Pfc. Elam L. Willie

Name Elam L. Willie
Rank Private 1st Class
Serial  38043752
Company HQ 1st Bn
Unit 36AIR
Servicebranch Infantry
Mesquite, Texas
Date of birth 1911-05-11
Date of death 1944-12-28

Willie, who’s real name is William Lee “Jack” Elam, is the son of Beulah Elam Lindsey.
Beulah Elam Lindsey was the third wife of William Henry Potter. They were married in 1919 and before she married With William Henry Potter she had already 3 sons. So with this marriage, Will became the step father of William Lee “Jack” Elam, Harold Vernon Elam and Emmitt Floyd Lindsley.
She lived her whole live in Mesguite, where she died on December 23 (1968) at Mesquite General Hospital. (The name of his father is  still unknown.)
He lived till he joined the army, together with his family in Mesquite where reports tells us that he was married. On June 21st 1935 he married with Dorothy Marion Payne in Kaufman Texas. If they had children is unknown.
On October 16th 1940 Willie Lee Elam placed his signature on the registration card that stated that he joined the US Army.

Willie his Enlistment Date is Camp Polk is the training home of the 3rd Armored Division (Bayou Blitz), commanded by Major General Alton H. Walker, and the Seventh Armored Division, commanded by General Lindsay McD Sylvester.
These two Divisions form the Second Armored Corps, commanded by Major General Alvan C. Gillem Jr. former Commanding General and organizer of the 3rd Armored Division. After finishing the buildings at Camp Polk several units of the 3rd Armored Division came together.

Let us go back to December 28th 1944.
In the after Action Report of that day the following passage has been written:

At 0800 1st Bn 36th AIR was relieved from Amonines and assembled in the vicinity and tour. CCR reorganized as follows:
TF Kane – HQ & Hq C 32nd AR; Co D 32nd AR; Co A 36th AIR; Plat Co A, 32nd AR. 
TF Orr – 1st Bn 36th AIR ( Cos A & B not included) Co H 33rd AR; Plat Co C 33rd AR.
TF Mize (in Melreux) Co G 32nd AR; Co B 36th AIR and Plat Co C 33rd AR.
Reserve – Hq & Hq Co 36th AIR; Co C 33rd AR; less two platoons; Co A 32nd AR less two plats, and 3rd Bn less G , H and C Cos.
A force of five medium tanks medium tanks ( total strength of Co G 33rd AR) was sent to division CP. Troughout the day units of CCR were kept on alert for possible employment against enemy brektroughin CCA sector where the enemy was very active and had made some infiltrations. 2nd Bn 36th AIR remained under CCB and conducted patrole beyond our front lines in Soy-Hotton area. 3rd Bn 36th AIR remained under CCA.

So the After Action Report tells us that HQ was in reserve and that was in Wéris Belgium.
But on the 28th TF Orr was relieved from Amonines Belgium after the fight on the 26th with the 25th Panzer Grenadier Regiment and parts of the 1st SS Panzer Division “Leibstandarte”.

Amonines was very important during the last week of December, it was a critical point and the Germans did their best to get it back. Beside the 1st SS Panzer Division and the 2nd Panzer Division the 506th Volkgrenadier Division was in the neighbourhood too. During these days there was a lot of fighting in the area and many men were killed.
The area was under command of Colonel William Orr and his Headquarter was in the Castle of La Blier near Amonines.

                                        (c) Bob Konings www.battle-of-the-bulge.be

On December 28th 1944 Pfc. Elam and T.Sgt Scherrer had to drive up to Amonines and at one point they had to go from the road and then they hit an antitank mine.
This was making them the last two combat victims who were sent here to liberate the region.
Both men where killed and they were buried on the the cemetery at Fosses-la-Ville also known as the “Number One” American military cemetery in Belgium.
Willie was buried here at Plot L Row 10 Grave 198.
Between September 1944 and May 1945 nearly 2300 American soldiers and 1600 German soldiers were buried on this Cemetery.
Both men found their last resting place on the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium.
You can find the grave of Willie on plot G Row 12 and Grave 48.

Gerard Roggen, who is the owner of the helmet of Pfc. Elam, walked many years on the former cemetery after it was given back to the farmer,s who used it for growing crops.
The field was just ploughed and on this field he found the dogtag of Pfc. Elam and could combine it with the helmet.
He started with his research and at one point he decided that there had to be a monument for these men.
On September 7th 2002 the monument was erected and it is still there near Amonines Belgium.

Here are some pictures who Bob Konings made some weeks ago from the monument and the area.

(c) Bob Konings www.battle-of-the-bulge.be

Conclusion:
The only reason that Pfc. Elam L. Willie and T.Sgt. Scherrer C Elmer was on their way to Amonines was that they had to make contact with TF Orr.
There can’t be another reason because you don’t go out in the middle of the war for a nice ride.
From Wéris to Amonines is it a 13 kilometer drive and that in the middle of the war.

May they rest in peace, they are gone but not forgotten.

We are still searching for more information, like reports and pictures and any help is always welcome.
Contact us at info@36air-ad.com.

© 3d Armored Division Memorial Group (3ADMG)

Sources:
3ADMG
Bob Konings
Aimee Gagnon Fogg
Fold 3
Gerard Roggen
Max Noel
After Action Report 36th AIR
Google Maps
After Action Report 1st SS Panzer Division