Brigadier General Claudius M. Easley
U. S. Army, 96th Infantry Division, Assistant Division Commander
Killed In Action (KIA) at Itoman on Okinawa
Claudius Miller Easley was born on July 11, 1891 in Thorp Springs, Texas as the eldest son of Alexander Campbell Easley and Claudia Miller. Nicknamed "Speck". At a young age, his family moved to Waco, Texas. He graduated Waco High School in 1911 and as a high school student enlisted in the Texas National Guard. On July 11, 1912 on his 21st birthday he was commissioned into the U. S. Army with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. In 1917 married Stella Inez (née Wickline) Easley. The couple had one child Claudius Miller Easley, Jr. born in 1918.
During September 1942, assigned Camp Adair in Oregon and was appointed as the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the 96th Infantry Division (96th ID) and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. While training the division, he stressed soldier marksmanship and the division was nicknamed the "Deadeye Division".
During the "Oregon Maneuver" between September–November 1943 the 96th Division was part of the part of the "Red Force" in the large scale training exercise. In July 1944 sent to Hawaii for final training before landing at Leyte in the Philippines. During the Battle of Leyte, he was Wounded In action (WIA) and earned the Purple Heart and earned the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star.
Killed In Action
On June 19, 1945 Easley went to the front lines at Itoman on southern Okinawa when a Japanese machine gun opened fire and wounded one of his aides. Trying to locate the enemy gunner, Easley crawled to the top of the hill and as he peered over the edge another burst of machine gun fire hit him in the head with two bullets hitting him in the forehead and was Killed In Action (KIA) instantly.
Recovery of Remains
Afterwards, his remains were recovered and buried on Okinawa. Postwar, his remains were transported to the United States for permanent burial.
Easley was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at section 2 site E-311. On the hilltop he was killed at Itoman on southern Okinawa is a memorial dedicated to Brigadier General Claudius M. Easley. The memorial reads in English and Japanese: "In memoriam Claudius M. Easley 1891–1945 Brig. Gen. U. S. Army Killed on This Spot 19 June 1945" at the center of the memorial is the 96th Infantry Division logo and below the inscription: "His disregard of personal safety-inspired the men of the 96th to hold their own lives lightly in performance of their duty - for his example he paid the supreme price". At the base of the marker is "96th Inf. Div. Assn."
Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Stella Inez Wickline Easley (wife)
Claudius Miller Easley, Jr. (son) during World War II, served as a Lieutenant Colonel assigned to the Sixth Army in the Philippines
Note some sources state a "sniper" killed him, in fact it was a burst of machine gun fire.
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC Explorer) - Claudius M. Easley
FindAGrave - BG Claudius Miller “Speck” Easley (photo, biography, grave photo)
FindAGrave - BG Claudius Miller “Speck” Easley (Okinawa memorial photo)
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