Starr Sutherland Jr - Washington Post 0227


Starr Sutherland JR  Bio


Starr Shelley Sutherland, Jr., (December 29, 1921 - January 4, 1945) was a distguished First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in World War II. Sutherland was a member of the 320th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division (United States). The Division was activated on 23 December 1940, as a National Guard Division from Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. It departed for Europe on 12 May 1944. The 35th Infantry Division arrived in England, 25 May 1944, and received further training. It landed on Omaha Beach, Normandy, 5–7 July 1944, and entered combat 11 July, fighting in the Normandy hedgerows, north of St. Lo. The Division beat off 12 German counterattacks at Emelie before entering St. Lo, 18 July. After mopping up in the St. Lo area, it took part in the offensive action southwest of St. Lo, pushing the Germans across the Vire River, 2 August, and breaking out of the Cotentin Peninsula. While en route to an assembly area, the Division was "flagged off the road," to secure the Mortain-Avranches corridor and to rescue the 30th Division's "Lost Battalion," 7–13 August 1944.

Then, racing across France through Orleans and Sens, the Division attacked across the Moselle River, 13 September, captured the town of Nancy, 15 September, secured Chambrey, 1 October, and drove on to the German border, taking Sarreguemines and crossing the Saar River, 8 December. After crossing the Blies River, 12 December, the Division moved to Metz for rest and rehabilitation, 19 December. The 35th moved to Arlon, Belgium, 25–26 December, and took part in the fighting to relieve Bastogne, throwing off the attacks of four German divisions, taking Villers-laBonne-Eau, 10 January, after a 13-day fight and Lutrebois in a 5-day engagement.

Sutherland was awarded the Silver Star December 26, 1944. Two weeks later, Sutherland was killed in action in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Buldge. In a letter from General George S. Patton to Sutherland's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Starr S. Sutherland, Sr., it was noted that he had been recommended by his commanding officer for battlefield promotion. The citation accompanying the Silver Star said Lieutenant Sutherland led a partrol into a woods in France, discovered and destroyed an enemy machine gun and its crew, and that later the lieutenant, while alone, killed an enemy soldier. Upon arriving at his operations post, he discovered an enemy tank firing on a company and adjusted fire that neutralized the enemy vehicle.

In a personal letter to the parents of Sutherland, General Patton told them Lieutenant Sutherland was commanding a platoon when he was killed instantly during vicious fighting in the village of Harlange, Luxembourg. "He was interred with military honors at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, Luxembourg," Patton said. General Patton was later interred in this same cemetery after his death.

Patton wrote, "You should be very proud to be the parents of this man. I know that you are and I know that this pride will sustain you in your grief over his unfortunate death."

The Starr Sutherland American Legion Post and Auxiliary #227 in Seattle, Washington was named in honor of Lt. Sutherland.

In Sutherland's last letter to one of his best friends, Ensign William McBride Dehn two weeks before his death, Sutherland wrote the following:

18 December 1944

Dear Bill,

Just have a few moments - long enough to write a short note to let you know where I am and how things are. Also time enough to ask you to let me know how you and Jane are.

Well Roomie, I've been on the Third Army front for almost two months and am ready for the armistice. I been in too many close ones to suit me and am now counting the days till this all is over and we're home again.

It looks as tho you and I will lose our bet with the professor. He'll gloat over that - wait and see.

I hope you have had opportunities to be with Jane. Marriage is a difficult problem during wartime, but probably not much of one for you too. You can't imagine how much my family enjoyed Jane and your visit with us that day. I don't have to tell you how happy I was to see you both.

When I get married, we shall have to have many nights together. We'll have the wives prepare dinner - & the drinks for us while we lounge before the fireplace in our bare feet. Afterward, we'll wax you & Jane in bridge - or maybe you & I can beat the women. Life will be wonderful. All that has to happen now is for the powers involved to agree to cease this fight. You and I are doing our part to speed the victory.

Well Bill, there's no other man any higher on my totem pole than you. You've known that for a long time. My very best wishes and luck to you and your Jane. Anytime there is anything I can do, Roomie, just say the word.

I'm mighty glad to be a Fiji.



Starr Sutherland, Jr. graduated from Lincoln High School in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, in 1940 where Sutherland's father taught history and tennis. After high school, Sutherland enrolled at the University of Washington[2] in the Fall of 1940 and joined the Sigma Tau chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity (Class of 1944).[3] Like many of his time, with the outbreak of World War II, Sutherland left the University of Washington in 1943 and joined the Army.

The Starr Sutherland American Legion Post and Auxiliary #227 in Seattle, Washington was named in honor of Lt. Sutherland.