COLONEL OLLIE W. REED was a Regular Army officer. Born in Kansas in July of 1896 to Orval and Mary Reed, he was one of at least eight children, coming after William, Jessie, Hazel, and George; and before Arthur, Eva, and Howard.. His father was a farmer. His early years were spent in Leota, Kansas. Orval Reed supported his family as a farmer at the turn if the century, but by 1910 had secured a job as a mail carrier, working a rural route. The family had moved to Norton, Kansas by 1910
Ollie W. Reed saw duty with the United States Army during World War I. When the census was taken in March of 1920, Ollie W. Reed was a 24 year-old lieutenant with the 50th Infantry Regiment, stationed at Niedermendig, Germany. He had wed by this time, his wife then residing in Norton, Kansas. His wife Mildred had born a son, Ollie W. Reed Jr., in Connecticut early in 1919. Another son, Theodore, was born after the Reeds were reunited. He was born in Washington DC around 1923, When the census was taken in the spring of 1930, Ollie W. Reed was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Ollie W. Reed remained in the Army and had been promoted to Colonel by June of 1944. On June 23, 1944, Colonel Ollie W. Reed was placed in command of the 175th infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
The 29th Infantry Division landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.The 29th Infantry Division suffered heavy casualties on that day and throughout the month of June as it pushed towards its vital objective, the French town of St. Lo. 175th Infantry Regiment commanding officer Colonel Paul R. Goode was taken prisoner on June 11th. He was succeeded by his executive officer, Lt. Colonel Alexander George, who was in turn wounded on June 17th. Lt. Colonel William Purnell was detached from 29th Division Headquarters until June 23rd, when Colonel Reed took command of the regiment.
Colonel Reed remained in command of the 175th Infantry until he was killed in action on July 30, 1944. He was the highest ranking member of the 29th Infantry Division killed in action during World War II. Lt. Colonel Purnell returned from Division headquarters to again lead the 175th Infantry. He survived the war, retiring from the Army as a Major General.
Sadly, Colonel Reed's son, First Lieutenant Ollie W. Reed Jr., was killed in action in Italy on June 6, 1994 while serving with the 363rd Infantry Regiment, 91st Infantry Division.
Col. Ollie W. Reed's name is on the sign dedicating the 29th Infantry Division's cemetery in France. It appears in a picture in "Passing the Torch" in the September magazine.
The Army listed Colonel Reed as having a last home address in Camden County, New Jersey in its 1946 Honor Roll of World War II casualties.
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