AGE20 yo
DATE OF BIRTH10 Mars 1924

Parents: Gideon R & Geneva E VARDAMAN
Sister: MaryEmaline

DATE of ENLISTEMENT22 Février 1943 à Little Rock ARKANSAS
COMPANYHeadquarters & Service company
Company A
BATTALION300th Engineer Combat Battalion
ARMY1st Army
PLACE OF DEATHAboard the LST 523

Map of Normandy American Cemetery

Wall of Missing

MISSION du 300th

300 fonctionnement
Building bridges and roads
Pose & minefield fields
Building & removing obstacles
water supply
Headquarters and service
Other tasks Engineer Combat

The 300th Engineer Combat Battalion is activated on March 01, 1943

October 02, 1943 arrival at White Oregon Camps

300 th camp white

The 300th leaves the United States in the early days of December on the Queen Mary. departure from the port of New York.

The 300th arrives on December 09, 1943 in Gourock SCOTLAND

On June 04, 1944 the 300th ships first ships.

Ready for the day D

June 06, 1944 the 300th engineer combat battalion is assigned to the 1st Army

On June 16, 1944 the LST 87 lands the first rung of the 300th at Utah Beach

On June 19, 1944 the LST 523 was to disembark the second rung of the 300th

On June 27, 1944 the LST 59 lands the third rung on Utah Beach


Purple Heart

World War II Victory Medal 

Photo FDLM

victory medal

1army  corps engineers  300 eng comb batt 300 eng comb batt1


Pvt. Austin Darrow Vardaman was killed in the sinking of LST 523.

One of his friends Sgt. Dale Williams, from a nearby town, trained with him at Camp White. What follows are letters from the mother of Pvt. Vardaman to the family of Sgt. Williams in 1945.

These letters were kept by Dale Williams and his family and provided by his son Keenan Williams for publication on the web site.


Madison, Ark.

Jan. 11, 1945

To the family of Dale Williams, Hope, Ark.

Dear folks:

I am sure you will be surprised to hear from me but I am the mother of private Austen D. Vardaman. Dale went back to Camp White with my son when they were home on furlough a year ago in July.

I received a message that my son was missing in action and then in three months saying he was killed and then the other day got one saying his ship sank in enroute from England to France. On the Yank Magazine on August 6 my son's picture was on the front page feeding a crew and I was under the impression that he was already in France so I wrote to several of the boys in his comp and was informed they couldn't tell me anything but I do know some of the boys write about their buddies being killed or wounded. I thought maybe you could write to Dale and he might tell you something definite and you could let me know. If you can give me any information I certainly will appreciate it and anything I can do for you I will be glad to.

I went to Camp White a year ago in November just before my son was shipped out. He said he couldn't tell me what division or Army he was with. That said I guess they do that at the P.O.E. I wish everything good for Dale.

Your friend Mrs. G. K. Vardaman

My husband was buried October 1 and on October 4 I received word my son was killed.

Madison, Ark.

Jan. 19, 1945

Dear Mrs. Williams:

Many thanks for answering my letter so promptly. As you know I am so worried I hardly know what to do.

It has been seven months today since my son was missing or killed or whatever happened to him. He was my baby and did he hate it because MaryEmaline was older. He always called her little sister because she was so little and he was so big.

My husband was buried October 1 and he was so worried because we couldn't hear from Darrow as we called him instead of Austin. Then October 4 we received word that he had been killed and it has just about killed me.

When Darrow left he said, "Mother, there are a lot of us going and a lot not coming back, a lot of them say they are but don't you worry a bit for I will be coming back." He was always of such a happy disposition and always was joking. I had a letter from one of the boys in Darrow's crowd and he said he had a Jap flag and was sending it to his daddy. This boy was wounded in November. He said he caught a piece of steel in his ear because he just didn't duck quickly enough.

I was so sorry Darrow didn't stay in H&S for he said he liked the boys in that company better.

MaryEmaline and I went to Oregon in November just a few days before he was shipped out. We met several of the wives of the boys. I just hope that I can hear something good about him but I'm afraid not.

Wish I could hear from Darrow. We have a farm that was to be his and I don't know what we will do. MaryEmaline and I are living at the home place it is just 80 acres on a hill. The other place is really a farm of 1260 acres. That is where Darrow was home and his daddy had a place of 1100 acres and they had another place 1115 acres they farmed that they had rented. When Darrow left my husband gave up the place they farmed and then this year MaryEmaline and I gave up the other place we had rented so we have the place that was bought for Darrow and have to give it yet. We had meant to leave it all over to Darrow as my husband's health was so bad in fact when Darrow left for the Army we didn't think his daddy would ever be out of bed.

I'm sure he told your husband about his five boys. He really had a nice bunch. You should see all the ribbons he won with them taking them to the fair. He even took them to the Mid-South Fair and to Little Rock. He had stationery made with the picture of his cattle and hogs on it. Guess I had better stop as I have raved enough and you may not be interested in all this.

If there is ever anything I can do for you please let me know. If anything should happen that Darrow doesn't come back and your husband does you all come to see us. We will be so glad to have you.

Your Friend Mrs. Vardaman

Madison, Ark.

Mar. 22. 1945

Dear Mrs. Williams:

Thanks a million for what you have done for me. It may seem I don't appreciate it as I am so long writing but I do.

This month is a bad month for me. The 10th was Darrow's birthday and I thought if I went to see my sister in Pine Bluff maybe I wouldn't think of it so much but of all places to go was there because he was born there and as we went uptown passed right by the hospital where he was born and for dinner she had chocolate pie which was Darrow's favorite. I also have a nephew there who has the same birthday and his wife was having a party for him. His nephew is here today and goes for his physical tomorrow. Two years ago on Darrow's birthday he landed at Camp White. One of the boys Darrow ran around with is back in San Francisco. I had a card from him. He was wounded in Leyte but had been back in combat. They sent him back on account of his asthma. Darrow will be the only one in that bunch that won't come back. Anyway, I sure did enjoy Darrow he had such a good disposition and all was smiling and joking he was so very thoughtful to me.

I don't mean to write a blue letter but sometimes I just don't see how I can stand it. I get so homesick for Darrow. He'd never was one to stay away from home. I am enclosing some of Darrow's letterheads and they are pictures of his cattle and hogs. He took the pictures and his daddy gave him the stationery for Christmas. In Darrow's billfold I got back was a picture of him and someone else. I wondered if it could have been your husband. It was a good picture of Darrow. I must stop and get busy. We are having a Sunday school party here tomorrow night. I really don't care about anything anymore but I have to go on for my daughter. We got the message about Darrow being buried at sea and it just about killed me too. I know that the devil is staying awake nights wondering what to do with Hitler. Darrow spoke a lot about Ed and Buck. Do you know them? I met their wives when we went to Camp White.

I hope this war will soon end and not bring sorrow to anyone anymore. Hope to meet you and your husband some time and chat. He will soon be home with you soon safe and sound. Thanks again for what you have done for me.

Your friend, Mrs. Vardamare

PROGRAMMERGarrett, Clive, Frédéric & Renaud
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