Georges SHIRLEY was born 24th of august 1915, he join the US Army in 1942 and trained in Camp Gordon, Georgia, this fort was created in July 1941 as a infantry shool.
on the 10th of june 1942, the 83rd chemical battalion was activated in this place. This battalion was designed to carry 36 mortars of 4.2 inches caliber, with each shell weighing about 25 pounds, for a total firepower effect equivalent to three 105mm howitzers. The 4.2 inch mortar brought a lethal, mid-to-close range fire support capability to the infantry units the 83d supported. Georges was attached to D company of this unit and after intensive training departed from the U.S. on 29th of april 1943 for overseas duty. On the eleven of may, the battalion debarked at Oran, Algiers.
The unit began intensive amphibious training and was prepared for immediate combat.
The 83rd chemical took part in the Sicilian Campaign and remained in continuous combat during the invasion of the Italian mainland and the crossing of the Volturno, followed by the battle for the approaches to San Pietro, Monte Cassino and the Anzio beachhead, with the subsequent fall of Rome.
On the 4th June 1944, Georges SHIRLEY and his unit was in Rome, and the advance continued beyond. Close mortar support was given as the drive progressed approximately 100 miles north of Rome. Here the 83d was relieved and assembled in an area near Tarquinia.
Plans were made to use the 83rd with the 509th parachute Battalion and the American-Canadian Special Service Force in an airborne operation. As the Allied Forces advanced rapidly northwest in Italy, the air operation was not required. The 83d then moved to the Salerno area for amphibious training with the 45th Infantry division for the second D day in Southern France.
Georges and his men from D company were attached to the 1st Airborne Task Force, a allied airborne division under command of general Robert T. FREDERICK. Near Rome D company men underwent intensive CG-4A Waco glider training for mooring and be prepared for a glider landing operation 15 miles inland of the landing beaches.
Georges SHIRLEY left Italy from airbase named Campino on serial number 24 at about 15.25 he landed at about 19.00 on Dday august 15th 1944 in one of the 30 gliders carrying D company of the 83rd under command of Captain LAKEY in a vigneyard between villages of La Motte and Les Arcs sur Argens.
In the rough landing, a number of men and officers were casualties. Georges was more lucky than some of his friends. The company was quickly organized and preparations were made to repulse enemy action.
The enemy seemed to have a very uncoordinated series of strong points as his only means of defense. The infantry pushed on rapidly. Mortar missions were very infrequent. Company D fired heavy concentrations on an enemy assembly area in preparation for an attack by the 517th Parachute Regiment near Les Arcs and produced hundreds of enemy casualties.
After few days of his 4.2 inches mortar support around Les Arcs and landing zone area, sergeant communication SHIRLEY and D company continued operating with the Paratroopers, moved to the east toward the Italian frontier. Close support was given as the units advanced through St. Valliers, Le Broc, La Rocquette, and Levens. One platoon of Co. D operated with the 550th glider infantry battalion near Barcelonette in the high Alps.
In october, D Company was attached to the 36th Inf. Division in the vicinity of Bruyeres on the way north in Vosges region. Large-scale enemy attacks were beaten back by the heavy mortar fire and the infantry continued their difficult advance. D Co. gave support to the 442d Combat Team and the 100th Bn in the hard fighting as the drive continued through the Forest near Biffontaine.
A few days later came the news of the "Lost Battalion" of the 141st infantry. An enemy counter attack isolated the unit. D Co. fired heavily, supporting the 442d driving along a thickly mined ridge. After a week of hard fighting, the "Lost Battalion" was freed. In the move, stable situation near Rambervillers. D Co. expended much ammunition, aiding the 100th Bn. in their advance.