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Sgt. Lay, G Troop, Horse Cavalry, 1941

Captain Lay displaying his medals

Sgt. Kermit Lay, left the Horse Cavalry and  re-enlisted as Private in the Aviation Ordnance. The recruiting sergeant had told him they were forming a cadre and he would probably make Staff Sgt. He arrived at Fort Douglas, Utah where the 1st Sergeant told him that all vacancies had been filled. He was assigned to 724th Aviation Ordnance Co. A month later they were ordered to the Philippines, arriving at Nichols Field 45 days before the outbreak of World War II. He wasn’t happy about that as he had finished a tour of duty there in 1935-37. On the 8th of  December 1941 the Japanese destroyed all the planes on the ground. On 24th of  December Gen. MacArthur declared Manila an open city and ordered all troops to Bataan.  Air Corps units were issued Springfield rifles and were named Provisional Air Corps Infantry.  Kermit received a battlefield commission as 2nd Lieutenant, Infantry, 25th   January, 1942 and has the distinction of being the only private to do so. He made the Bataan Death March and was a prisoner of war for 3-1/2 years.  Kermit retired from the Army as a Captain in 1951.  He was awarded and received many medals for his duties while serving his country including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star w/ Cluster, the Purple Heart w/ Cluster, the POW Medal, the Combat Infrantry Badge, the WW II Victory Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Presidential Unit Citation w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Philippine Unit Citation, the American Defense Medal w/ Star, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Medal w/ 2 Stars, and many more.
To see more of Capt. Kermit Lay's Military History pease Click Here, also see the loving memorial of my wife Paula Lay, please Click Here.


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