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Pfc John R McKinney, Jr

Pfc John R McKinney, Jr

134th Infantry Regiment - Company A

John Reynolds McKinney Jr, son of John Reynolds Sr and Katie Beatrice (Jones) McKinney, was born August 23, 1923 in Newcastle, Texas. He registered for the draft June 30, 1942 when he was 18 years old, living in Shreveport, Louisiana and working at the Strand Theater in Shreveport. He joined Company A, 134th Infantry Regiment as a Messenger from the 38th Replacement Battalion September 21, 1944 when the unit was in the vicinity of Domartemont, France. He participated in the "Baby Patrol" September 29, 1944, the rescue of 81 French children from an orphanage under bombardment at Han, northeast of Nancy, France and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for heroic action during that operation. Pfc John R McKinney, Jr was reported missing October 9, 1944 in the vicinity of Fossieux, France and was later confirmed killed in action by artillery shell fragments October 18, 1944. He is buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, Saint Avold, France.

Bronze Star Medal Citation

Private John R McKinney Jr, 38616429, Infantry, United States Army, for heroic service in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States in the vicinity of Han, France, on 29 September 1944. When the civil affairs officer received information that eighty-one small children, evacuees from Paris, were in a chateau in the village of Han, France, Private McKinney immediately volunteered to assist in a rescue despite the fact that the village and all roads leading into it were being subjected to heavy concentrations of enemy artillery and mortar fire. The rescue party moved four trucks to a point within one thousand yards of the village, there leaving the vehicles because of the enemy fire and observation hazard. The rescue group then made a number of trips to the chateau, carried the smaller children and led the others to the assembly point, and evacuated all the children to a place of safety without a single casualty. The courageous and unhesitating actions of Private McKinney undoubtedly saved the lives of a considerable number of helpless children. Entered military service from Louisiana.

General Orders No. 44, Headquarters 35th Infantry Division, 16 October 1944

The Casper Star Tribune, Casper WY - March 27, 1945

Read more about the "Baby Patrol" rescue mission

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