Walter M. Pimentel (1945/07/10)
An "Appleknocker" from Santa Cruz proved to be a first class sergeant.
Walter M. Pimentel was born on June 14, 1920, in Santa Cruz, California, to Marion and Theresa Pimental. He and his brother William were educated locally and attended Branciforte Junior High School. Walter enrolled in Santa Cruz High School in September 1936, where he received a general and varied course of instruction with emphasis on farming. He was a member of the exiting class of 1939 but left school after two years. Before the war he worked as a ranch hand in the Los Angeles area.
Walter Pimentel was inducted into the US Army on October 11, 1942, at Los Angeles. After receiving basic training in Hawaii, he was assigned to the 105th Infantry Regiment of the 27th, "Appleknocker," Infantry Division. His promotions came quickly and within three months he had earned his sergeant stripes and after an additional six months, his staff sergeant chevrons. He served as an infantry squad leader and platoon sergeant during the campaigns of the Gilbert and Mariana Islands.
The division set sail from Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides and arrived at Okinawa on April 9, 1945. During April, it participated in the invasion of the island and secured a dominating ridgeline south of Machinato and Kakazu. On April 28, after a severe struggle, the Machinato Airfield was captured. During this struggle, Staff Sergeant Walter M. Pimentel received shrapnel wounds to his left chest from which he died on July 10, 1945.
Pimentel was initially buried on Okinawa but was reinterred in the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery in 1949. His awards included the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.
(ABMC; NARA2; SCHSC Pg. 16, SCSn July 25, 1945 1:6; 27th Inf Div http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/cc/027id.htm [16 Sept 2008])