Theodore E. Corprew

NORFOLK, VIRGINIA

First Lt. Theodore Elias Corprew was the 320th’s medical officer. In 1936, he graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, where black doctors were not allowed to treat white patients. He completed his Army training in 1943, the only African American in an all-white class. Officer training was a rare mixed-race preserve in the U.S. Army. After the war, Corprew moved to Washington, D.C., where he spent a long career as an obstetrician. He and his wife, Daisy, had one child, Barbara. Corprew died in 1991 at age 86.

First Lt. Theodore Corprew
Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Corprew

First Lt. Theodore Corprew poses with other officers in February 1943 at the Army's Medical Field Service School at Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania.
Photo: Courtesy of Barbara Corprew

Barbara Corprew is pictured in 2011 with Dr. Alvin Robinson, a longtime friend of her father, Theodore Corprew. After the war, Corprew shared few details of his service. "Most of those guys who were in the service, they didn't want to talk about it,” Robinson said.
Photo: Linda Hervieux

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Theophile F. Lavizzo

Theophile Lavizzo  Photo: Courtesy of Ted Lavizzo

Theophile Lavizzo
Photo: Courtesy of Ted Lavizzo

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA

First Lt. Theophile Ferdinand Lavizzo, one of the few black officers in the 320th,  landed with his men on Utah Beach on D-Day. He remained on the beach, exposed under heavy fire, directing men from under his command as they landed throughout the day. For his courage and leadership, his superior nominated him for the Bronze Star. He never received the medal, the third-highest, and never learned why. Lavizzo said after the war that the 320th was headed to a land invasion at Okinawa, a mission obviated after the United States dropped twin atomic bombs in August 1945, and Japan surrendered. Lavizzo attended the University of Chicago, where he obtained a BA and and an MA. He settled in Chicago and worked as a trailblazing social worker, often the first African American on staff. He and his wife, Eulalia, had one son, Theodore. Lavizzo died in 1986 at age 73.

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​George Robert Hamilton

SPINDALE, North Carolina

Before he was drafted into the Army in 1942, George Hamilton was making furniture in High Point, N.C. He had left his family's small far to find work in closest city. It was his time in the Army, however, that taught him life lessons. He earned how to use the machine guns mounted on the trucks that the 320th Battalion took with them to Normandy. But more importantly, "we learned how to handle ourselves," he said. "I was a good soldier."

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   George Hamilton holds his wartime portrait.      Photo: Linda Hervieux

George Hamilton holds his wartime portrait.  
Photo: Linda Hervieux

George Hamilton    Photo: Courtesy of George Hamilton      

George Hamilton
Photo: Courtesy of George Hamilton

 

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