PRIVATE ROBERT E. DIETZ
last lived in Camden NJ, prior to being inducted into the United States
Army. He was the son of
Mr. and Mrs. Earl E. Dietz, of
440 Chambers Avenue. The Dietz family was from
Pottsville PA, and moved to Camden late in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army
with the 6th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Division.
On 30-31 May 1942, the regiment left Ft. Dix and traveled
by train to the New York Port of Embarkation and boarded the USAT
Oriente. On 2 June, the ship reached Halifax harbor. The regiment
left again on 3 June enroute to Belfast. Along the way, they were
harassed by submarines, but were defended by destroyers dropping depth
charges. The regiment arrived at Belfast on 10 June. The subordinate
units were scattered around the countryside, and more training was
conducted, including several long foot marches.
On 6 August 1942, the regiment began conducting
maneuvers with British units. They arrived at Bangor, crossed the bay on
pontoon bridges, and established a beachhead at Whitehead. On 7 August,
during heavy rains, they attacked a town held by the 61st British
Infantry Division, then reassembled at Carrick Fergus. On 8 August, they
left Carrick Fergus for Downpatrick. Throughout August, the regiment
continued to train.
In September 1942, 1st and 2nd Battalions left
Ireland for England, but the 3rd Battalion remained in Ireland. During
October, the battalions were realigned and moved around the countryside.
By October, under new regimental commander Robert I. Stack, preparations
were made for the invasion of North Africa.
On 8 November 1942, the regiment invaded North Africa
with Combat Command B. The 1st Battalion was part of a group attacking
west of Oran, while the 2nd Battalion attacked east of Oran at Arzew.
The 3rd Battalion was on two small boats (HMS
Walney and Hartland) to attack Oran Harbor and secure ships and
facilities from sabotage. The 1st and 2nd battalions landed with minimal
difficulties, but the 3rd Battalion received direct fire form French
ships and shore batteries. Casualties included 9 officers and 180
enlisted killed, 5 officers and 152 enlisted wounded. The 3rd battalion
was later cited for this action, and was awarded the Distinguished Unit
Award. The Regiment earned the Campaign Streamer ALGERIA - FRENCH
MOROCCO, WITH ARROWHEAD, and the Presidential Unit Citation for Oran,
Algeria. LTC George G. Marshall, commander of the 3rd battalion, was
killed during this battle.
Private First Class Robert E. Dietz was killed during
the landings at Oran on November 8, 1942. He was 24 at the time of his
death, which was reported in the May 11, 1944 edition of the Camden
Courier-Post. He was survived by his parents. He is buried in the North Africa American Cemetery
at Carthage, Tunisia.