Patrick E. King, Brooklyn, N.Y., 24th Division, 63rd FA Bn, Leyte
I came across your website, www.24thida.com, while researching information on my dad's unit, in the Battle of Leyte, Philippines. My dad is Patrick E. King, Brooklyn, N.Y., 24th Infantry Division, 63rd Field Artillery Bn, Pacific theatre, Leyte, WWII. King is the second from the right in the photo (click on photo to enlarge).
The Leyte invasion was where dad earned his commendation endorsed by a Col. Landis. Dad was in a valley midway between the east and west Leyte coast acting as a radio relay man. The enemy knew that eliminating dad and his small group could turn the battle. He was an enemy target for 13 days, but held his position and gave fire coordinates to the artillery and naval batteries.
My reason for writing is, we are hoping to find pictures of his unit during that time, and any other information that may be available on the 63rd FA BN in Leyte.
Dad has never talked much about the war. He is 89 years old now, and we do not want his role in our battle for freedom to vanish completely. We just recently were able to obtain the written commendation, and his medals, and my brother (NYFD 9-11) had them mounted and presented to him by another vet of WWII, which seemed to mean a lot to him.
We were not sure how he would handle seeing these things after a lifetime of “forgetting,” but I guess it was like holding a piece of history in his hands. Something he was proud to be part of, the 24th.
My dad is the second from the right in the photo. I’m sorry, that picture is the only one I have to share at the moment. Dad told us that picture was taken after the group shown had visited the grave of one of their friends, who was KIA. They went down to make sure it was clear of debris, and to say a few prayers.
Thanks for any help you can give us, and thank you for your service to our country!
Portion of webmaster's response: "Here are some suggestions about information on WWII and Leyte. Several of the stories have references to Leyte. Go to the Stories button on www.24thida.com; articles I'd suggest are Jacob Meier (bottom of list), and going down from top: McKenna, Fantino, Jorgensen, Mantini, Delpizo, Overcash, Sheppard, Cain, and Thornton. These are all from recent Taro Leaf's. Also, go to the Taro Leaf button and look for the issues labeled Leyte, and 50th Anniversary."
D'Amato's reply: "Thank you, Tom, for your response. Some of the stories were quite interesting, as well as the pictures. I am going to print some out and bring them to dad. He's 89 now, having the usual age related issues, but always smiling and good to be around! Thank you for your help, and God bless you in the New Year!"