2nd Lieutenant Lawrence “Mack” Castleberry O550349
2nd Lieutenant Lawrence McKelvy “Mack” Castleberry O550349 US Army. He was born on March 2, 1924 the son of Jewel L Castleberry and Mabel Castleberry of Albany Texas. He earned a War Time Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University where he was a member of the Corps. His roommates at Texas A&M were Lieutenant Joe Thornton Mason Jr. KIA, and Lieutenant Wilbur Randall Flenner KIA. Castleberry was part of the 1943 class that was given an early graduation and put in to the Army. At the time of his enlistment he was 6 foot 2 inches had black hair and hazel eyes and weighed 150 pounds. He attended Officers Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Once he received his Commission as a Lieutenant he was sent to Camp Van Dorn Mississippi where he served in 4th Platoon, F Company, 253rd Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division.
On February 18, 1945 the 253rd Infantry Regiment was advancing towards the town of Neunkirchen Germany. There was an American rolling barrage of artillery covering the advance. During this advance Castleberry, saw one of the American artillery shell land about 60 meters away next to two man from company K, 253rd Infantry Regiment. This round Killed Sergeant Joseph H Bennett. Castleberry rushed over to see if he could do anything to help the man and deserved that the other man was his college roommates Lieutenant Joe Thornton Mason Jr. Lieutenant Castleberry was shocked to see lieutenant Mason since he did not know that Mason was serving in the 63rd Infantry Division. There was nothing that Castleberry could do to save Mason’s life because Mason had lost too much blood. At this point, Castleberry took his thumb with Mason’s blood on it and made a Cross on Mason’s forehead and preformed last rites. Lieutenant Mason died in the arms of his college roommates. All of this accorded in less than 5 minutes and Lt Castleberry returned to leading his men towards the town of Neunkirchen Germany.
On February 24, 1945, Castleberry earned The Silver Star Medal “in the vicinity of Aucrasmacher, Germany. Immediately after the company reached its objective, the enemy counterattacked with tanks and infantry. Lieutenant Castleberry, seeing the men disorganized and confused, immediately led his machine gun section to the company’s flank. Although wounded, he directed effective supporting fire and held the company in position by his own efforts which resulted in repulse of the counterattack.” Shortly after this event Castleberry was made the the executive officer of Company F.
On April 2, 1945 after the company had crossed the Necker River, Castleberry was driving a Jeep to Second Battalion Headquarters with Private First Class (PFC) James V. Musto and Private James W. Nichols when a German sniper shot Castleberry, causing him to drive off a small bridge and flip over. The Jeep pinned Castleberry down. At this point, PFC Musto and Private Nichols, who were uninjured in the crash, pulled Lieutenant Castleberry out of the Jeep and dragged him to a ditch because the three men were still under fire by the German sniper. At this point, the two privates began to conduct first aid on Castleberry. Once they had stopped the bleeding, the two men exposed themselves to enemy fire when they went searching for something to use as a litter. They came back to the ditch with a gate on which they would put and carry Castleberry. The two men carried the lieutenant over 100 yards down a road “exposed to possible enemy sniper fire.” The injuries that Castleberry suffered caused him to spend the next two years in hospitals recovering. Castleberry credits spending the following 2 years in hospitals for why he became a Doctor.
In 1952, he received his medical degree from Southwestern Medical School of the University of Texas in Dallas, followed by residencies in both internal medicine and radiology at the V.A. Hospital in McKinney. In 1957, he moved his family to Sherman where he lived and worked until his death on February 4, 2011, at the age of 86.
He was Awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, The Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, The American Theater of operations, the European Theater of Operations Medal ETO with 2 battle star, and the World War Two Victory Medal.
2- WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947
3- the 1940 United States Federal Census
4- His Medal Citation
5- Oral Histories with him