“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.
Today, as we honor our heroic war dead, I would like to tell you about a local HERO, T/4 Gilbert S. Tabor, Jr, the only child of Dr Gilbert S and Grace Bell Tabor. Gilbert was born April 15, 1923 and lived with his parents in their home on Main Street, now the offices of Duxbury & Hermans Insurance Agency. Dr Tabor, a long time Millerton Physician, maintained his office on the 1st floor of the home.
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Gilbert Jr attended Millerton Union Free School, transferring to Avon Old Farms Prep School where upon graduation in 1941, enrolled in Trinity College, Hartford, Ct as a pre-med student. He enlisted in the US Army Reserves on Sept 2, 1942 and received a 1 year deferment. He was called to active duty on June 2, 1943. He proceeded to Fort McCellan, Alabama for infantry basic training. While in training, he received an invitation for membership from the Millerton American Legion Post. His father, Dr Tabor, a WW I Veteran, was a founding and charter member of the Post.
In a letter dated 25 July 1943 to William J. Bradley, the then Post Commander, Gilbert stated, “Thank you and the members of Post 178 for you kindness in sending to me the American Legion Introduction Card. I feel very honored, and will do my best to complete my job with the spirit, courage, and determination which was typical of your work in 1917”. (Please remember this promise as I relate the rest of the story)
Gilbert, when basic training was complete in September of 1943, was sent to the University of Maryland College of Engineering as part of the AST Program. This program was disbanded in December of 1943 and he was reassigned to Co”I”, 309th Infantry Regiment, 78th Infantry “Lightning” Division for further training as an Automatic Rifleman (BAR). Due to his pre-med schooling, he was reassigned as a Combat Medic, trained at Camp Pickett, VA and assigned to the medical detachment of his infantry company. Arriving in Europe with the Division in October 1944, his unit served in the Battle of the Bulge. In a push to secure the Schuammenauel Dam to prevent the Germans from blowing it and flooding the Ruhr Valley, Co “I” was assigned to take the town of Kommerscheidt. It was during this action that, now a Tech Sgt, Gilbert S. Tabor, Jr was awarded the Silver Star, the 3rd highest award for “gallantry in action”. The citation reads;
“For gallantry in action on 6 Feb 1945 in the vicinity of Kommerscheidt, Germany. When five casualties were incurred by cross fire from enemy machine guns located in a pillbox and a dugout, Tech forth grade Tabor volunteered to attempt to reach them. He ran and crawled over 75 yards of open terrain and administered first aid to the casualties. As he began to evacuate the first casualty, the man was wounded a second time. T/4 Tabor stopped, and while treating the casualty’s second wound, was wounded himself. His gallant action was instrumental in saving the lives of three of the men and is in accordance with the highest military traditions”.
I now ask you to return to Tabors letter to the Post and point out, he more than lived up to his promise to “do my best to complete my job with the spirit, courage and determination that was typical of your work in 1917”.
T/4 Gilbert Stevens Tabor, Jr. died of his wounds in a hospital in England on 24 April, 1945 at age 22 years and 9 days.
On 22 July 1948, his remains were returned to Dover Plains, NY. Arriving by train, he was met by a contingent of 25 uniformed Legionnaires from Dover and Millerton. The honor, guard, under the command of former Army Major Robert G. Lind, escorted the hearse “to the muffled sound of drums,” to Valley View Cemetery where he was interred in the family plot with full military honors.
A tribute to this HOME TOWN HERO has been placed in the Post Home. All are welcome to view it.
“POOR IS THE NATION THAT HAS NO HEROES
SHAMEFUL IS THE NATION THAT HAS THEM AND FORGETS”