James "Ernie" Gatten (#33306194)

Picture taken August, 2011

Place of Birth
Date of Birth


Washington, Pennsylvania
May 7, 1922
83rd Reconnaissance Troop
83rd Infantry

James E. Gatten was born in Washington, Pennsylvania on May 7, 1922, as son of Bert T. and Lucy Liming Gatten. He had a Grammer school education and his occupation was listed as "Farm hands, general farms". James E. Gatten (#33306194) entered the service as a draftee on September 29, 1942 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. James took some of his training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana before going to the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) and was a Private in the 83rd Infantry Division, 83rd Reconnaissance Troop. During World War II, he served in the Major Campaigns in Europe. On April 25, 1945, he was a member of a 21-man Cavalry Escort Detachment. This Unit provided escort security for two U.S. Army Field Generals (U.S. V Corps and 69th Inf. Div.) and a group of news reporters. They traveled across several miles of central Germany to the city Torgau. Here was held the Ceremony that marked the official historic linkup of the US and Soviet Armies.

He was a member of North Ten Mile Baptist Church and American Legion Post #897. In 1984 he retired from Brockway #7, after 31 years as a machine operator. He also operated the family sheep farm in North Bethlehem Twp., for more than 40 years.
On July 9, 2004 in Sainteny, France, he was awarded the 60th Anniversary Medal of Liberation from the Government of Normandy. That same week, he re-visited Torgau, Germany to view the large monument that marks the spot where the two great allied armies met in 1945. He was awarded an Honorary Masters of Military Science from Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee in 2012.

James E. Gatten passed away on March 9, 2013, his wife for more than 60 years, Betty Grace (Fulton) Gatten, passed away on November 30, 2006. They are buried at the North Ten Mile Baptist Cemetery, Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Surviving are a daughter Phyllis (Ed) Corgiat of Tennessee, one son Ralph (Rhonda) Gatten of Scenery Hill, PA , three grandsons Edwin Corgiat, Lukas and Noah Gatten, one sister Lucille Hillberry, California, PA and one brother, Chester Gatten of Washington, PA. Several nieces and nephews.
Deceased are 3 brothers John W., Elbert, Norman Gatten and a granddaughter Corey Ann Gatten.

James Ernie Gatten at age 22, September 1944, France.
83rd Reconnaissance Troop - US 1st Army

Thanks to Phyllis (Gatten) Corgiat for sharing the story and the pictures of here dad.