On Monday, Sept. 23, 2019, D.C. Rigby, 95-year-old World War II veteran, was presented with a Quilt of Honor by Marsha Powell, a representative of the San Antonio Chapter of Quilts of Honor.
Rigby’s service to our country began when he joined the Marines in 1943. Trained as a wireman in communications to keep the field telephones working, he was assigned to the 22nd Infantry Regiment’s 3rd Battalion in the Headquarters Company, which served as an independent regiment in their first action.
The 22nd joined with another regiment to form the 1st Provincial Brigade, created to help liberate the people of Guam. Jim Ribgy, D.C.’s son, helps relay memories of those war experiences. He shares that before the war, Guam was a U.S. territory, making them U.S. citizens. Then, Guam was conquered by the Japanese in 1941. Jim states, “It is this battle that Dad is the most proud of because he was liberating U.S. citizens. He still goes to Guam Liberation Day celebrations in San Antonio and Killeen.”
With his father’s help, Jim elaborates. Following the liberation of Guam, the 22nd, 29th, 4th, and 15th Marine regiments assembled on Guadalcanal to form the 6th Marine Division. This division was assigned to the 10th Army, which was composed of three Army divisions and three Marine divisions. The 10th Army was assigned to capture the island of Okinawa. The 6th Marine Division actually took about 6/7ths of the island, earning them the title “The Heroes of Okinawa.” This was the last major battle before Japan surrendered, Jim relates.
After the war, D.C. worked for Central Power and Light until his retirement in 1984. Then, to have a place to retire, he purchased some land from his father-in-law, Henry Lee Brown of Devine. Christine Brown Rigby, Henry Lee’s daughter and D.C.’s wife (d 2003), grew up south of Big Foot and attended DHS her senior year. Jim shares, “Following my grandfather’s death, Mom inherited more of the ranch where Dad still lives.”
For many years, D.C. and Christine traveled over most of the United States, often going to 6th Marine Division reunions. Next year, the 6th Marine Division Reunion Association will celebrate its 50th reunion and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. Jim says, “Dad still likes to go to reunions and celebrations, but he is happiest staying on the ranch feeding the deer, or, as he calls them ‘his girls’.”