Louya, Donald C. (609th)

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Biography:  Donald Curtis Louya was born on December 21, 1921, in Thomasville, North Carolina. He was one of six sons and three daughters born to Andrew Curtis Louya and Frances Alice Byerly. He graduated from local schools and then worked as a farm hand as indicated by his enlistment record.

The 1940 census states that he was working at a gas station the same year he enlisted.

Service Time:  Donald entered the service on September 18, 1940, and would have been assigned to a pre-war unit. We know very little about his early service time but we do know that he was eventually assigned to Company C of the 609th Tank Destroyer Battalion and is shown in their 1942 yearbook while they were stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. At the time, he is already listed as a Sergeant and continued to train with the unit at facilities throughout the U.S.

The unit shipped out from the New York port on August 11, 1944, and arrived in England on the 12th. Just over a month later they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach on September, 20th. They were equipped with M18 tank destroyers and initially went into Corps Reserve, on the 28th, east of Moutier, France, where crews fired artillery type missions through October.

The unit then joined operations against the Siegfried Line in November and early December. Most of Company C moved to Bastogne on December 18th, with the 10th Armored Division, while the remainder of battalion fought along the Sauer River. The entire battalion then fought to eliminate the Bulge in January, 1945. They were deployed to the Saar-Moselle triangle in February and participated in the capture of Trier in March. The 609th supported the attack south and east out of the Mannheim bridgehead across the Rhine River in late March and April, reaching southern Bavaria, near Füssen, by the end of the month.

The 609th received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. Donald was awarded the Bronze Star Medal on June 11th and shared in the unit’s award of the Distinguished Unit Citation for actions from December 18-27, 1944. 

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We have limited information on Donald after the war but he remained in the Army and made it his career. On December 22, 1945, while on leave, Donald married the former Ruby Nell Busby, who was born in Mississippi and was the daughter of William Hudson Busby and Sarah Ester Strickland. The wedding took place at the Court Street Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, MS.

The family initially lived in Hattiesburg, MS, but they would later make their home in the Wayne County and Strengthford areas of Mississippi. After the wedding, Donald was required to report to Fort Bragg, NC, unassigned, but we believe his service would have been assignments throughout the U.S. and all over the world. The new couple would welcome a daughter named Corliss, born in November of 1946.

In 1964, the family moved to Killeen, Texas, with Donald serving with the 2nd Armored Division which was stationed there. An article from the Fort Hood, Texas publication, “The Armored Sentinel” on April 4, 1969, reports that Donald had recently retired (March 31, 1969) and had 28 years of active service. At the time, he is identified as the 2nd Armored Division’s, 1st Brigade Sergeant Major. Among his various awards, they list the Bronze Star Medal, two Army Commendation Medals and several campaign ribbons. It also says that he would be making his home in Killeen, TX, and would be working for the NCO Life Insurance Company.

Donald passed away on December 4, 1994 and was buried in the Stengthford Baptist Church Cemetery in Strengthford, MS. Thank you to Find a Grave contributor Gwen Langley Pittman for the use of the grave marker photo.

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