Templeton, Clifford D. (705th)

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Biography: Clifford D. Templeton was born on May 23, 1904, in Chicago, Illinois, and was the son of Clifford F. Templeton and Elizabeth “Bessie” Cohn. They also had a daughter, Antoinette.

Clifford likely attended local secondary schools in Chicago but graduated from the Culver Military Academy, Culver, Indiana, in 1921. In the two years he spent there, he not only excelled intelectually but also participated in a number of sports programs, inclduing hockey, volleyball, swimming, indoor baseball, football and soccer. He also was a member of the ski club and was on the school’s campion swim team his first year there.

He then furthered his education at the University of Chicago in what was identified as a “scientific” course of studies. Sometime in 1927, he married the former Hildegarde Schmidt, also from Chicago, who was the daughter of Dr. Louis E. Schmidt and Marie Mansfield.

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The couple continued living in Chicago and had a son, Mansfield. Hildegarde passed away after a long illness at the age of 32 on March 5, 1938. Also in 1938, he is listed as President of Metropolitan Deliveries, Ltd. On May 3, 1941, Clifford married the former Nancy M. McCoy of Eastbrook, Tennessee, daughter of William G. Martin and Laura Taylor.

Service Time: Clifford appears to have joined the National Guard at some point in the late 1920’s. By 1931, he’s listed as a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry and as a 1st Lt. in Field Artillery by 1932. A 1939 National Guard Register shows him as a Captain in the 58th Field Artillery Brigade, National Guard U.S. The 1943 register lists him as a Major with date of rank on March 5, 1941.

On June 25, 1942, he was assigned as the Commanding Officer of the 705 th Tank Destroyer Battalion, stationed at Camp Cooke, California. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel on July 10th. The 705th trained at numerous locations in the U.S. including; the Desert Training Center, CA, Camp Hood, Texas, Camp Adair, Oregon, IV Corp Artillery Center, Yakima, Washington and Fort Lewis, WA, before moving to Camp Shanks, New York and shipping overseas on the Queen Elizabeth.

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They arrived at Gourock, Scotland, on April 27, 1944, and later landed at Utah Beach, Normandy, France, on July 18th, equipped with M18 tank destroyers.  The unit joined the Cobra breakout and swept through Brittany to Brest in late July and early August, helping to clear the Crozon Peninsula into September.  They moved across France in October to the Moselle River, advancing to the German border at Kitzing in mid-November.  Following a shift north to the Aachen area in early December, they were soon sent to Bastogne, Belgium, and participated in the famous defense by the 101st Airborne Division.

The Signal Corps photo on left, shows Lt. Col. Templeton, being awarded the Silver Star by Major General Maxwell Taylor, who was the 101st Airbourne Division Commander. The award was in recognition of his leadership during the seige at Bastogne.

The 705th next supported the drive to the Rhine River in March 1945. On March 1st, with the battalion attached to the 11th Armored Division, the unit Command Post was set up near Sellerich, Germany. At 6:00 PM that evening, a lone German artillery shell struck the CP, killing Colonel Templeton and severely wounding Captain Thomas C. Edgar and Captain Mason W. Harris. Captain Harris died of his wounds two days later. Colonel Templeton was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit and Bronze Star medals and was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart Medal.

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Lt. Col. Clifford D. Templeton is buried in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, Hombourg, Belgium, in Plot H, Row 3, Grave 13. We would like to thank him, and Captain Harris, for making the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We would also like to thank Find-a-Grave member Des Philippet for use of the grave marker photo and to E-yearbook.com for the photo of Templeton, as a senior, at Culver Military Academy. The photo is used by permission of Digital Data Online, Inc.