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Acknowledgements & Thanks

Site Dedication: Lieutenant Colonel John P. Souther

This web site is dedicated to Lt. Colonel John P. Souther, US Army (Retired). Lt. Colonel Souther graduated from the University of Georgia and received his commission with the Army in August of 1940. He fought overseas for 37 months in N. Africa and Italy with the 1st Armored Division in the 81st Reconnaissance Battalion. His job was to advance ahead of the protection of his tanks until he discovered the location of the enemy, which typically meant advancing until being fired upon. Then First Lieutenant Souther won a Silver Star when his armored vehicle was disabled by enemy fire while exiting a wadi in Tunisia in 1943. After evacuating his men on foot, he stayed on the radio under direct enemy fire to call in artillery strikes on what turned out to be a collection point for the enemy massing for an assault. His bravery thwarted the attack and resulted in as many as 500 enemy casualties.

Lt. Colonel Souther was in his 80s when interviewed for this project. Despite his age and relative fragility, his strength of character and natural leadership skills came through clearly. He adopted this project as his own, cajoling reluctant vets throughout the North Georgia mountains to attend interview days he personally coordinated. Further, Lt. Colonel Souther arranged for us to perform interviews at the Milwaukee reunion of the First Armored Division where we had the unique opportunity to get multiple perspectives on the same events. Lt. Colonel Souther was personally responsible for over 25% of the interviews performed by this project.

Lt. Colonel Souther died at the age of 91 on August 18, 2006, less than three months before this site was launched. The name on the dog tags in the Witness to War logo bear his name in honor of his service to this project, and more importantly, to honor his service to this nation.

Lt. Colonel Souther and his wife of 65 years, Virginia, are survived by their two children and a grandson.


The project had a great deal of support from many parties, a few of whom are listed here.

The Atlanta World War Two Roundtable helped launch the project. Its members make up over half of the interviews. Korean War veteran John Davis and WWII veterans Bill Owens and Carl Beck were early advocates that helped get the project off the ground.

The Atlanta History Center provided moral and logistical support for the project. They provided a location for many of the interviews and as a Library of Congress Archive site, will be the eventual home for the interview tapes. Special thanks go to Frances Westbrook and Gordon Jones.

Thank you to the First Armored Division and the Sixth Naval Beach Battalion for allowing us to attend reunions and conduct interviews.

Many, many people provided moral support, advice, introductions, and guidance throughout the project and it is much appreciated. Thank you to Howard Lalli of Edleman Atlanta for his advice. Thank you to Bill Beazley and many other vets for sharing their outstanding photos with us, many of which have never been published.

The founder would especially like to thank his mother for encouraging a love and appreciation of history in her son.

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