Private First Class Gene Gerald Guilyard (1924 – 1964)
WWII Silver Star Hero
Remembering – Private First Class Gene Gerald Guilyard by Joyce R. Lee
submitted by Ron Guilyard
Gene Guilyard was born April, 27, 1924, in Erton, Pennsylvania. A former resident of Sykesville, he moved to the Bennetts Valley area in 1940. In July of 1940, he joined the CCC at Brookville and was honorably discharged from the Corps in December of the same year, having fulfilled his term of service there.
On August 1, 1943, he was inducted into the armed forces. PFC Guilyard was an automatic rifleman attached to Co. K, 117th Infantry, and fought in the African, Italian and European campaigns, going from Africa to the Italian invasion, and up through southern France.
PFC Guilyard was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action near the Elbe River in Germany. On February 25, 1945, when his platoon was pinned down by unexpected machine gun fire, Pvt. Guilyard left his covered position and advanced on the machine gun, firing his automatic rifle.
When the machine gun opened fire on him, forcing him to take cover, he crawled to another position where his fire wounded one of the enemy and stopped the machine gun fire.
Pvt. Guilyard’s great heroism enabled his platoon to continue the attack and take the objective. He was awarded the Silver Star by Major General L.S. Hobbs, commanding the 30th Infantry Division.
On March 27, 1945, Pvt. Guilyard once again distinguished himself by remaining in an exposed position under heavy enemy fire with other members of a platoon of the 117th Infantry Regiment in order to close a gap between friendly units. For this heroic action, Pvt. Guilyard was awarded the Certificate of Merit in recognition of conspicuously meritorious and outstanding performance of military duty.
Pvt. Guilyard married Elouise Enty on May 20, 1944, in Ridgway, Pa. They would eventually become the parents of two sons, Gene and Ronald. He was discharged from the armed forces on September 10, 1945.
In later years, as president of the Local Labor Union, 836, Mr. Guilyard and other representatives of labor and management cooperated to complete the huge Kinzua Dam project ahead of schedule and with no labor disputes or fatalities.
An active civilian, Gene Guilyard was a member of the Bennetts Valley American Legion, the Penfield Volunteer Fire Department, the DuBois VFW, the Bennetts Valley Rod and Gun Club, and the Sykesville Sportsmen’s Club. He was also a committee member of the American Bowling Congress.
After a long illness, this American hero, one of the few Bennett’s Valley-DuBois Silver Star holders, passed away at the age of 40 on September 23, 1964. A member of St.Joseph’s Church in Force, Pa., he was laid to rest in the church cemetery with military services at graveside.
“Lest We Forget…”