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Private First Class Charles W. Ralston

Rifleman

I Company, 142nd Infantry Regiment

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Born a farmer’s son in rural Waterloo, New York, Ralston was a very active student involving himself in his local radio and art club in addition to three shooting clubs, rifle, archery, and photography. Upon graduation he got a job as a welder where he worked while his brother went off to war with the 1st Marine Division, fighting and being wounded at Guadalcanal. In early 1943 Ralston was drafted and shipped off to basic at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, completing his training in April. For the next period, he spent serving stateside in Arkansas but eventually received orders to ship overseas as a rifleman in the 142nd Infantry Regiment.

Although I have yet to pin down when exactly he joined the unit, I believe he was a replacement in the summer of 1944 likely seeing action first during the invasion of Southern France. According to a local newspaper article he was well-seasoned by the division’s spring campaigns where he served alongside the rest of the 36th pushing into the heart of Germany at places like Oberhoffen, Wissemburg, the Siegfried Line, and more. According to unofficial 36th records, he was within I Company by April meaning he likely joined transferred to the unit sometime in March or earlier before finishing out the war with them.

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