1st Lieutenant Donald Pray of Company G poses with his new Purple Heart, awarded for wounds suffered on Guadalcanal. The medal was awarded during a large ceremony on Fjij at the end of Jun. 1943. Source: National Archives.
Morning Report dated 17 March 1944. Captain Donald Pray is reassigned from command of Company G during the Battle for Hill 260, and replaced by 1st Lieutenant Benton Hammond. No detail is given about the specific reason for the reassignment of Pray. Source: National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records.
1st Lieutenant Donald Pray, an officer of Company G, was one of the men awarded Purple Hearts for wounds suffered on Guadalcanal. The caption on the reverse of Photo #1, taken in June 1943 on Fiji at the awards ceremony, indicates that he was also “due Oak Leaf cluster.” Pray was later promoted to Captain, and became the commanding officer of Company G.
During the fighting for Hill 260 on Bougainville in March 1944, the 182nd Infantry underwent a series of major command shakeups. The regimental CO and battalion CO were both reassigned. In the Morning Report shown in Photo #2, dated 17 March, Captain Pray is reassigned from Company G to Headquarters of the 3rd Battalion. There is no further documentary evidence to explain why this move was made. It is unknown whether this was a promotion, or if he was moved due to concerns over his handling of Company G. Just days later, the company’s First Sergeant, Frank Fitzgerald, was also reassigned.