If you have talked to me for more than 5 minutes, there is no doubt you have heard the stories of how Grist’s have fought in every major war and have single-handedly won a few. While some of my stories have exaggerated slightly, I try to stick tot he truth when I recount examples of Grist heroism. On that note, here are some actual, verifiably true stories about George E. Grist in World War II. Enjoy!
Notes for GEORGE EDWIN GRIST:
This newspaper articles was found among the personal papers of John Wesley Grist, the brother of George E. Grist. The source of the article is probably the El Dorado (Kansas) Times but the dates are not known:
Purple Heart And Medal To Sgt. Grist
“Word has be received here that Sgt. George E. Grist, son of Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Grist, 611 West Cave Springs, has been awarded the Purple Heart. Little is known by his parents or his wife who is spending the summer at the family home here, of the circumstances which led up to his receiving the award for wounds in combat.
Sergeant Grist participated in the battle of Rome when he was of the first group of allied troops to enter the city.
He has visited Vatican City, the Coliseum and other historic and religious scenes of interest in Rome. St. Peters was described by the sergeant as being breath taking in its splendor.
Earlier, Sergeant Grist had been awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Medal. This is the highest award that is given an Infantryman in line of duty. The medal, received by his wife this week, is a miniature silver musket mounted on a field of Infantry blue with a silver border. It is warn above the left breast pocket of the soldiers blouse.”
Hand written in the space above the article are the words, “Write George won’t you he is in such danger-“
George Grist Commissioned
Italy- Take it from Second Lieutenant George E. Grist, 25, of El Dorado, Kansas, the Infantry is quick to recognize ability. Lieutenant Grist was, until recently, a staff sergeant serving with the Fifth Army in Italy. His calmness and efficiency in battle caught the attention of his superiors. He was sent to the rear for advanced training and today he wears a gold bar. Lieutenant Grist was commissioned recently at the Leadership and Battle School where men like himself, who have proved themselves efficient in the field, are given a rigorous six weeks’ training and then sent back to the front as officers.
Present at the graduation exercises were General Joseph T. McNarney, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander and Commanding General of the United States Forces in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations, and Brigadier General L. C. Jaynes, commanding General of The Replacement and Training Command, which administers the school.
General McNarney told the graduates: “The Replacement and Training Command has done everything in its power to increase your military knowledge. Now you will command the destinies of men, and on your skill depend not only the lives of your men, but the outcome of battles.
This was the first officer graduation conducted by the Leadership and Battle School which is known throughout the Mediterranean Theater as “General Jaynes’ College of Practical Knowledge. General Jaynes said that it was men like Lieutenant Grist and his fellow graduates with, “initiative, common sense and fighting hearts”, who are winning glory for American arms in the field. General Jaynes told the graduates that the replacements who will be serving under them have also been taught to use commons sense and initiative on the battlefield.
We are training smart soldiers,” he said. “The day of the inadequately trained replacement is over. The infantry Conversion Training Center is sending men to the front who know how to fight. You will be proud of them. The latest battle methods are taught at the Leadership and Battle School-methods which are now in use on the Fifth Army Front, in Germany, china, Burma and elsewhere. Every student is called on to lead his companions in tactical problems. The students are put through a still course of physical conditioning, and made hard, fit, ready for the line.
Lieutenant Grist knows how it is “up on the line”. He wears tow Bronze Battle Stars, The Purple Heart (sic) and the Good Conduct Medal.
Lieutenant Grist entered the service in April, 1942. His wife, Mrs. G. E. Grist, lives in El Dorado, Kansas.