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Staff Sergeant Paul L. McCarthy
Paul Lawrernce McCarthy

By Krista Finstad Hanson

For the Times

Prior to U.S. entry in World War II, the 5th Division of the U.S. Army was reactivated on October 16, 1939 at Fort McClellan, Alabama. In 1940 they trained at Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Benjamin Harrison, Fort Custer, Michigan; Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas; and returned to Fort Custer in October of 1940. The division departed from New York in April of 1942 to Iceland. They were stationed there to replace the British. In August of 1943 the 5th Division trained in England, were stationed at Tidworth Barracks in England, and later moved to Northern Ireland.

The 5th Division landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on July 9, 1944. They fought in France at Caumont-L’Evente, Vidouville, Saint Lo, Angers, Chartres, Fontainebleau, Reims, Verdun, Metz, Dornot, and Arnaville up to November. They crossed into Germany in December along the Saar River.

In December, they joined the fighting in the Ardennes Forest that became called the Battle of the Bulge. They crossed the Siegfried Line in February of 1945. They crossed the Rhine River in March onto Frankfurt-am-Main. In April, they were fighting in the Ruhr Pocket. They reached the border at Czechoslovakia by May 8, 1945 for Victory in Europe.

Staff Sergeant Paul L. McCarthy served with Company A of the 5th Medical Battalion of the 5th Division of the U.S. Army.

Paul L. McCarthy was born on June 30, 1918 in Benton, Lafayette County, Wisconsin to Thomas and Pearl (Sullivan) McCarthy.

From the 1920 U.S. Census, the McCarthy family lived in Benton Village, Lafayette County. The household included father Thomas, mother Pearl, and children Jennie, Vesta, Wayne, and Paul (1 year 6 months) and mother-in-law Anna Sullivan. They owned their home. Father Thomas was a retail salesman at a soft drinks parlor working on his own account.

From the 1930 U.S. Census, the family was living in Berwyn Township in Cook County, Illinois. The household included Thomas, Pearl, Vesta, Wayne, and Paul. Father Thomas was an attendant in an oil station. 

From the 1940 U.S. Census, the family lived at the Northern Hospital and Dispensary Apartments at the Convent of Our Lade of the Cenacle in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The household included Father Thomas, mother Pearl, Paul, and “Besta.” They were all labeled as “maintenance man’s wife, son, or daughter” on the census record. Father Thomas was the maintenance man for the rooming house where they were living, Paul was a shipping clerk at a printing house and “Besta” was an inspector for an apartment manager.

On Oct. 30, 1940 Paul L. McCarthy enlisted for service in WWII in Chicago. He was single, without dependents. He was born in Wisconsin in 1918 and had 3 years of high school. He enlisted as a Private in the Medical Department of the Regular Army.

From the April 18, 1949 Wisconsin State Journal, there was a death notice for Paul L. McCarthy. The notice from Benton stated “The body of Staff Sgt. Paul L. McCarthy will arrive in Benton Tuesday for reburial services.

He was killed Feb. 16, 1945, near Luxembourg.

He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. T. J. McCarthy, Chicago, former Benton residents.

Funeral services will be held Thursday morning in St. Patrick’s church in Benton.”

Staff Sergeant Paul L. McCarthy was listed on Gold Star Honor List for Cook County, Illinois. He was Killed in Action (KIA).

Staff Sergeant Paul L. McCarthy was reburied at Saint Patrick’s Cemetery in Benton, Lafayette County.

Thank you, Staff Sergeant Paul L. McCarthy, for your service to and ultimate sacrifice for this country. We honor you and remember you.

Stories Behind The Stars

A series that honors more than 421,000 Americans that lost their lives in World War II. 

Fallen soldiers from Lafayette County are currently being highlighted in the Monroe Times. For Green County, see the archives at

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