Tech. Sgt. Jack T. Cone (Happy Jack)
I always called my dad "Big D"
Here is my dad while in a rest area out of the combat zone in "Sunny Italy" March 1944. He said it was always raining, muddy and cold. Life in the mountains was miserable notwithstanding the fact that the Germans always had the high ground with well entrenched defenses. This would be south of the Gustav Line.
The only memento my father had from the war was the Legion of Merit, which was awarded to him by General Walker in Italy. All of my life it was stuck away in his sock drawer. As a child I use to marvel at it. He never touched it in my presence. I asked him many times what he did to receive it. His pat answer was, "I had the cleanest boots in the outfit." He took that secret to the grave. Not too long before he died, he told me that I was to have the medal as it meant so much to me. It is one of my most valued treasures.
Madalonia, Italy 1944
This picture if from General Walker's book, "From Texas to Rome," page 292. I am convinced that the soldier in the middle is my father for the following reasons. I thought he looked familiar but as I did not know my father back then it is hard for me to say. I showed the picture to my mother without saying a word. She nonchalantly stated, "The man in the middle is your father." Also, he was a big man, 6'3" 230lbs, he was a tech. sgt. (three up and two down) as it the man in the middle. My father told me he always kept the chinstrap on the edge of his chin in the event his helmet was grabbed from behind. That man stands very erect as my father did compared to the other soldiers. As a child, whilst looking at the 36th Division's book, upon seeing the picture of General Walker, my father would state, "He is the man that pinned that medal on me in Italy." I could tell he was proud that he received it directly from the beloved General Walker. (The Picture in the book is sharper.)
Here is dad in pre-war training with aWWI helmet and BAR. The picture is dated 1941; looks like west Texas brush country to me.
Here dad looks like he is a new recruit. He always had good posture and taught me to look and do your best.
Dad during the Lousiana manouvers(right)
After returning home from Italy, Dad in OCS(left)
My grandparents Walter Edward Cone (1876-1955) Molly Tanner Cone (1878-1964)
I understand that his parents kept him well supplied with cigars while overseas. My father loved and respected his parents greatly. Maybe that is where I learned such admiration.
Here are my parents in the mid 1980's, enjoying the grandkids. Dad seemed to really enjoy every day. He knew all too well, how fragile we are and how precious life really is..."Cry and you cry alone; smile and the whole world smiles with you."
Click here to e-mail me
The Fighting 36th