Oscar Lorenzo Joyner Jr.

Headquarters 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

4th Infantry Division

KIA 06/22/1944 (06/21/1944 )

 

 

 

Oscar Joyner was born in North Carolina in 1919.

His hometown was listed as Kernersville, North Carolina.
He was one of three brothers and two sisters. His religion was listed as Protestant.

He graduated from Davidson College, North Carolina, Class of 1940, where
he was a Captain in the R.O.T.C. program and a member of Scabbard and Blade.

Insignia of Scabbard and Blade

 

 

In the summer of 1942 Joyner was serving with the 8th Infantry in the 4th Infantry Division at
Camp Gordon, Georgia and was selected to go to Scotland where he received Commando
training. Upon his return to the United States he formulated the Ranger School for the 4th
Infantry Division and trained Division personnel in ranger tactics and operations.

 

Envelope of a letter dated August 1942 written to Captain Oscar L. Joyner by Colonel James Van Fleet
Commander of the 8th Infantry. Joyner was at that time in Scotland undergoing Commando training.
In the letter Van Fleet related that while Joyner was in Scotland the 22nd Infantry had taken part in
the Carolina Manuevers but that the Regiment was now "fast preparing for bigger events to come."

Courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

Joyner had been transferred from the 8th Infantry to Headquarters for the 4th Infantry Division
where he served in the G-3 (Operations) Section. After the war one of the Division Headquarters
personnel told Oscar's brother William that when he landed on Utah Beach at about 6:30 a.m.
he saw that Oscar was already there directing units inland off the beach.

At the time of his death Joyner was the Executive Officer of 1st Battalion. Because of the heavy
casualties incurred by the Regiment immediately after D-Day Joyner was assigned as Major John Dowdy's
Executive Officer on June 13. 1944.

 

A page of the Daily Journal of the 22nd Infantry Regiment for June 13, 1944 showing that at 9:02 a.m. on June 13
Captain Oscar Joyner was assigned to the 22nd Infantry. (marked by a red asterisk)

Daily Action Journal courtesy of John R. Tomawski

 

 

 

Captain Joyner was killed in action in France during the attack toward Cherbourg, in the area around Gonneville / Le Thiel,
south of the airfield at Maupertus.

As Executive Officer of 1st Battalion Joyner was with the Command Post (CP) for the Battalion.
The Daily Action Journal of the 22nd Infantry records that the 1st Battalion CP had been receiving
heavy German artillery fire all day for June 21.

Captain Clifford "Swede" Henley, Commanding Cannon Company 22nd Infantry recorded in his diary that the
1st Battalion Command Post was ambushed by the Germans while moving forward and that Captain Joyner
was killed by machine gun fire.

Oscar L. Joyner Jr.'s brother William recalls that he was informed that Oscar was killed along with his jeep driver
by German machine gun fire.

The Daily Action Journal of the 22nd Infantry contains an entry for June 21 at 2050 hours that the CP for 1st Battalion
was "practically wiped out."

The S-1 diary recorded the following entries indicating that Captain Joyner was killed on June 21:

21 Jun 1430 Prior to jumping off was heavily hit by artillery barrage and company was scattered.
CPT Joyner put CPT Little in charge A Co to reassemble and continue with attack.

21 Jun 1930 Under CPT Joyner start forward by foot. About 400 yards on road. North of Theil CP group is met by heavy
artillery and mortar barrage, and was pinned down for approximately 45 minutes then advanced on up road north and found
S1 who had also been pinned down by barrage. A small patrol of enemy opened small arms fire on CP group from hedge on
right side of road. Enemy estimated to number 10 to 15 men armed with machineguns, automatic rifle, rifles and grenades.
During ***** fracas CPT Joyner was killed—hit in the head. CP groups were forced to withdraw under heavy artillery, mortar
and small arms fire to previous location.

 

Oscar Joyner was awarded the Silver Star Medal in 4th Divison General Orders # 75
dated 17 October 1944.

