Walter D. Gernon Sr. (# 34153925)

Place of Birth
Date of Birth

New Orleans, Louisiana
November 3, 1919
Technician 5th Grade (T/5)
83rd Infantry
Combat Infantryman's Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, European African Middle-Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Stars (for Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns).

Walter Desmond Gernon Sr. was born on November 3, 1919 in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised there as the son of the late Thomas E. (1880-1941) and Florence (Meriwether) Gernon (1885-1980). His father Thomas E. Gernon was a Spanish-American war veteran.

Walter Gernon lived in New Orleans, Louisiana until he was inducted (#34153925) on November 10, 1941 at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, an infantry replacement training center where he took his basic training for 2 months. After this his military occupational specialty was listed as Telephone Switchboard Operator (650), Linesman (641) and Fuse Setter (2601). On January 8, 1945 he finally left the US for the European Theatre of Operations where he arrived on January 15. He was with a group of reinforcements arriving to refill the ranks of the 83rd whose units had been depleted by the many wounded and dead during the first weeks of the Battle of the Bulge. He joined Company L, 331st Infantry Regiment a few days later and went on to serve with them as a Rifleman (745) for the remainder of the war in Europe. Like many other veterans of the 83rd Infantry Division he was then transferred to another unit for seperation. Walter Gernon ended up in the 225th Field Artillery Battalion and left Europe on November 21, 1945 arriving in the US on December 2. A few days later, on December 9, 1945 he was honorably discharged from the Army at Camp Shelby Seperation Center in Missouri.

Walter Gernon
Note the General HQ Reserve patch

Private Walter Gernon at home

Walter and his brother Byron Gernon

Walter Gernon (second from left) and three Army buddies during training,
Presumably at Camp Livingston, Louisiana
On furlough at home

Walter and his mother Florence

Walter and his sister Mildred

Walter's brother George Gernon who was also in the service

Walter Gernon is on the right, the other man is unknown

Wooden cantonments, Camp unknown

Walter Gernon showing the snow during his training. Being a native from New Orleans he presumably hadn't experienced snow before.

Somewhere in Germany

This photo of the second platoon contains Walter D. Gernon Sr. He is on the front row, second to the right from the swastika
 (Photo Greg Chipps)

Walter was proud of his service, but had a very hard time speaking about it, it made him remember of his friends and comrades, who did not return home.

I want to leave you with one story as an example of the type of man he was.  A devout Roman Catholic, he went to church everyday, if only for a few minutes.  He never missed no matter what was going on, from being out of town on vacation, the day that a hurricane hit New Orleans or when he was ill.  No matter what he would find a church and go in for a few minutes.  He told me that during the war he found himself in a very bad position ( and that was all he ever said about it), and made a promise to God that if he got out alive that he would stop in a church everyday of his life.  Until the week or so before he died of cancer and was incapacitated in the hospital, he KEPT that promise.  

After the war, Walter Gernon settled into civilian life. He went to work for the daily New Orleans Newspaper The Times Picayune as a printer. He worked for the newspaper for 40 plus years until he retired. He loved to fish and crab, liked all sports (of course his New Orleans Saints football team) and after he retired enjoyed his time at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  He was named Comrade of the year for his service to the Post at the local VFW in  1984.

He married Rosemary Rita Cefalu on June 16, 1951. They had two sons, Walter D. Gernon Jr (born 9/18/52) and Frederick M. Gernon (born 11/29/55). They lived in and raised their family in New Orleans, Louisiana.  They were married until his death on Sept 21, 1987.

Walt and Rebecca (Willman) Gernon, son and daughter in Law of Walter Gernon
Greg Chipps, son of Richard E. Chipps, 1st Sergeant of L Company

Wonderful time with the son and daughter in law of Walter D. Gernon, a veteran of L Company, 331st Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge. We spend some time at my house, having lunch and looking at my 83rd collection. The second day touring the Ardennes with Eddy Monfort and off course a few good Belgian beers were had at Bob Konings B&B in Grandmenil!

From left to right, my dad, I, Eddy Monfort, Walter Gernon's daughter in law Rebecca and his son Walter Jr.