Captain Howard J Wall Name : Howard J Wall
Rank : Captain
Regiment : 345th Infantry Regiment
Division : 87th Infantry Division
Entered Service from : New York
Date of Birth : 8 December 1917
Date of Death : 8 February 1945
Place of Death : Neuendorf (Germany)
In Henri-Chapelle : Plot G, Row 15, Grave 42
Awards : Distinguished Service Cr.
Purple Heart Oakleafcluster

Howard Wall's Story ...

Howard Wall was born and raised in Troy, New York, together with his four brothers and two sisters. His parents were Mr. and Mrs. Michael J Wall. Howard's brother, First Lieutenant Donald Wall, was overseas also at the time Howard was in the Army.

Howard Wall and his mother

Howard gratuated from LaSalle Institute in 1936 and from Manhatten College in 1940. While in LaSalle he was major of the cadette battalion and captain of both the football and the tennis team. He was selected on the All-Troy football and basketball teams in his senior year at LaSalle. At Manhatten College he was the President of the Athletics Association and the Commerce Club, besides that he was active in all sports.

Howard back home in 1944

On 5 June 1943 (then Lieutenant) Howard J Wall married Miss Mary Elizabeth Frank. A bit more then a year after their marriage Mrs. Wall was pregnant ... Howard J Wall Jr was born on 6 February 1945 ... only two days later his father, without ever knowing anything about the birth of his son, was killed by a sniper in the little German town of Neuendorf ... thousands of miles away from home ... Howard was in front of a window on the second floor, when the sniper hit him in the chest ... according to a sergeant with him at that time, Howard ran down the stairs and collapsed when he came outside.

The house where Howard was killed (window above the door)

Howard J Wall went overseas with the 87th Infantry Division. He served as captain of L Company in the 345th Infantry Regiment. By his men he is described as a couragous and brilliant leader who was loved by all his men. How couragously Howard really was can be best explained by reading this passage in the Division Book of the 87th Infantry Division ...

"7 February 1945 ... L Company was sent around over the same route. Along the way they encountered a by-passed pillbox. Captain Wall, commanding L Company, deployed his platoons, used his Tank Destroyers in eliminating the fortification and moved on toward the other two companies. L Company moved around to the rear of I and K Companies ending up on K Company's left flank next to the Battalion objective ..."

GI's knocking out a pillbox with a bazooka

"... At mid-morning Company L attacked to assist in taking the Third Battalion's objective. As they began their march eastward along the highway, they were pinned down by machine gun fire. Captain Wall ordered two Tank Destroyers supporting his company, to move forward. As they came up, he fell in beside the vehicles directed fire on the fortification, and put it out of action. Company L continued to advance untill stopped again by a second pillbox. Directing two men to cover him, Captain Wall worked his way forward alone untill he reached the entrance of the bunker. Throwing in a hand grenade, he awaited the explosion, dashed inside and emptied his submachine gun at the occupants. His score --- two killed, six prisoners taken, another pillbox destroyed."

"... Later that day a concentration of enemy artillery fire fell on the advancing company, wounding several men; two of whom were left lying in an exposed position. Captain Wall, again setting a stirring example of fearless leadership, single handedly moved across the open ground and removed the two men to a sheltered area where they could be treated and evacuated."

For his actions Captain Howard J Wall was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Howard was killed on 8 February 1945 ... in Neuendorf.

The town of Neuendorf (Germany)

These days Howard Wall's final resting place can be visited in Belgium, at the American Military cemetery of Henri-Chapelle. Howard's grave is situated at the far end of the cemetery, where all names point to that same far end ... Even in this place Howard is in front of his men !

Captain Howard J Wall's final resting place

Special thanks to Howard Wall's family, to Mitch Kaidy, Paul Cutler, Bernie Diamond, Jim Hennessey (all 345th Infantry Division) and to Barbara Strang.