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Devitt, William

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Bill Devitt was born 25 May 1923 in St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota. He attended local schools, and graduated from St. Thomas Military Academy (now St. Thomas Academy) in 1941. Bill was a student at the University of Minnesota when he was inducted into the US Army in early 1943. Because he had attended St. Thomas, he received an officer's commission. Bill instructed recruits in Basic Training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, and attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, when he suffered a knee injury and spent seven months in rehabilitation. Healthy by mid-1944, Bill passed through Fort McClellan, Alabama, before being shipped out to Europe in August 1944. He was assigned to E Co, 330th Regiment, 83rd Infantry Division, and saw action in Brittany (Aug - Sep 1944), Luxembourg (Sep - Nov 1944), the Hurtgen Forest (Dec 1944), and Belgium (Jan 1945). On 3 January 1945 Bill was badly wounded while on front line duty, and evacuated. He spent January to April 1945 in hospitals in Belgium and England, and was in Germany enroute back to his unit when in May 1945 the war in Europe ended. Bill returned to the US, and was discharged in March 1946 with the rank of captain. Bill also served during the Korean Conflict. Again a civilian, Bill returned to St. Paul, got married, and together with his wife Mary raised a family of eight children. Bill graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School (class of 1955), and worked locally as a lawyer; he retired from the Cenex firm in 1988. In retirement the Devitts moved to Edina, Minnesota, where Bill wrote an account of his time in the service, Shavetail: The Odyssey of an Infantry Lieutenant in World War II (North Star Press of St. Cloud, 2001).


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Bill Devitt - Transcript.pdf (583 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Bill Devitt