Stambaugh, Warren Gambiel (P2, C4, L40)
First Sergeant Warren Gambiel Stambaugh, 24, of Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky died of wounds on Leyte Island, Philippines on 14 December 1944. Stambaugh was wounded in action on 10 December 1944 while serving with his unit on federal active duty in the area of San Pablo Air Field on Leyte. The 2-149th was providing local security and extensive patrolling in the area.
Stambaugh enlisted with Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 149th Infantry, Kentucky National Guard, at Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky, on 7 June 1938. He was inducted in federal service on 17 January 1941, with his unit. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
Stambaugh is buried in the Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippine Islands. Plot A, Row 13, Grave 111. They list his name as Stambough. He also shares a headstone with his son, Warren Glenn Stambaugh, in the Wedonia Cemetery in Mason County.
No documentation has been found to detail the circumstances his death. However it would seem likely that he was killed in the vicinity of San Pablo or Buri airstrips on Leyte.
NOTE: A family headstone and newspaper accounts spell his last name as Stambaugh. The majority of his military records also spell his name as Stambaugh. However many of his records do spell it as Stambough. His listing with the American Battle Monuments Commission Manila American Cemetery spell his name as Stambough.
Pvt. Stambaugh Wounded on Leyte
Public Ledger Maysville, Kentucky Page 1 - Jan. 15, 1945
Pvt. Warren G. Stambaugh, 24 yr. old father of a five-month-old son born on August 8, that he has never seen, was slightly wounded December 10 in the fighting on Leyte, in the Philippine Islands. This news· was contained in a War Department telegram delivered Monday morning to his 23-year-old wife. Mrs. Margaret Maley Stambaugh, office employee at the R.J. Reynolds Company plant here, who is residing with her mother, Mrs. Marie Ryan Maley, at 206 West Third Street.
Monday's casualty wire was the second delivered to this address in slightly more than a month. On December 8 Mrs. Maley had official notification that the elder of her two service-sons. Staff Sgt. James Maley, 22, had been slightly wounded November 23 in Germany. Only one letter has come from him since that time and his mother is becoming increasingly apprehensive.
The telegram to the young wife and mother ended a long period of anxious waiting for word of her soldier-husband. It was six weeks ago she had her last letter from him under date of November 15.
Pvt. Stambaugh, who was reared by his aunt, Mrs. Glenn Howe, and Mr. Howe of the Lewisburg community, entered service with the Kentucky National Guards in January of 1941, After approximately two years at Camp Shelby, Miss., he was sent to Camp Livingston, La., and then overseas a year ago this month.
Pvt. And Mrs. Stambaugh’s little boy, Warren Glenn was born on August 8.
Friends of the family will have sincerest hopes that an early progress report will reveal that the wounded soldier is making normal improvement.
Warfare Cost Life of Pvt. Stambaugh
Death Occurs December 14 on Leyte Isle
23-Year-Old Widow as Told Jan. 15 Soldier Was “Slightly Wounded” December 10
Public Ledger Maysville, Kentucky Page 1 - Jan. 26, 1945
Called away from her office duties at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Friday afternoon to sign for the message, Mrs. Margaret Maley Stambaugh received the crushing news that her husband. 1st Sgt. Warren G. Stambaugh, 24, had died on Leyte Island December 14 from wounds received in action.
Word to inflict a deep and lasting hurt at the best, the War Department telegram came as particularly shocking news in as much as 23-year-old widow had been told on January 15 that her husband was only "slightly wounded." The casualty occurred on Leyte in the Philippine Islands on December 10. Death claimed the soldier four days later.
Father of a five- month- son he never saw. Sgt. and Mrs. Stambaugh were married at St. Patrick's rectory here on May 8, 1943.
A young man of sterling qualities, fine in his integrity and affable in nature, he was looked upon with esteem by all who knew him and his death from wounds in battle will sorely afflict his friends and family connection. Sincerest sympathy will go out to his grief-stricken widow and to his maternal aunt, Mrs. Glenn Howe, of Lewisburg, who had been "mother" to him from the time he was nine months old.
Sgt. Stambaugh was born July 28, 1920 at Kenova, W. Va., son of the late George and Mary Brummett Stambaugh. He came to Mason County as a babe in arms to reside in the Glenn Howe home and he was graduated from Lewisburg High School in 1939.
After assisting his uncle on the farm, Sgt. Stambaugh entered service with the Kentucky National Guards in January of 1941. After approximately two years at Camp Shelby, Miss., he was sent to Camp Livingston, La., and then to the South Pacific a year go this month.
Friday’s casualty wire was the second affecting Mrs. Stambaugh. On November 23 her older brother in service, Staff Sgt. James Maley 22, was “slightly wounded” in Germany.
Besides his widow, who resides at 206 West Third street with her mother, Mrs. Marie Ryan Maley, and his baby son, Warren Glenn, who was born last August 8, the ware victim is survived by two sister and four brothers. They are Mrs. Shaw Howe of Lewisburg, Mrs. John Ramey and William Stambaugh, of Paintsville, Ky, Ernest Stambaugh of Covington; Virgil Stambaugh, U.S. Navy, and Troy Stambaugh with the American troops in the European theater of operations.
