Friday, June 17, 2016

2LT Francis Gardner Park

Francis in his Corps of Cadets uniform
2LT Francis Gardner Park was born 8 Jun 1920 in Aliceville, Alabama. He was the youngest of the 3 sons born to James Verner and Elizabeth C. (Somerville) Park. His father was the president of a bank and their home on Third Avenue in Aliceville was valued at $5,000 in 1930 but only $3250 in 1940 because of the depression. Still the family was well off, father James reporting a 1939 income of $3600. Francis attended the University of Alabama, as had his oldest brother, and graduated in 1942. His father had died in January 1941.

As a member of the Corps of Cadets at the university, Francis probably went into the service very shortly after graduation. We do not have records of his service but he was sent to England and on 2 Jun 1944 assigned to C Company 116th Infantry as one of the "extra" platoon leaders assigned to the assault elements in an attempt to ensure that sufficient officers survived to lead the units in exploiting the landing. 2LT Park survived the landing but was killed in action on 17 Jun 1944.

2LT Park rests forever in the Normandy American Cemetery.

Great-grandfather, Joseph W. Park, served as a CPL in the 36th Alabama Infantry (CSA) during the Civil War. Oldest brother, James Verner Park Jr, served 1941-1946 and the middle brother, John Somerville Park, served as a SSG in the U.S. Army Air Corps.

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