Lieutenant Richard Roy (kneeling) poses with Howard "Inky" Simmons (left) and Patrick Farino (right). Date and location are unknown, though likely Bougainville. Source: Edward Gekosky Collection.
Men of Company G hold a skull, smoking a cigarette. (L-R: Robert Egler, unknown, Arnold West, Richard Roy, unknown, Inky Simmons, unknown standing, ? Doherty, and Jack Morton) Source: Edward Gekosky Collection.
2nd Lieutenant Richard Roy (kneeling in Photo #1), from Maryland, joined Company G in December 1943 on Fiji, and took command of the 2nd Platoon. The unit soon earned the nickname “Roy’s Raiders.” He was awarded a Bronze Star for actions on Hill 260 on 11 March, rescuing a wounded soldier who had become entangled in barbed wire. He made national news during a fake Japanese surrender on 20 March, with his version of events quoted in a news story that was distributed by the wire services at home and printed in major American newspapers. Roy’s Raiders made national news later in the war, with a photograph captioned “The Last of a Gallant 43” making the rounds on the wire services, showing the last 8 soldiers in the platoon remaining from before the Bougainville campaign. The rest were killed or wounded, casualties of combat or disease. Roy can be seen holding the skull in Photo #2 with some of his men.
Roy’s men also took the time to help out those in need back home, raising money for a “Milk and Ice Drive” for the Paducah, KY hometown of soldier Lester Watson. According to Clayton Brown, during a 26 November 1944 regimental parade, Roy awoke late with a hangover, and tried to cover up his tardiness by arriving with a flourish in a Jeep – but did not fool the Battalion Commander.
Lieutenant Roy himself began to suffer from recurring health problems in early 1945, and was in and out of the hospital. In April 1945, he was promoted from 2nd Platoon leader of Company G, to the Executive Officer of Company F.