Stambaugh’s son, Warren Glenn Stambaugh, was a distinguished Virginia lawmaker and attorney. He died Nov. 14, 1990 at the age of 46 from an apparent heart attack. He was born after his father was deployed overseas and they never met. The younger Stambaugh graduated St. Patrick's High School, Maysville and was a National Merit scholar. He moved to the Washington D.C. area to attend the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, from which he graduated. He received a law degree from The Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., and ran a general law practice in Arlington, Virginia. Stambaugh was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates serving there from 1974 until 1990. He is noted for his authorship and passage of the Virginians with Disabilities Act, which extended civil rights protections to the disabled.
149th Sees First Combat of World War II
See also: Grigg Martin C MAJ Opns 1-149th Inf Battle Buri Air Strip, Leyte 7-11 Dec 1944
The 149th arrived as part of the 38th Division by ship at Bito Beach, Leyte in the Philippines on 6 December 1944. The 2d Battalion was assigned to the task of unloading the equipment and supplies from the ships. The 1st Battalion was assigned almost immediately to the 11th Airborne Division — alerted at 0200 hours 7 December for movement to San Pablo airstrip in the Burauen area.
At San Pablo airstrip the advance elements of the battalion were met by Major General Joseph Swing whose greeting and order to the battalion was, 'Glad to see you. I am General Swing of the 11th Airborne Division. We've been having a hell of a time here. Last night approximately seventy-five Jap paratroopers dropped on us of which we have accounted for about fifty. Fifteen hundred yards from here on an azimuth of 2730 is another airstrip just like this one. Between here and there are about twenty-five Jap troopers. It is now 1400. I want that strip secure by nightfall.’
The battalion moved out at 1430 hours and after five hundred yards encountered a rain swollen swamp that proved difficult to cross with shoulder deep water in places. Contact between companies was lost crossing the swamp. A Company and arrived on the near side of Buri Air Strip at about 1630 hours. Much enemy activity could be seen on the far side of the strip and many more Japanese were in the area than had been estimated. C Company had been delayed by a light skirmish and did not arrive at Buri Strip until about 1800 hours. The battalion commander ordered the two companies to form a perimeter defense for the night.
The Japanese had become aware of the presence of the Americans on the south edge of the airstrip and the battalion was harassed all night by Japanese rifle and machine gun fire. The enemy also got inside the perimeter at times and threw grenades. During the night the battalion fired many rounds of ammunition against the infiltrating Japanese.
C Company and part of A Company advanced across the open runway without any difficulty but immediately upon entering the dense jungle on the far side of the strip they were hit by devastating small arms and mortar fire from well concealed Japanese positions and were forced to withdraw after a sharp fire fight.
The 149th RCT Commander visited the HQ of the 11th Airborne Division, at San Pablo at about 1200 hours 8 December. The G-2, 11th Airborne Division estimated six hundred and fifty Japanese opposing the 1st Battalion. The 149th RCT Commander was given control of his battalion and the 2d Battalion, which had completed unloading the ships was ordered to the Burauen area. B Company joined the 1st Battalion 1600 hours 8 December. The 2d Battalion arrived at the San Pablo Strip the next day and was used for local security and for extensive patrolling throughout the area.
The 1st Battalion consolidated its position during the remaining hours of daylight 8 December and prepared to launch a frontal attack with two companies the next day. The enemy continued to harass the perimeter during the night of 8-9 December
The attack on 9 December was launched with a five minute mortar preparation. Both companies were able to cut their way through the brush for a few yards before they were again forced to withdraw.
A shortage of ammunition began to be a concern. Efforts to resupply the Battalion bad been unsuccessful until late in the afternoon of 9 December when a pack train arrived from San Pablo Strip with ammunition and K rations. About the same time the pack train arrived, the regimental commander landed on the strip in a cub plane despite the fact that one side of the strip was still in the hands of the enemy, who fired at the plane as it was landing. The returning pack train evacuated casualties.
On 10 December A and C Companies began to attack at 0800 hours and B Company in Battalion reserve. The turning movement to the left was to be hinged on A Company. The turning movement was partially completed when A Company became involved in a fire fight with B Company and it was several minutes before it was halted.
The two companies completed the maneuver, aligned themselves and moved to the west methodically reducing the enemy strong points encountered. They had advanced approximately one hundred and fifty yards when approaching darkness forced preparations for their defense for the night.
A and C Companies resumed their advance to the west at 0800 hours 11 December, to clean out the remaining enemy. B Company moved across the strip, turn right and clean out the Japanese in that area. There was less enemy resistance and by 1200 hours operations were reduced to mopping up the area.
The 2d Battalion assumed responsibility for the entire area and at 1430 hours relieved the 1st Battalion which moved to Burauen for rest. The battle for Buri Air Strip was over.
Three hundred enemy dead were found in the area after the operation was over and a reported two hundred more Japanese were forced to withdraw from Buri Air Strip to the interior of the island. During the battle the 1st Battalion had, lost forty men killed and approximately one hundred were wounded. It had required five days to accomplish
While no definitive information has been found it is believed that the following members of the Kentucky National Guard perished during this engagement in addition to Stambaugh: Edward Stewart Co A, 1-149th 7 December; Willie Alley Co C, 1-149th 8 December; Fred Henson Co C, 1-149th 8 December; Delmar Adams Co B, 1-149th 9 December and Millard Adams Co B 1-149th 10 December.