PFC Maurice Joseph Ott
ll6th Infantry, 29th Division
KIA 22 June, 1944
At Couvains, France
Your loving daughter,
My Father, Maurice Joseph Ott (Joe) was born on October 8, 1918 in Clearfield, Pennsylvania to Joseph E. Ott and Ida Myrtle (Haight) Ott.
My Grandfather was a Methodist Minister until their two daughters Vivian, age 10, and Dorothy, age 8, died within 6 months of each other. My
Dad was 2 years old at the time. They moved to Kane, Pa. and my Grandfather went back to college to become a Chiropractor, which he was
until his death in 1940. He was 9 years older than my Grandmother. They were still very active in their church.
I have pictures of my Dad as a child. He had blond, natural curls and light hazel eyes. I am told he was a very nice and caring person.
(There was never any doubt in my mind.) He was the third youngest of ten children. My Father and Mother met when they became dance
partners and won every dance contest they entered. My Mom says it was because my Dad was such a good dancer.
From January 1,1937 to January 27,1940 my Father was in the Pa. National Guard. He was in the 28th Div, 112th Infantry, Company M. I am
not sure where the unit was stationed at this time.
My Father and Mother were married in June and the following December he left for the Army. He was sent to Richmond,Va. and was in Co. K, 116th infantry,
the 29th division. I do not have all the details yet, but hope to soon. He was given a short leave before shipping out and did get to see
his new daughter just once.
On D-Day, June 6,1944 my Father was in the Second Wave at Omaha Beach. From what I understand, one of the men blew up a barbed wire fence
put there by the enemy. This made a path for them to get off the beach quickly, until cleared, after being told by CPT Pingley to get out
of there or die there. My Father's Army Buddy told me my Father, after hearing Milton say he could go no further after being in the water
up to their necks with full back packs on, pulled him along to safety off of the beach. He told me he knew he would have never made it
without my Dad.
It is believed my Father was a member of a combat patrol sent out to detect the location of the enemy when he was killed by a German machine
gun on June 22,1944 at Couvains, France. He was not buried until June 27th. Five days between death and a burial was unusual. He was first
listed as Missing in Action, then Killed in Action. The thought of him laying for so long before possibly knowing who he was tears at my
heart. Hopefully I will find this not to be so. I was 16 months old when he died. He was buried at Le Combe Cemetery until his body was
brought home at the request of my Grandmother in 1948. He now rests at Hillcrest Cemetery in Clearfield, Pa.
I was told by my Father's Army Buddy that he took up boxing in England while they were training for Omaha Beach. He became very good at it
and was teaching some of the others. The 29th Division wanted him to be on their boxing team, but he refused, stating he couldn't do that.
I was not left totally without a Dad. I had a very loving Stepfather who saw to it that I visited my Grandmother Ott two or three times a year
whenever we went to Kane. He called her Mother Ott and she called him her Adopted Son. I remember getting letters from my Grandmother a lot
and wonderful gifts from her for Christmas and my birthday. I did, however, often wonder what it would be like to have my Father. I guess
that is natural.
There were those times when I would imagine he didn't die and he would come for me, but . . .
In my possession now are his flag, his purple heart, the book from Queen Elizabeth called "Britians Homage," his bible with his favorite
verses marked, his wallet with many pictures of my mother and me and some of his Army buddies (unfortunately without names) and some cards
he sent to my Grandmother. After joining AWON, I also received 11 of his medals and a Gold Star Pin.
Joining AWON has made it possible for me to have my Dad with me once again. Also AWON gives me those who are so loving and caring and know
exactly how I feel. Its a closeness I don't think anyone else could possibly understand. Thanks, Anne. I am so proud of my Dad and all of
our Fathers, who gave their lives for our freedom and that of our children and grandchildren.
Dad, you would be so proud of your three grandsons and I wish I could have just one day with you. I love you and I have so much to tell you . . .
-- Janice Ott Buterbaugh --