LaRocque, James C. (772nd)

James C. LaRocque

Biography: James Clifford LaRocque, “Jay”, was born on December 24, 1905, in Plainview, Minnesota. He was the son on James LaRocque and Flossie Wood. He attended local schools through the 8th grade. The 1930 U.S. Census shows he was working as a farm laborer. The 1940 Census indicates he was working as an attendant at an oil station. His draft card, date October 16, 1940, shows he was employed by the People’s Co-Operative Oil Company in Plainview. By 1941, he was a member of the local Jaycees.

Service Time: Jay entered the Army on March 3, 1943, and was eventually assigned to Headquarters, 772nd Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 772nd was originally a self-propelled tank destroyer unit but they were converted to a towed anti-tank gun battalion during training. They shipped from the New York port on September 29, 1944, and arrived in England on October 10th. Landing in France on December 20th, they entered the line near Birgel, Germany, on December 22, 1944, joining up with the 83rd Infantry Division. Fighting in Belgium in January, 1945, with the 75th Infantry Division, they then shifted south to the Seventh Army’s sector along the Rhine River in February. Conversion to the self-propelled M36 tank destroyer began in late March. The unit supported operations against the Ruhr Pocket in April and then took on military government duties. Jay earned the EAME ribbon, with credit for the campaigns of Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe, along with the WWII Victory and Good Conduct Medals. He left the military on September 9, 1945, at the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Jay returned home and soon went to work for K&K Electric in Rochester. MN. On August 11, 1949, he married the former Esther Louise Stratton in Plainview, MN. She was born in Ostrander, Ohio, and was the daughter of the Rev. Calvin F. Stratton and Lottie G. Sipe. He was a member of the Plainview American Legion Post 179. Jay passed away on June 2, 1969 and was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Plainview. We would like to thank Theresa DeWitt for use of the photo showing Jay during WWII.