PVT James Truett Bigger
43rd Division, 103rd Infantry, Company B
Born Aug. 30, 1919, Rosboro, Arkansas
KIA, Boso-Boso, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 29 February 1945
Buried at Manila American Cemetery

My Dad was born in the town of Rosboro, Arkansas in the southwest corner. He was the second child and the only son of Ed and Ersey Bigger, having an older sister, Vernelle. His baby sister, Marianne, had died in 1925. His father was a millwright for Caddo River Lumber Co. They were harvesting the old growth pine forest. In 1939 the mill moved to Springfield, Oregon to cut old growth douglas fir. The company moved the management people and their families on a private train, Truett's family included. My Dad wanted to be a millwright like his Dad. His sister Vernelle went to college. He loved his family, dogs, baseball, his Church and his mother's cooking. He was the first secretary of Trinity Baptist Church in Springfield, Oregon and valedictorian of his high-school class.

His sister, Vernelle, once chased him with a butcher knife because he wouldn't stop teasing her. He admired his sister for her intelligence and musical talent. She was a gifted pianist.

His maternal grandfather was a minister, his aunts and uncles were teachers. His great uncles were Veterans of the Civil War.

Their neighbors told his folks he was driving the family car around the yard when his parents were not at home. They said they didn't know Truett could drive, as he was only about 10 years old. A good boy, but full of mischief. He wrote to his best friend all through his time in the service.

While working at Rosboro Mill in Springfield, he met my mother, Evalyn Duval. She worked in the town ice cream and candy shop. She also was new to the area. Evalyn was a petite brunette from Little Rock, Arkansas. It was love at first sight and they eloped in 1940 and I was born in 1942 in Eugene, Oregon.

When World War II broke out my dad moved us to Portland, Oregon where he worked as a welder at the Albina shipyards building Liberty Ships. Uncle Sam called dad in 1944. He did his basic training in Camp Wolters Texas and then he was sent to California for more training as part of a replacement battalion. From there he was shipped out to Luzon and was assigned to the 43rd Division, 103rd Infantry, Company B. They were a New England National Guard Unit. They had been in the Pacific since 1941. After a few weeks the company was moved to a camp South of Manila. They were being moved by truck after all the days of marching. The retreating Japanese Armies were hiding in caves in the mountains East of Manila. Company B moved into the mountains too, along the Antipolo Road. Yamashita was the Japanese General in charge. He later surrendered to the 43rd.

On February 29, 1945 a sniper fired on their foxhole. It was dusk with poor visibility. My Dad was killed instantly on Good Friday of 1945. Dad and his partner had been throwing grenades into the tall grass on the hillside. He had written to his family, "If I am killed, don't worry, I will be waiting to join you in Heaven. This war will be the adventure of a lifetime." We have his sharpshooter medals and his combat infantry medals. Letters from his comrades confirmed what we already knew, A Good American doing his best. I have over 100 letters to know him by.

My son James and grandson Colin Truett are named after him, as are two cousins. I think he would be as proud of them as we are proud of him.

– Sherry Bigger Haxby
Tillamook, Oregon