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Howard Simmons

  • Likely taken on New Caledonia. Soldiers are: Back Row (L-R): George DeChristopher, Mitchell, Howard "Inky" Simmons, Marty Nelson. Front Row (L-R): R. Wolfe, Ray Hennessey. Source: Howard Simmons Collection.
  • American Division General Order #1, issued on Guadalcanal, citing men of Company G for "conspicuous and meritorious service." Source: National Archives.
  • Patrick Farino and Inky Simmons constructed a sturdy shack in the Company G camp area on Bougainville, using scavenged materials. In this photo, Simmons leans on the shack, at left. The man at far right appears to be Jack Morton. Source: Patrick Farino Collection.

Howard Simmons (rear, second from right in Photo #1) was nicknamed “Inky” due to the rapidly growing, thick beard stubble that he seemed unable to keep shaved clean. He was among the first men in the unit to be commended in action, during the Guadalcanal campaign (see Photo #2). He served as platoon sergeant for the 2nd Platoon, which eventually came to be known as “Roy’s Raiders.” He received another commendation for action on Hill 260, when he dragged and carryed wounded men to safety. He and Patrick Farino scrounged materials on Bougainville to build a wooden shack to live in, and even attempted to tap into military electricity to power it (see the shack in Photo #3). During the offensive on Bougainville in October, he made headline news back home for leading an attack which killed a “Jap a Second,” though in reality the 30 enemy soldiers he reportedly killed in 30 minutes actually translated to one per minute. In early 1945 he received a temporary furlough to return home, and afterwards returned to Company G. He returned to the 2nd Platoon, but found himself in an awkward position, now serving under 2nd Lieutenant Jack Morton, a former enlisted man who had received a battlefield commission and had previously been under Technical Sergeant Simmons. Simmons survived the war but died young, in 1964.