1LT Alton L. House
6th. Armored Division, Troop C,
86th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized
Killed in Action 5 August, 1944 in Brittany
-- Chari L. House --
My father was 27 years one month (7/5/17) when he was killed in action at either Plouguer, France
(per the day by day report on Troop C) or Carhaix, France (as reported by Charles Barbour the 86th
Historian who wrote a book called "Mount Up" and can be found at: www.erols.com/barbourm/brittany).
My father was also an orphan, losing his mother a couple of months after his birth. Since he was
an infant, his father couldn't care for him, so he was raised between his surviving three sisters
and one brother until he enlisted in the Army in September, 1934. In 1941, he convinced my mother
that they should get married and ten months seven days later he would become a father of a baby girl,
his only child. His pride and joy, as now he had a family of his own, as told to me by my mother.
I only knew my father for 17 months before he was shipped overseas in 1944, so I have no memories.
Mother told me stories of him and how he loved me, and I have read a few letters he wrote home.
These stories have kept my love for him alive to this day.
I have had a very difficult time accepting him being buried on foreign soil, but thanks to the
founder of the American World War II Orphans Network, and fellow members, I have accepted that I
cannot bring him home and that he is not alone, but with those who fell before and after him.
Some day I hope to visit his grave, to say good-bye.
After all these years, I have finally started breaking down the wall of silence by asking questions
of my mother, surviving members of the 86th , and a close friend who was stationed with Dad at
Camp Cooke and were good friends of both Mother and Dad.
My mother never really accepted his death that was part of her love for him. Wanting to accept
anything other than the finality of his life. On September 15, 2001, they were united once again.
Since joining AWON, and with their help, I was able to find the Executive Officer, Capt. Robert King,
who knew my father. He has been a tremendous help in telling me what my father was like. In
stories I had heard, I felt that my father was a very compassionate, caring individual and Capt.
King confirmed this.
My father volunteered to reconnoiter ahead of his platoon and Capt. King told me that was typical
of my father. In doing so my father lost his life rather than sacrificing other soldiers. A letter
from the War Department over the signature of Robert H. Dunlop, Brigadier General, Acting Adjutant
General, awarding my father the Silver Star, tells what happened. (My father knew he might not come
home, as he spoke of this in a prior letter and by what he did that fateful day, August 5, 1944.)
I quote "While on a mission to reconnoiter ahead of a combat command, he personally elected to
lead the scout section of his platoon. Encountering a gun emplacement in a road block, which
already had destroyed three tanks, he led the section directly into enemy fire in an attempt to
reduce the obstacles."
My mother received his Purple Heart and Silver Star posthusmously in January, 1945, in a ceremony
held at Ft. Riley, KS. My father died for what he loved the most. His Country, His Wife, His
Daughter, in that order, but all equal. I am proud to be his daughter.