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I was inducted into the Army September 11, 1944 in Indianapolis, Indiana just after turning eighteen. My basic training was at Camp Blanding Florida. I was at Fort Ord in California, Fort Lawton, Washington and from there I shipped to Oahu, Hawaii and to Saipan in the Marianas before going to Okinawa.
I served on Okinawa with the 96th Division of the US Army, as a replacement, at the beginning of May of 1945 a month after the historic invasion of April 1st. I was there till August of 1945, leaving when a typhonn hit the island.
I was on the way to Mindoro when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.
When the 96th Division went home, I was transfered to the 86th Division on Luzon.
Then I was transferred to AFWESPAC headquarters where I was on the staff of the newspaper, the Daily Pacifican.
I left the Philipines and returned home October of 1946 via Cape Mears troop ship. I was discharged in December of 1946 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. (2years 2 months 22 days)
To learn more about Hill's Military Experiences just click the image to read this pdf file : "Blue Star in the Window."
Mortar Squad 2R
In back Ken Morgan, Dutch DeHann, Jones, GI Moss and Don Johnson. In front Slats Johnson, Whitey Sergeant, Barney Avery and Bill Hill
The seeds of “Always a Deadeye” were actually sown in the year 2000. This was when my son Paul and I took a tour back to the old battlegrounds of Okinawa. As we shared our combat stories, a warm realization swept over me: these men were my new buddies, and we were all Deadeyes. After returning home, and a little later on, I put these feelings of camaraderie and sacrifice into this poem. I fussed over the words and meter and when it was finished I passed it on to other members of the tour. Jim Causey read it at the following 96th Division Reunion. I was of course delighted with the acceptance.
I have an illustrated copy available for you to see or to print on this site. To have a decorated copy of this poem, just click on the small decorated copy below for a PDF file to copy to your desktop and print.
"I was honored at the 2006 Deadeye Reunion in Denver, Colorado, when I was asked to stand as Always a Deadeye was read during the memorial service."
A Visit with Jason Denno, Grandson of another Deadeye
Jason is the Grandson of Deadeye, Louis J. Denno, and his tribute may be found on this website. (Click)
"I talked with Bill Hill a couple of weekds ago on the phone.
My visit with Bill was a life changing event, one I didn't expect. I was on a search to find my Grandfathers past, to know more, I would have walked to the ends of the earth for answers, the meeting with him lifted that burden of answers, it set my soul at ease so to speak.
I truly feel as if now my quest is at least resolved and answered and I can carry on in Grandpa's spirit now and truly hold the memory of him and all Deadeyes in the highest regard and do my absolute all to honor them all.
Bill gave me a feeling that cannot be explained but I feel whole again.
I told him all this on the phone as tears streamed down my cheeks."
Back on the"Holding the .30 cal Garand rifle in my hand was rewarding. It is a lot heavier than 70 years ago; yet still weighs about nine pounds. Denno handed it over to me, I put it on my lap and soon appreciated that old feeling of security and comfort and very dangerous fire power in my hands. As I remember, the number on mine years ago was 1110073. sandy company street in Camp Blanding,Florida when I was in Basic Training, I slapped the wood so loud, hard and precise on one Saturday inspection that a long time cadre man complimented me. That felt good and I proudly remember.
I thank my good buddy Jason Denno for visiting with his nice family and bringing it so I could hold one in my hands once again." Bill
I suppose there's been better gifts, but can't remember when. Okinawa veteran Bill Hill drove down from Indianapolis to meet the son of One of His Own - a WWII Deadeye. We were able to chat as I vicariously relived Dad's footsteps through the eyes of this grizzled 82 yr old veteran who fought alongside Dad's battle weary 383rd, with the 382nd infantry.
I studied the contents of the bag which appeared to be dried dirt, parched with age.
"That's Okinawa mud. I collected it on my return to Kochi Ridge several years ago--a place where your Dad and I saw so many of our friends fall. It's the best gift I could think to bring to you-the most precious gift I can offer."
And so it was.
Bill brought along a canteen he picked up off a dead Japanese soldier. No cork was available, so instead, the cap was carved out of a piece of wood. Dried blood stains covered the strap, a testament to the ferocity of the fighting.
