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SAILOR "Chief" Richard, 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, "I" Company

SAILOR Richard - source: the 517th gang / Loïc JANKOWIAK
SAILOR Richard - source: the 517th gang / Loïc JANKOWIAK

Private Richard SAILOR was born on November 2, 1920 on the White Earth Indian Reservation, Becker County, Minnesota.

 

Both of his parents were of Ojibwe Indian blood. His father was Frank William Sailor (Sho Ne Yah Wo Say), and his mother Lena Martin (Bah Gway Ke Gah Bow Eak).

 

      His father Frank took the surname SAILOR when he joined the US Army in 1914-1918. Their traditional Ojibwe name was originally "Be-Gay" which means "Partridge". He was wounded and gassed on the French battlefield during the 1st World War.

 

 

 

   Volunteer for paratroopers and attached to the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Richard SAILOR will take part in the Italian campaign, and will make the operational jump in the south of France during Operation Dragoon. Member of the 3rd Battalion "I" Company, he will miss the drop zone with the comrades of outfit and will jump on the hill North East of town of Fayence.

 

       On August 22, the order was given to his company to take the village of St Cézaire. Located on the hillside, the village overlooking the Siagne river valley in a dominant position, and the attack will have to be carried out from the bottom of the valley.

 

     Durind the assault of that 22nd of august 1944,  Richard SAILOR will be killed by mortar fire as he scaled the stepped terraces leading to St Cezaire during the attack.

 

      His comrade Walter AMMERMON remembers: "I had one guy killed right behind me. He was an arm's distance from me, right squared behind me, and was wounded in the chest and the stomach by one of the mortars" ... "He was an indian boy and we called him Chief "

                                                                   Extract from the book "Autopsy of a battle" - Jean-Loup GASSEND

      He will not survive his injuries.

 

      This article is a tribute to all the Natives American who fought and paid with their lives the price of freedom, on a land that was not theirs.

      France will be forever grateful to them.

      Many thanks to Tim FAIRBANKS for his help, who pays a heartfelt tribute to the ancestors of his White Earth tribe who fell on the battlefield.


View from St Cezaire, the stepped terrace are visible in the foreground.
View from St Cezaire, the stepped terrace are visible in the foreground.

      Le Private Richard SAILOR est né le 2 novembre 1920 dans la réserve indienne de White Earth, Becker county, Minnesota. 

Ses deux parents étaient de sang indien Ojibwe. Son père était Frank William Sailor ( Sho Ne Yah Wo Say ), et sa mère Lena Martin ( Bah Gway Ke Gah Bow Eak ).

      Son père Frank prit le patronyme SAILOR lors de son engagement dans l'armée américaine en 1914-1918. Leur nom traditionnel Ojibwe était à l'origine "Be-Gay" qui signifie "Perdrix". Il fut blessé et gazé sur les champ de bataille français lors de la 1ere guerre mondiale.

 

      Engagé dans le 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Richard SAILOR prendra part à la campagne d'Italie, et effectuera le saut opérationnel dans le sud de la France lors de l'opération Dragoon. Membre du 3rd Battalion "I" Company, il ratera la drop zone avec les camarades de son bataillon et sautera sur la plaine de Fayence.

 

      Le 22 Aôut, l'ordre est donné à sa compagnie de prendre le village de St Cézaire. Situé à flanc de colline, le village surplombant la vallée de la Siagne à une position dominante, et l'attaque va devoir être effectuée par le bas de la vallée. 

 

    Richard sera tué par un tir de mortier alors qu'il escaladé les terrasses en escalier menant à St Cezaire lors de l'attaque. 

 

    Son camarade Walter AMMERMON se souvient : " I had one guy killed right behind me. He was an arm's distance from me, right squared behind me, and was wounded in the chest and the stomach by one of the mortars" ... " He was an indian boy and we called him Chief"

                                                                                        Extract from the book "Autopsy of a battle" - Jean-Loup GASSEND 

 

   Il ne survivra pas à ses blessures. 

 

   Cet article est un hommage à tous les les amérindiens qui se sont battus et ont payé de leur vie le prix de la liberté, sur un sol qui n'était pas le leur. 

    La France leur en sera reconnaissante à jamais.

 

   Un grand merci à Tim FAIRBANKS pour son aide, qui rend un vibrant hommage aux ancêtres de sa tribu White Earth tombés au champ d'honneur. 

 


Tim FAIRBANKS in front of the White Earth Indian Hall of Honor .  USA.
Tim FAIRBANKS in front of the White Earth Indian Hall of Honor . USA.