Peacock, Earl G. (811th)

Earl G. Peacock 1Earl G. Peacock

Biography:  Earl George Peacock was born on April 30, 1914, in Crow Wing, Minnesota. He was one of four children born to Ceth D. Peacock and Florence Gertrude May and graduated from local schools. He continued his education at the University of Missouri earning a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering.

He then went to work for the Henry J. Kaiser Company in California on construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the state of Washington. From 1940 to early 1942, he was employed by Griffith Company and Bent Company, a joint venture on the construction of Friant Dam, California. 

Service Time: Earl joined the Army and rose to the rank of Major, serving as Executive Officer for the 811th Tank Destroyer battalion.

The unit shipped out from the Boston port on September 5, 1944 and arrived at Cherbourg, France, on the 15th. They were equipped with M18 tank destroyers and moved to Luxembourg in November, participating in the Battle of the Bulge in December. The photo above was taken on December 16, 1944, while they were in Waldbillig, Luxembourg. Earlier that same day, German artillery had begun, introducing his unit into the Battle of the Bulge.

Just one day later on the 17th, Earl was wounded, east of the city. Headquarters Company, together with B Company, Reconnaissance Company and two Troops of the 89th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron were formed into Task Force Brownfield, which was named after the Battalion Commander Albert R. Brownfield, and were supporting the 9th Armored Division’s 3rd Armored Field Artillery Battalion and 60th Armored Infantry Battalion. Earl was wounded when the 987th Volkgrenadier Regiment of the 276th Volksgrenadier Division, attacked and overran their position.

Return Letter to Erwin Verholen – 7/21/90

The battalion was scattered widely and pieces attached to many divisions into January, 1945, and they then supported operations against the Siegfried Line in February and early March. Earl had returned to duty on February 7th and advanced with the unit to the Rhine in late March, crossing on the 30th, supporting the 80th Infantry Division in the capture of Kassel. The 811th then advanced to Erfurt and Chemnitz in April, moving south and crossing the Danube River to Regensburg, finally entering Austria on May 5th.

Earl G. Peacock 3Earl earned the Bronze Star for heroic service in Luxembourg on December 17, 1944, and the Purple Heart Medal for wounds sustained. 

After the WWII, Earl remained in the Army as an Engineer and Utility Officer for the Potsdam Conference. He was also charged with the responsibility for rehabilitation and construction of facilities for U.S. Forces in the Berlin area. Earl later served in the Korean Conflict as Commander of a construction battalion. On October 27, 1965, G.O. No. 35, during the Vietnam war, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States from January 1963 to April 1965.” He was honorably discharged at the rank of Colonel. 

Earl served as a Technical Consultant on the staff of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, House of Representatives and was a former Assistant District Engineer for the Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, California. Earl also served as a District Engineer for the Los Angeles District of California. He was married to the former Valeria Agnes Smola, born in Portland, Oregon, and the daughter of Frederick James Smola and Clara Buckley.  The new couple had a son Earl Jr. born in 1951.

Earl G. Peacock 2Earl passed away on March 17, 1997, at the age of 82 in Alameda, CA. He was buried at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, Smith County, Texas.

I want to thank Erwin Verholen for providing the main photo and information for Earl. I also want to thank Billion Grave contributor Jake D. Johnston for the use of the grave marker photo.