Private Eve Andrepont
– 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division –
– Missing In Action –
Eve was born on November 26th, 1918 in Acadia Parish, Louisiana. At the age of 22, Eve and his parents were living on Prudhomme Road in Eunice, Louisiana. His father was a rice farmer, and Eve followed him in this occupation before he enlisted in the US Army.
Eve enlisted on November 1st, 1940 at Jackson Mississippi. From here he went on to train at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After training Private Eve Andrepont became part of the 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He was shipped off to North-Africa where he got his first taste of combat in November 1942 as part of the Algerian – French Morocco campaign there. The 9th Infantry Division moved on, and entered the Tunisian Campaign in 1943. After weeks of fighting, the 39th Infantry Regiment was involved in the battle at El Guettar.
At El Guettar, the 9th Infantry Division fought for the first time under the command of Major-General Manton S. Eddy. The enemy was well entrenched and possessed air superiority. The mass of steep, rugged hills and eroded gorges provided a natural fortress. To make things worse, General Eddy got involved in a car accident that resulted in a crushed hand and both legs injured. It was not the easiest thing to do, leading a Division while hobbling around on crutches. The 9th and 1st Divisions were to seize opposite sides of the El Guettar Pass, enabling the 1st Armored Division to roll through without being fired on from its flanks.
At “H-Hour”, 6 A.M. on March 28th 1943, the 47th Infantry Regiment was in position to take that day’s objective, being Hill 369. Although the objective area was reached quickly, darkness and poor maps had led the 47th Infantry Regiment astray to El Hamra Ridge. The men of 2nd Battalion were caught in a murderous crossfire decimating Company E. The Battalion’s Commanding Officer and Communications Officer were captured, as was the commander of Company E and 175 of his men. The Commanding Officer of Company F and 6 men along with one officer of Company H and an aid to General Eisenhower were captured too. 1st Battalion of the 39th Infantry Regiment was committed to help out but became lost in the maze of hills. With Hill 369 still in German hands, the attack bogged down.
Off on the edge of the Ninth’s zone, another Hill dominated the area, Hill 772. It had been occupied by American troops but these had been moved off just before the El Guettar offensive began. The German troops then re-occupied the hill, but none of the other commanders thought to tell this important information to any members of the Ninth Division! General Eddy soon realized that Hill 369 could only be taken by gaining Hill 772 again. For five days the battle raged in an attempt to break through the El Guettar Pass. Each attack was a coordinated push of “Benson’s Force”, an Armored Task Force and the 3rd Battalion of the 39th Infantry Regiment. When it seemed that the Germans were going to mount a major mechanized counterattack on April 4th, the 15th Engineers were sent to occupy defensive positions as Infantry. However, two days later it became apparent that the enemy was going to withdraw to head north for a last stand in Tunisia. The 9th Infantry Division attacked to seize Hills 772 and 369. “Benson’s Force” moved through the Pass and met the Eighth Army coming up from the South. Finally, the El Guettar Pass was taken.
It was during these days that Private Eve Andrepont went missing in action. His name can now be found on the Missing In Action Wall at the American Cemetery at Carthage, North Africa.
His actions for our freedom will forever be remembered.