CLYDE OWEN MILTON
Branch: U. S. Army
Rank: Tech Sergeant
Status: Killed in action
Date of Service: WWII
Home Town: Moose Creek Township
1. 7th Infantry Regiment “Cottonbalers” Insignia. Clyde Milton’s headstone in Mound Cemetery, Benton County.
Clyde Owen Milton was born November 8, 1916 on a farm in Maywood Township, Benton County, Minnesota to parents Earl Owen and Ethel Christine Check Milton. Earl’s parents were Canadian immigrants who had homesteaded in Maywood Township and Ethel was a Minnesota native born to Swedish immigrant parents. Earl’s father, incidentally, had Americanized his surname from “Mitton” to “Milton.” Five children were born to Earl and Ethel: Donald, Grace, Elton, Clyde and Kenneth.
The Milton family moved to Moose Creek Township in Clearwater County some time during the 1920s, where Clyde and his siblings attended school through the 8th grade. Misfortune befell the family during the 1930s when daughter Grace died in 1936 at age 24 and Elton died in 1939 at age 25.
Clyde went to work as a laborer for the CCC helping to construct a hydroelectric gravity dam on the Missouri River in Toston, Broadwater County, Montana. On March 25, 1941, he traveled to Fort Missoula, Montana and enlisted in the Army for three years.
Clyde became a member of the 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division nicknamed the “Cottonbalers.” The 7th Infantry was among the first to land in North Africa in 1942 in the assault on Morocco, then pushed onward from North Africa through Italy and France to Germany, where the Cottonbalers captured Berchtesgaden, Adolph Hitler’s mountain fortress.
Following the amphibious landing in Morocco, the regiment helped kick off the Allied invasion of Sicily in July of 1943. That fall and winter the Regiment took part in a costly series of four assaults by the Allies against the Winter Line in Italy, a series of German and Italian military fortifications that defended a western section of Italy.
As part of the 3rd Infantry Division the 7th Infantry Regiment took part in Operation Shingle, the amphibious landing at Anzio, Italy on January 22, 1944. Here it gained a toe-hold and for four months suffered numerous furious German counterattacks. It endured trench warfare similar to that suffered on the Western Front during World War I.
Sadly, Tech Sergeant Clyde Milton did not survive this campaign and never knew of its eventual success. He was killed in action on February 4, 1944. He was originally buried at Anzio but was later disinterred and sent home to his family, who buried him in the Mound Cemetery in Benton County with other members of his family. Clyde Milton was 27 years old.