NC National Guard Soldier KIA during WWII returns home

RALEIGH, NC (October 7, 2021) — The North Carolina National Guard will be conducting a dignified transfer of the remains of 1st Lt. James E. “Dick” Wright will be at the Raleigh Durham International Airport on Oct. 8, 2021. Wright, born Oct. 16, 1918, was killed in action in the vicinity of Dornot, France on Sept. 10, 1944. He was a member of L Co, 120th Infantry Regiment based in Parkton, N.C. prior to his transfer to F Co, 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment in the 5th Infantry Division in 1942.

Wright was assigned to the 5th Infantry Division, a part of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army in Sept. 1944. On the morning of Sept. 8, 1944, Wright’s unit was part of a larger force ordered to cross the Moselle River and take up a position in the woods. The force held its position against the Germans and took heavy losses until Sept. 10, 1944 when they crossed the river again.

Only then were they allowed to retreat. Most of the soldiers were able to retreat, though some officers stayed behind to search for the wounded or missing before crossing again. Wright had already taken a boat to the German-occupied side of the river and rescued three wounded servicemen, ferried them back to safety with the Allies, and was last seen crossing the river again toward the German lines to search for more wounded.

For these acts of heroism, he was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. Wright was among the soldiers reported missing, and his body was not recovered due to fighting and the German presence.

Wright’s remains were recently identified and he is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Wright Harper and niece, Diane Merkt. He was a native of Lumber Bridge, N.C.

His service is being hosted by Lafayette Funeral Home and the family has stated that media is welcome to attend.

Visitation will be from 10:00 AM -12:00 Noon Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at Lumber Bridge Baptist Church, 100 Church Street, Lumber Bridge, NC 28371.

1st Lt. Wright Funeral Caisson will depart at 12:00 Noon from Lumber Bridge Baptist Church and arrive at Oakdale Cemetery in Lumber Bridge. Full Honors Graveside service will follow with CH (LTC) Douglas Alan Windley Officiating.

Please see the link for 1st Lt Wright’s obituary:

Press Release courtesy of the NCNG PAO