He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal in 4th Division General Orders # 76
dated 18 October 1944.

 

 

 

Oscar Joyner's decorations

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

         

Oscar L. Joyner
as a child

Photo courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

Oscar Joyner as a freshman at
Davidson College 1936

Photo courtesy of Matt Joyner

                             

Oscar Joyner as an officer in R.O.T.C.
at Davidson College

Photo courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

The first Davidson College Soccer Team 1940
Oscar Joyner is in the front row second from the left.

Photo courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

         

Oscar Joyner

Photo courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

Right:

Newspaper clipping showing Captain Oscar Joyner.

The caption reads:

Captain Joyner of Division Headquarters sports an "R"
on his right sleeve (Near cuff) because he's a graduate
of the Ranger School. The Captain is not only a graduate,
but he had much to do with the school's success.
Several hundred officers and enlisted men were
recently given the dark green R, denoting
that they had successfully completed the school.

Courtesy of Matt Joyner

         

 

 

         

Left:

Enlargement of photo from
newspaper clipping above
clearly showing the "R"
for Ranger on Joyner's
lower right sleeve.

Joyner had been sent to
Scotland where he had
taken Commando training
taught by the British S.A.S.

Courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

 

In September 1944 a memorial service was held to honor Oscar L. Joyner Jr. at his home church
in Kernersville, North Carolina. The following is the eulogy given by the family's Pastor Dr. Walser H. Allen:







Eulogy courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

 

At the same memorial service in September 1944 the following tribute to Oscar L. Joyner Jr.
was given by his High School Principal Dr. J.R. Blackwell:

 








Tribute courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

 

Oscar Joyner was buried in the temporary U.S. Military Cemetery
Sainte Mere-Eglise #2 at Carentan, France in Block B Row 2 Grave 25 and was moved to the permanent
cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, most likely in 1948 when the temporary cemeteries were shut down.

Burial:
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Colleville-sur-Mer
Departement du Calvados
Basse-Normandie, France

Plot E Row 28 Grave 37

 

Grave marker for Oscar L. Joyner

Photo from the Les Fleurs de la Memoire website

 

 

 

Grave marker for Oscar L. Joyner

Date of casualty is marked on his cross as June 22, 1944.

Photo from the Les Fleurs de la Memoire website

 

 

 

Matt Joyner (3rd from left) and family at the grave of Oscar L. Joyner Jr.
in Normandy summer 2017. Matt is the nephew of Oscar L. Joyner Jr.

Courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

         

Left:

Oscar Joyner III at the grave of his namesake
and great-uncle Oscar Joyner Jr.

Matt Joyner wrote on November 2, 2017:

...some pics from our family trip, including a picture
of our son Oscar III at the grave of his great-uncle
Oscar Jr., a picture I’d been waiting 17 years to take! 
(The ashes on my uncle’s grave are those of my dad,
his younger brother, who died last April at age 92,
a WWII vet from the 100
th Infantry Division –
another object of the trip –
brothers’ remains reunited after 73 years.)

Courtesy of Matt Joyner

 

 

 

 

VFW Post 5352 in Kernersville, North Carolina, is named the Oscar L. Joyner Jr. Post
in his honor.

William Joyner, the brother of Oscar L.Joyner Jr. served in the 100th Division in WWII
and was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government. To view the award ceremony
which gives some biographical information on Oscar click on the following link:

William Joyner French Legion of Honor Ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

Top photo and newspaper article by SleepingDog from the Find A Grave website

The date of Joyner's casualty is denoted on his grave marker as June 22. However,
archive records from the 22nd Infantry indicate the date of his casualty is most likely June 21.
An entry in Clifford "Swede" Henley's dairy also lists the date as June 21.

From the S-1 Normandy diary of the 22nd Infantry courtesy of Rob Rush

The 1st Battalion website is grateful for the assistance of Matt Joyner the nephew of
Oscar L. Joyner Jr. in the preparation of this page.

 

 

 

 

 


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