Moorhead, Dwight E. (776th & 705th)

Dwight E. Moorhead

Biography: Dwight Ewing Moorhead was born on March 27, 1907, in Toledo, Ohio. He was one of two sons and three daughters born to Adrian O. Moorhead and Nina G Ewing. His mother died of pneumonia in 1918, and by 1920, the family was living in Seneca, OH. He attended Columbian High School in Tiffin, OH. In 1930, he was a senior at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Engineering and participating in R.O.T.C (Reserve Officer Training Corps).

On September 3, 1932, he married the former Natalie Shreve, the daughter of Earl O. Shreve and Annebella Thomson in Schenectady, New York. In October, 1934, the couple had a son, Dwight E., but the couple divorced in 1939. His draft card, dated October, 1940, indicates he was living in Schenectady, New York, and employed as an engineer by the General Electric Company while still a member of the Reserve Corps.

In April of 1942, he married the former Anne Loraine Todd who was the daughter of Van Winkle Todd and Frances Loraine Timpson. They had three children, Nina, Loraine and Todd.

Service Time: We don’t know exactly when Dwight went on active duty in the Army but by July, 1941, Captain Moorhead is a member of the staff and faculty at the Coast Artillery School, Fort Monroe, Virginia. In February, 1942, he was serving in the Coast Artillery in Texas and had recently returned from England where he served as an observer. In 1943, now Lt. Col. Moorhead, wrote an article titled “Training AA Gunners” which was published in The Field Artillery Journal.

Field Artillery Journal Article

On August 27, 1944, he assumed command of the 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was in combat in Italy at that time. Various components of the 776th had begun assignments as coastal and installation guards in various locations in the Northwest. The unit trained at Camp Hood, Texas, and on January 14, 1943, they shipped out from the New York Port of Embarkation. The unit had been issued M10 tank destroyers while still in the U.S.

They arrived in Casablanca, Morocco, on January 25, 1943, and fought in the area of Maknassy and Ferryville, Tunisia. Eighteen enlisted men participated in the Sicily campaign as radio operators and military police, debarking in the vicinity of Cappaci, Italy, beginning on September 19th. The main body was committed near Rotondi on October 10th, where it supported the Volturno River crossing and later the Rapido River crossing, fighting near Cassino from January through March, 1944. They joined the breakthrough of the Hitler Line in May, 1944, entering Rome on June 4th and joining the drive to the Arno River.

Transferring to southern France in September–October, 1944, they received M36 tank destroyers during this period. The 776th moved into the line near Luneville on October 30th and supported the French 2d Armored Division advance to Strasbourg in November. Battling the German Nordwind offensive around Rimling, France, in January 1945, they claimed the first Jagdtiger destroyed on the Western front. They attacked the Siegfried Line near Omersheim, Germany, and crossed the Rhine River near Worms in March. The unit aided in the capture of Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Ulm, Germany, and crossed Danube in April, ending the war in Ehrwald, Austria.

The photo on the left is from the 776th’s unit history. It was probably taken after the war and at a more relaxed time for the unit.

On July 5, 1945, Dwight was transferred to the 705th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He earned a Bronze Star with OLC (Oak Leaf Cluster awarded in lieu of 2nd BS), Purple Heart, French Croix de Guerre and EAME medals with credit for the campaigns of Rome – Arno, Rhineland and Central Europe. He left the service at the rank of Colonel.

Dwight returned home to Schenectady and his family along with his job at General Electric. In 1950, he became the manager of the General Electric Motor Plant in San Jose, California. At some point after the family moved, he and Anne separated. On February 7, 1953, he married the former Emily L. Watson, who was born in Salem, Oregon and the daughter of Frank E. Frickey and Vera B Shaupp. He was active in the United Fund, Greater San Jose Chamber of Commerce, YMCA, Commonwealth Club and the Republican Party.

Sadly, Emily was killed in a car accident on August 21, 1964. In October, 1964, he was one of seven men rescued when their plane went down in NE Nevada while returning from a hunting trip.

Missing Plane Article – Santa Cruz Sentinel, October 19, 1964

Dwight passed away on November 28, 1964, in San Jose, CA. He was buried in the Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose.