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David Dennis




            Name:                                                  DAVID HUBBELL COLGATE DENNIS

            Hometown per military records:                      Old Bennington

            Date of Birth:                                       August 25, 1924 at New York City, NY

            Entered military service at:                  Rutland, VT

            Entered military service on:                 May 04, 1943

            Rank:                                                   Private First Class

            Army serial number:                            31339520

            Unit:                                                    10th Mountain Division

                                                                        87th Mountain Regiment

                                                                        3rd Battalion

                                                                        Company K

            Missing In Action:                               April 16, 1945

            Killed In Action:                                  Eventual finding: April 16, 1945 at

Madna di Rodiano, Italy

                                                                        Vicinity of Saraoletto, Italy

            Buried:                                                 Florence American Cemetery

                                                                        Florence, Italy

                                                                        Plot G, Row 12, Grave 30

            Memorial marker:                                Bennington Centre Cemetery

            Medals:                                                            Purple Heart

            On local WWII monument?                 Unknown

            Age:                                                     21

            Details of death:                                  Probably artillery round

Per History of the 87th Mountain Infantry by Captain George F. Earle: (page 80)

“At 1100 the company was low on ammunition. They were on a small hill, the last before Madna di Rodiano, the first objective. No physical contact has been made with Company L, or with the 2d Platoon of K. To the right front, however, could be heard the sound of firing. Then a mortar barrage fell on them, an exceedingly heavy one. At this point they were ordered forward to join Company L in the attack to the east. Without reconnaissance, in the heavy barrage, a fragmentary order was given and the company moved out. They had thirteen casualties in five minutes. The [German] shells were bursting in the trees.”

According to his Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) , PFC Dennis went Missing In Action around 10:00/11:00 on April 16, 1945. Three statements were filed on April 24, 1945 regarding his MIA status with a third dated June 07, 1945.

            PFC Theodore G. Hartry: “The last time I saw Pfc Dennis he was going up a draw west

            of Madna Di Rodiano & hill 787. He was ahead of me and a heavy barrage of enemy

            artillery and mortar fell in the area about 1100 on 16 April 1945.”

            1st SGT Leslie J. Hurley: “Pfc David Dennis was last seen by me near a haystack which

            was immediately hit by a phosphorous shell and also by heavy artillery barrage. I have

            not seen him since. This was about 1000 16 April 1945 near Madna Di Rodiano & hill

            787. (west of town) coordinates L 677310”

            Capt Roger W. Eddy: “Pfc Dennis had continually exposed himself while carrying

            Messages to & for the Co Comdr and was trying to get back to the Co Cmdr when last

            heard from & seen.”

            LT John P. Hunter: “A barrage of more than unusual intensity dropped in and he was lost

            to sight. We advanced and I did not see him again.”

On August 11, 1947, LT Norman R. Haley and his Army Graves Registration team found Dennis’ remains, apparently where he had fallen. He had never been buried. Positive identification of his skeletal remains was made from dog tags, engraved Tiffany wristwatch, and eyeglasses with case.

The location of his remains is shown variously in his IDPF as:

            “NW of VERGATO”

“Vicinity Madna Di Rodiano approx 300 yds N West L 677310 Italy 1/25000 Castel D’Aiano 98 IV NW”

            “Hill 787”

            “L304-685, Sheet 98, Section 4, NE map Italy 1/5000”

            “Vic: Rodiano L-304.685, Sheet 98IVNE Map of Italy 1:25,000”

Pfc Dennis came from a wealthy and influential family. It is possible he could have “pulled strings” to stay out of the Army yet he felt it his duty to enlist – specifically into the 10th Mountain Division.