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World War II Veteran: Dean Lettington

posted on April 9, 2006 at 6:16 PM


Photos

Born: 1925
Reason for entering military service: Lettington was drafted into the Army in September 1942 from Des Moines
Assigned: 559th Field Artillery Battalion. This unit was used by several of the armies that made up what was known as the 8th Corps. Lettington spent time assigned to several of these groups including the 3rd Army, the 5th Army and the 7th Army.
Rank: Private First Class


"The Lord was with us. Instead of firing into our convoy they fired into these buildings trying to get a cave in."

Background:

As part of the 559th Field Artillery Battalion, Lettington had crossed the English Channel 17 days after D-Day in June of 1944. In December of 1944, Lettington found himself among the troops retreating from a massive German counter-attack now known as the Battle of the Bulge. By late December, his unit was getting close to the growing bulge in the line. As the German forces began to push forward the order to withdraw was given. After spotting German tanks, the men of the 559th were more than willing to comply with their orders and fall back.


Transcript

Private First Class Dean Lettington, a 19 year-old from Des Moines, had crossed the English Channel with the Units of the 7th Army, 17 days after D-Day. As part of the 559th Field Artillery Battalion, he had spent the last few months fighting across France. By late December, his unit was getting close to the growing bulge in the line. As the German forces began to push forward the order to withdraw was given. After spotting German tanks, the men of the 559th were more than willing to comply with their orders and fall back.


(Dean Lettington) To get out of there, we had to go between two big stone buildings and we actually seen those tanks fire at us as we were sitting on the truck. The Lord was with us. Instead of firing into our convoy they fired into these buildings trying to get a cave in. Well some of us got sprinkled with rocks from the building, you know, nothing really severe. But then later we realized that yeah, they didn't want to destroy our convoy, they wanted our ammunition, gasoline and possibly our guns—if we didn't get them exploded.

Tags: battlefront Des Moines education European Union France history Iowa military veterans war World War II