Biography of Robert Wayne FIELDS 1917-1945

Robert Wayne Fields was born 26 Jul 1917 at the family ranch in Jack County, Texas and died 18 Jan 1945 in Belgium during the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. He was the son of Walter Fields and Mary Louisa (Tripp) Fields.

There is some confusion over his given names. In the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census, he is G. W. Fields or Green Fields (named after his grandfather, Green Washington Fields). However, he was known as Robert Wayne Fields as his military records and social security card indicate. A sister of Robert thinks that his mother probably gave him all four names as she had difficulty deciding. Thus, his name may be Green Washington Robert Wayne Fields.

He was a devoted and the favorite son of his mother, Mary Louisa Tripp-Fields. A skilled hunter and fisherman, he is said to have supplemented the family larder with game during his youth in the Great Depression. From the accounts of his brothers and sisters, he was a natural leader, looked-up-to by his siblings, and often mediated family squabbles.

Robert Wayne Fields enlisted in the army on 26 April 1941. After basic training, he was attached to the 35th Combat Engineer Battalion deployed in March 1942 to build the trans-Alaska Highway. For 18 months the battalion battled cold weather, mosquitoes, and endured other hardships. Still, they completed 400 miles of highway and built 20 bridges. During this time, Robert Wayne Fields developed hepatitus.

On 2 July 1944 his battalion shipped to the european theatre. There they parcipated in the capture of the port city of Brest in Northern France. On 28 September 1944, they crossed over into Belgium under the command of Major General Troy Middleton. Once there, in the Ardennes, the German army commenced their offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge to the Allies and known as Wacht am Rhein to the Germans on 16 December 1944..

With all units commited or pinned down, Middleton deployed the 35th in a thin line between Bastogne and the German advance, a line which they held until reinforced on 18 December 1944 by the 158th Combat Engineer Battalion. Fortunately the Germans had received faulty intelligence about the strength of the American's mechanized forces and slowed their advance just long enough for the 101st Airborned to arrive from Mourmelon, France.

Robert Wayne Fields met his death by artillery fire on 17 January 1945. The German offensive came to a close 25 January 1945. With great difficulty, his mother, who had five sons who served in the war, persuaded the army to transport his body to Texas. He is buried in the Cottonwood Cemetery, Jack County, Texas.

 

©2006 Mark Fields. This work may be reproduced and redistributed, in whole or in part, without alteration and without prior written permission, provided all copies contain the following statement: "© 2006 Mark Fields. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Mark Fields."

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Notes

Obituary written for the local newspaper by his mother Mary Louisa Tripp-Fields

"Funeral services for Pvt Robert W Fields were held at the Baptist Church, Bryson Jan 7 [1946?]. Son of Walter and Mary L Fields of Bryson. Robert was killed in the Belgian Bulge Jan 18, 1945. Surviving him are his mother; 6 brothers: Guy L of Graham, Glen of Perrin, Leslie of Amarillo, Edwin, Vydelle and Clyde of Bryson; 4 sisters: Mrs Irene Gilmore of Graham, Mrs Doris Kincaid of ft Worth, Mrs Violet Waldrop and Miss Dorothy Fields of Ft Worth; 3 uncles: LW Fields of Bryson, FW F of Trent - A Tripp of Bryson. Those attending from out of town were Mr and Mrs FW F of Trent, Mrs Lonnie ---- and Mrs Jerlean Cordell of Wichita Falls and Mrs Lily Holman of Graham."