We enjoyed a long talk with lunch, and I admit, my ego was swelled a bit when Bill complimented me on the stories I'd sent to his 96th Deadeye website
"I've read a lot of stuff over the years, especially on WWII and Okinawa in particular. Your stores are heartfelt and of high quality, written with integrity. Your sense of empathy and insight into the old veterans of the Pacific War, especially Okinawa veterans like your Dad and me, make good reading."
Bill's kind words made the effort all the more worthwhile. And I've reaped the added benefit of some of that Okinawa mud taken off Kochi Ridge. I'll take extra care in protecting it for safekeeping for future generations.
You see, that mud was hard won.
A Quilt of Valor
The Ladies of a Basement Quilters of Arlington, Indiana make quilts for veterans including the VA hospital in Indiana. I am the proud recipient of one on November 12. It is quite handsome 4'x6' beauty with the Pledge of Allegiance written in the center. Barbara Heifner sent it to me. She recently lost her husband who was a Deadeye buddy of mine from years back. In fact I used his picture on my website for a downloadable bookmark.
William R Hill, also known as Bill Hill, Richard, Great Grandaddy, Grandad, Dad, Uncle Richard, and assorted variations, resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife of 70 years, Margaret Jeane. They have four Baby Boomers, eleven grandchildren and eighteen great-grandchildren!
He is greatly loved and respected by all.
Janet, Paul Joyce with Daddy Before Bill was born
The Hill Baby Boomers: Paul, Bill, and Joyce
William R Hill X 3
William Richard, William Robert, William Ryan
At a Hill Family Reunion 2003
Looked at your page last night and was greatly impressed with the work you are doing.
As your name sake you are a hard person to follow. All the things we know about you and your life are very important to us all.
There were none before you and there won't be any after who have given so much to enjoy life with as you Dad.
Thank you for your Service to our county.
William R Hill
By the way Daddy-Oh "Happy 88th Birthday"
And Many Many More
I would like to take your birthday to express what your service in WWII has meant to me. From my earliest memories of you I have have always proudly viewed you as a soldier.
I remember several times when you tried in vane to teach me the manual of arms. I never learned how to do it but I loved to watch you as you demonstrated it to me. I admired you so.
Then there was the trip of a lifetime to Okinawa. I was so proud to be with you and other members of the greatest generation that, for better or worst, shaped the world today.
So Happy Birthday to my hero.
I love you more as you get older and I get older. We got married right after you got home from the service. We started our family. It's getting bigger and better all the time. You have been a wonderful and caring husband. You just get nicer and nicer.
Happy Birthday, Richard.
I love you, Jeane
Ben Marching with Grandad -
"Left - Right - Left - Right... Halt - One - Two!"
"DEADEYE - READY"
"Grandad is my Hero"
You have been one of the most influential people in my life. From you I learned love and acceptance, enthusiasm and curiosity. You really have a knack for genuinely valuing people, and making them feel valued.
Thanks for your service to our country, and for making it your life's work to document the service of men like yourself from a very personal perspective. Your generation took on the great catastrophe of our time, and coming through the experience gave you an uncommon graciousness. This quality has not gone unnoticed.
Watching you engage my 1-1/2 year old daughter with the same love and attention you have given to all of your grandchildren through the years was heart-warming. You are amazing as always. Happy 88th birthday! Jake
With Grandad at Bob Evans
It has been my absolute pleasure and honor to have you as my Father-in-Law. I am so pleased to have known you all these years. You are a man of great character and stature. You answered your country's call to duty and faced the terror of battle without question. You survived the war and gave me my wife of 32 years. For that, I am everlastingly grateful and in your debt. Happy Birthday and wishes for many more.
William R Hill (Bill Hill) & daughter, Jan Wharton, have developed Remember the Deadeyes as a team. Dad provides all the Army information and data, and Jan does the web work.
Dad, I love and respect you beyond measure. Doing Remember the Deadeyes together has been so much fun, and I know you much better now. I am very proud to be your daughter. Thank you for your service to our country both back in the Army, and for what all you do for the Army now. Thank you for being my Dad, and for being the grandfather of my children and the super great grandfather you are!
I Love YOU Bunches - "Jant"
Our Bench, a gift from family for our 60th Anniversary
Our Bench at Eagle Creek State Park
Everyday at home on the Computer
Working on Remember the Deadeyes!
This is our Labor of Love, Dad, and it is because of you we have such a comprehensive site!