Boots To Bogies To Bronze: The Authorized Biography of 2LT Jack Pyatt
Author: Martin Capages, Jr. PhD
This is the war story of a quiet, distinguished gentleman who once lived in my neighborhood named Jack Pyatt. Jack lived in a well-groomed home on a circular drive in Wildwood Estates in southeast Greene County, Missouri. I had met Jack several years ago and we became good friends even though he was a generation ahead of me. You see, Jack Pyatt served in the US Army during World War II. So did my dad, but my dad was a US Marine lieutenant who served in the Pacific Theater and fought against the Japanese in Okinawa while Jack fought in the European Theater against the Germans. Like most WWII vets, both men would not talk about their experience, you had to literally pull it out of them.
In 1936, the ways to wage war changed. The Germans had developed mechanized warfare and successfully implemented “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) by invading Poland in 1939. The end of the days of the horse-mounted soldier were evident in the movie news films of the Polish cavalry in retreat before the onslaught of the air supported mechanized German Wehrmacht.
Jack joined the Second Calvary Division at Fort Riley Kansas just before the war. He would participate in the change of combat from horseback to the armored tanks of the 13th Armored Division, the "Black Cats" as they stormed across the Ruhr Valley of Germany into Austria to end the war. Sergeant Jack Pyatt would win the Bronze Star in action with A Company, 24th Tank Battalion of the 13th Armored Division. This is his story in his own words and augmented by the unknown chroniclers of these fighting American units.