of all North High School graduates can be found online at John Clarence Petty's 1923 class page can be viewed at
Died: 02/12/43; Tunisia. Buried in Des Moines, IA; Highland Memory Gardens; 1947-48.
Music: "You Raise Me Up"
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