You are welcome, Bill. Thanks for replying.
Lt. Downer served in the 2nd Battalion of the 126th Regiment, 32nd "Red Arrow" Division. He was killed in the Battle of Buna, Papuan campaign, New Guinea. There is a detailed and stirring account of this battle, which mentions Lt. Downer by name, at the following site:
At times, the narrative splits. Always follow the "Urbana Force" to stay with Lt. Downer.
"In the next few days the 2nd Battalion, 126th Infantry, continued the attack on the village, successfully threw back a fanatical counterattack, unsuccessfully tried to use two flame throwers which had recently arrived at the front, and added two awards of the Distinguished Service Cross to the list of decorations won by members of the unit. Lieutenant James G. Downer won his leading an attack which cost him his life ...By this time, the battalion was reduced to a total strength of about 150 men. The exhaustion from almost constant combat was magnified by extremely hot days and torrential rains at night."
His citation is at:
*DOWNER, JAMES G. (KIA)
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to James G. Downer (0-349447), First Lieutenant (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 126th Infantry Regiment, 32d Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 9 December 1942, during Papuan Campaign Buna, New Guinea. First Lieutenant Downer's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty at the cost of his life, exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 32d Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Headquarters, South West Pacific Area, General Orders No. 7 (1943)
Home Town: Tazewell County, Illinois
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