Claudius Miller Easley
Assistant Division Commander of the 96th Infantry Division "The Deadeyes", killed on Okinawa in direct enemy Combat.
FROM MILITARY HALL OF VALOR:
Engagements: • World War II (1941 - 1945) Biography: Claudius Miller Easley was born on 11 July 1891, the eldest son of Alexander Campbell and Claudia Miller Easley. At the age of four he moved with his family to Waco, TX, where he grew up and was graduated from Waco High School in 1911. While in high school he enlisted in the Texas National Guard and began a career in rifle-marksmanship by competing in the National Matches at Camp Perry, OH, in 1910. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on his 21st birthday. Easley worked his way through the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M), and was graduated in 1916 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Engineering. Upon graduation he entered active duty with the Texas National Guard on the Mexican border until he was commissioned in the Regular Army in 1917. It was while serving on the border that he met his future wife, Inez Wickline of Woodville, TX. They were married in 1917 in Kansas City, MO, and had one son, Claudius M. Easley, Jr. (he retired from the U.S. Army, as a Lieutenant Colonel). Between World Wars I and II, Easley was a member of the first Basic Class of the newly established Infantry School in 1919 and, over the years, also graduated from the Advanced Course of the Infantry School, the Command and General Staff College and the Army War College. He served with the 37th U.S. Infantry Regiment on the Mexican border and at Fort Wayne, MI;, the 31st in Manila, Philippine Islands; the 4th at Fort George Wright, WA; and the 30th at the Presidio of San Francisco, CA. He was an instructor in the Weapons Section of the Infantry School 1930-1934, Commander of the Los Angeles District of the Civilian Conservation Corps 1936-1938, and Captain of the Infantry Rifle and Pistol Teams in 1937, ‘38, and ‘39. He had one tour of duty on the War Department General Staff from 1940-1942. Soon after the United States’ entry into World War II, Easley took command of the 325th Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Infantry Division. He left that unit to become the Assistant Commanding General of the 96th Infantry Division at the time of its activation in August 1942, at Camp Adair, OR. The division gained the connotation of the "Deadeyes" because of the high level of marksmanship it achieved through the training directed by Easley. The Division was shipped to the Pacific Theater of Operations in the summer of 1944 and made an assault landing on Okinawa on 1 April 1945. Two months later, after being slowed by heavy rain, the Division resumed the offensive against weakening enemy resistance. Brigadier General Easley was awarded the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct" at the close of the Leyte Campaign during which he had been wounded by sniper fire and was also awarded the Purple Heart. On 8 May 1945, he was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action on Okinawa Island. Death and Burial On 19 June 1945, Brigadier General Claudius Miller Easley was killed in action while directing fire on the last enemy positions on Okinawa, just days before the end of the last ground battle and only a few months before the end of the war. He was initially buried on the island, but was re-interred, with honors, at Arlington National Cemetery on 23 February 1949. Medals and Awards Silver Star Medal Legion of Merit Bronze Star Medal Purple Heart Honors On 21 April 1946, his college awarded Brigadier General Easley, posthumously, the degree of Doctor of Laws. His wife, Inez Easley, went to College Station, TX, to receive the degree which was presented by General of the Army Dwight David Eisenhower. On 26 March 1951, the U.S. Army Infantry School named Easley Range in honor of General Easley’s contributions to the development and improvement of small arms marksmanship.