Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day

John Horace Beauford Sr.


Born:  24 June 1924 Abbeville, SC

 Branch of Service:  US Army

Inducted:  April 1943

Discharged: 24 June 1965



John Horace Beauford was drafted to Fort Jackson, SC in 1943 where he began his career with the US Army as a paratrooper with the 501st Infantry training at Camp Toccoa, GA.  From there he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division for a short time period, but for personal family reasons he transferred over to the 663rd Tank Destroyer Division at Fort Hood Texas.  The 663rd was disbanded and he was reassigned to the 86th Blackhawk Infantry Division, Company H, Heavy Weapons. John Beauford’s unit was deployed to San Luis Obispo California for assignment to General Patton’s Ghost Army; however, the MP’s loaded him on the wrong train and sent him to Newark New Jersey where he ended up on a ship headed to France.  When he discovered that he was on the wrong ship, with the wrong unit he ask the Sergeant “What do you want me to do? I can swim back if you want me to.”  The Sergeant asked him what was his assigned M.O.S. and when he responded that he was a tank driver, the Sergeant replied “Well guess what son,  I have a tank waiting for you with your name on it”.


John Beauford’s ship landed in Normandy France on 6th June 1944 at Utah Beach on D-Day.  He drove a tank off the ship onto the shore and up the hillside of Utah Beach with literally Zero visibility.  His unit fought their way across France to Le Harve, where he rejoined his assigned unit around January 1945. 


John assumed his duties with the 86th Blackhawk Division, Company H, as a .50 caliber machine-gunner on the back of jeep.  The 86th Blackhawk, under General Patton’s command moved out of France fighting their way through the Rhine River to the Ruhr Pocket where his unit captured the AXIX Minister of Hungary.  They spearheaded General Patton’s 3rd Army for the Bavarian Push across the Danube River into Austria and overtook Hitler’s Home “The Eagle’s Nest” at Berchtesgaden.


After Germany and a short furlough, his unit was deployed to Japan.  They were aboard ship in the harbor waiting for their command to move in and invade Japan when the Atomic Bomb was dropped.  His ship was turned around and sent to the Philippine Islands to secure the Japanese that were in hiding.  He stayed in the Philippines until the end of WWII before returning home to the United States.


John Beauford was discharged from the US Army but returned to his hometown in Abbeville, SC where he joined the National Guard.  He transferred from the National Guard to the US Army reserves where he completed 24 years of service.


In 2014, John Beauford had the opportunity to attend the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy and was able to re-visit Utah Beach.  “When I stood at the top of Utah Beach, where I landed 70 years ago, my heart was heavy and tears filled my eyes as I thought of all my friends and brethren that never made it past the beach.  I have carried a burden in my heart all these years for the soldiers I ignored that were lying on that beach wounded and begging for help.  But I try to always remember that I was assigned that mission and my responsibility was to successfully complete that mission no matter what the cost.  Just like in life God gave me a mission to share my faith and stories for His honor with others and I have always tried my best throughout my life to fulfill His Command.”







Unit Assignments

501st Infantry Airborne (Camp Toccoa GA)

101st Airborne Division

663rd Tank Destroyers

86th Blackhawk Infantry, Company H

National Guard, 178th Field Artillery

US Army Reserves, Training Division



Assignments Locations

Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Camp Toccoa Georgia

Fort Hood Texas

Newark New Jersey

Normandy France

Ste. Mere Eglise, Arromanches, Saint Lo,

Courseulles-sur-Mer, Le Harve


Danube, Oberndorf, Hagen, Freising, Ingolstadt, Attendorn, Ludenscheid, Ansbach

Fort Sill Oklahoma

Fort Irwing, San Luis Obispo California

San Francisco California


Philippine Islands

Cap Anza, San Pedro California




D-Day Utah Beach

Battle of the Rhine


Ruhr Pocket

Bavarian Push

Danube River

Invasion Hitler’s Palace

Captured Minister of Hungary





  • Combat Infantry Medal 3 Battle Stars
  • Combat Infantry Badge
  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Paratrooper Wings
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign
  • Normandy Campaign (6 June 1944-24 July 1944)
  • Northern France Campaign (24 July 1944-14 September 1944)
  • Rhineland Campaign (15 September 1944-21 March 1945)
  • WWII Victory Medal
  • Good Conduct Medal
  • Purple Heart
  • Bronze Star