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