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A Tribute to

Jason W. Autery,

Deadeye

 

Obituary
 

Jason W. Autery, 89 of the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Quincy, IL and formerly of Pleasant Hill, IL, passed away Thursday, September 29, 2011 at the home.

Jason was born in Nebo, IL on December 10, 1921, a son of Chester A. and Alten Eliza Ransom Autery. He married Edith Atteberry and she preceded him in death.

Jason was an overseer of the King Lake Farms (R. H. Fienup Duck Club) in rural Pleasant Hill. He greatly enjoyed guiding duck hunts and duck and goose hunting, deer hunting, and fishing the Mississippi River where he enjoyed spending time in the Mississippi River Bottoms. He also enjoyed going out to the Red Dome Inn and the Atlas Café, and visiting with friends. He raised and trained Labrador Retrievers.

He is survived by a daughter, Melissa Love of Rock, KS and a stepson, Danny Davies of Clarksville, TN along with four grandchildren and two great grandchildren and a brother, Ernest Autery of St. Louis, MO. He was preceded in death by sisters, Martha Sutton, Rosella Edlen and Gladys Vincent and a brother, Evan Autery.

   

This memorial is in Nebo, Illinois Cemetery - the final resting place of Jason Autery

Jason Autery, 82, Proudly displays his military service awards, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Oak Leaf Cluster. Autery served with the US Army 96th Infantry Division in Leyte, Phillippines, and Okinawa, where he was wounded.

Melissa Love, standing at the gravesite of her father, Jason Autery

 

Miliary Service

Jason Autery of rural Pleasant Hill says he'll leave up to others to determine whether or not he is a hero.

But his acts and subsequent awards from the United States Army show that Pfc. Autery certainly helped his country in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II.

Autery was part of the 96th Infantry Division, "Deadeyes," as they were known for their expert marksmanship. He was deployed in 1944 with the division from Camp Adair in Oregon to the steaming jungles of Leyte island in the Phillippines.

In October 1944, Japanese forces attacked the 96th in Leyte Valley, and several soldiers in Autery's division lost their lives.

Autery said his job during the attack was to serve as a regular rifleman. Once during the smoke and confusion of combat, American tank crews mistakenly fired on Autery's battalion inflicting untold casualties. The battalion commander, a colonel, asked the man standing next to Autery to run to the tank crews to let them know they were firing on their own men. "That man fainted dead away from fright," Autrey said, "I was standing right there and I figured I was going to get killed anyway so I told him I'd go instead."

Autrey estimates that he ran through about four miles of dangerous enemy fire. "I was so excited I didn't pay any attention to how long I ran," he said.

After the battle at Leyte and securing the beachhead at that location, the division moved on to Japan Easter Sunday, 1945.

On May 16, 1945, in Okinawa, Japan Autery received the wound that would later result in his discharge from the Army. "I was in the foxhole with two other guys and the Japs started shooting mortars," he said. "A shell landed close to the foxhole. One of the other guys was killed and one was wounded bad." Autery was shot in his back. He and the other injured soldier from his foxhole were transported by Jeep to their headquarters, which was located about three miles away.

Autery was hospitalized in Guam for a week, then sent back to the US to a hospital in San Francisco. After recovering, he was sent to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he was discharged Nov. 24, 1945. He had been in the Army for about three years.

While he was hospitalized, Autrey received the Purple Heart Award. He can still remember the words he said during the presentation. "I told them, 'I don't want that damn thing, I just want to go home,'" Autrey said, "I appreciate it now."

About 11 years after his discharge, Autery received notification that he was also a recipient of a Bronze Star Oak Leaf Cluster award. This was officially awarded Aug. 2, 1956 and was given for his bravery and performance during his his time in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

During his service, a photograph of Autery and some other soldiers at Leyte showed Americans what was going on during the war. Autery said his twin sister, Rosella, was working at an electric company in St. Louis when the photograph appeared in the St. Louis Post. She sent him a letter to tell him about it.

Years later, Joe Springer of Pleasant Hill found the same photograph in a small book about the M1 Garand Rifle - the same weapon that Autery carried.

 

Autery said he was given an opportunity for a promotion from Private First Class to Corporal, but he declined.

"I told them I had enough trouble watching after myself, let alone anyone else," he said.

Still, Autery is thankful that he made it back to the U.S. to be with his family.

"I'm lucky to be alive," he said. "With God's help, I got back alive."

Autrey's Honorable Discharge Document
Click for larger image
 

Other Deadeyes from the same Company with pages on this site are Palmer, Stockham, Porter and Neilson.

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