Staff Sergeant William G. Honeycutt served in Company B of the 439th Signal Battalion from its conception in 1942 to its deactivation in 1945.
His story and experience is atypical among those that served during World War II.
A lifelong resident of Mitchell County, North Carolina, Honeycutt was born July 13th, 1915 and after finishing school, he was employed as a truck driver for a brief amount of time.
Honeycutt entered the U.S. Army on 20 February 1941, ten months before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. When he was drafted, his local selective board number was #1 and he was the first male in Mitchell County to be drafted during World War II.
After completing basic training at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, with the military occupational specialty of "Lineman, Telephone & Telegraph (238), Honeycutt participated in the infamous Louisiana maneuvers of 1941.
Joining the 439th Signal Battalion in February, 1942, Honeycutt served for 3 years, 2 months and 17 days in the European Theater of Operations with the 439th, arriving in Glasgow, Scotland on 13 July 1942 and departing for the United States on 19 September 1945.
During his service, he was given credit for participating in nine major campaigns and five amphibious assaults.
His most vivid and memories of his military service centered around the Anzio Campaign and his many weeks spent there under intense enemy fire from January to May, 1944.
He was personally given a commendation by Brigadier General J. R. Hawkins, the commanding officer of the 64th Fighter Wing.
The citation reads, "I take pleasure in commending you for exemplary behavior, display of courage, and devotion to duty during the period of 22 January to 29 February. The manner in which you have performed your duties, at the Anzio and Nettuno beach-head, while all of our instillation, roads, and bivouac areas were subjected to intense artillery fire and bombing attacks is worthy of the highest praise. The courage you have shown has contributed much to the success of this operation."
During his time in the U.S. Army during World War II, Honeycutt knew that he was a small participant in one of the world's most momentous and titanic struggles.
For decades after the war ended, he never spoke of or shared anything about his experiences with the people, places, and events that surrounded him during those nearly four unforgettable years spent overseas.
It was not until the last ten years or so of his life that he began to remember and relive those things that had happened to him over 55 years before. Shortly before he passed away on May 3, 2003, his footlocker was found in a tool-shed, neglected and forgotten.
When this footlocker was opened, it was a literal treasure chest of information, full of pictures, records, orders, relics, patches, books, and other such materials.
It was because of this find that this web page and its contents were possible. It is my hope that you have enjoyed looking at it.
The following article appeared in the Johnson City Press shortly after Honeycutt arrived home in September, 1945.
"SSgt W. G. Honeycutt of the 64th Fighter Wing, with the 439th Signal Construction Battalion, arrived home September 28, following 39 months in the European Theater of Operations, being honorably discharged at Fort Bragg. SSGT Honeycutt is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Honeycutt of Honeycutt. He entered the service by being drafted on February 19, 1941, at Ft. Bragg. He then went to Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and on to Camp Bowie, Texas, and from there to Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Georgetown, where he got three day pass home before going to New Jersey for overseas duty. He landed in England on June 30, 1942, and from there sailed for North Africa in October of 1942, and followed in the North African Campaign at some of these places while there: Algeria, Oran, Tunisia and Pantelleria. Then came the invasions of Italy and the following campaigns: Sicily, Naples, Rome, Anzio and from there to Northern and Southern France, Luxembourg, across the Rhine River, Schwabisch Hall, Frankfrut, Munich and Nuremburg with the 3rd Army. Leaving Nuremberg, Germany, on the 24th of August, he flew on a passenger plane to England, where he waited until September 14 and then sailed across the Atlantic, landing the 19 of September in New York. He then went to Camp Kilmer, N. J., before going to Fort Bragg for his discharge. Service ribbons worn are the Presidential Unit Citation, Good Conduct Medal, Eamet Campaign Medal with nine Bronze Service Stars and one Bronze arrowhead. He was discharged with 130 points."
Honeycutt (right) and crew in the field near the Vosges Mountains, France, 1944.
Honeycutt (bottom, left) and crew in North Africa, 1943.
Basic training company photograph while at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, 1941. Honeycutt is in the third row, first on the left.
A representation of the uniform that was worn by members of the 439th while out in the field in Italy and France.
A few of the items that Honeycutt brought home after the war.
Honeycutt and foxhole companion at Anzio Beachhead, February, 1944.