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Gerst Buyer


Date and Place of Birth: February 21, 1919 Columbia, PA
Date and Place of Death:    May 25, 1944 Anzio, Italy
Baseball Experience: College
Position: First Base
Rank: First Lieutenant
Military Unit: 1st Battalion, 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division US Army
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

Gerst G. Buyer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ephraim G. Buyer, was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and played varsity baseball and basketball at John Harris High School and at Gettysburg College. A first baseman, Buyer, played under the watchful eye of baseball coach Ira Plank (brother of former major leaguer Eddie Plank) and along with teammate Harry O’Neill (who went on to play for the Philadelphia Athletics and was one of only two major league players to be killed in action during World War II), helped Gettysburg capture the 1938 Eastern Pennsylvania Intercollegiate baseball title.

As well as his athletic accomplishments, Buyer was an outstanding student. He was a member of the Gettysburgian staff (Gettysburg College newspaper), sports editor of the “G” book, and a member of the college debating squad for four years. Buyer was also part of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) and in May 1939, he was promoted from first sergeant to cadet major and battalion commander.

Buyer graduated from Gettysburg College in 1940 and entered Dickinson Law School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, continuing to play baseball with the Paxtang Indians at Harrisburg. In December 1941 he became engaged to Nadene R. Etter and was called into military service in February 1942.

Gerst Buyer received his training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Fort Benning, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He and Nadene were married while he was stationed with an armoured unit at Fort Knox. The Reverend William F. Hill performed the ceremony at the Federated Evangelical-United Brethren Church in Louisville, Kentucky on February 21, 1942

In December 1942, First Lieutenant Buyer went overseas with the 1st Battalion of the 13th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division. The 13th Armored first met German forces in Tunisia, and while the Allies ultimately defeated the Axis forces, who surrendered in Tunisia in May 1943, the 13th Armored suffered heavy losses during engagements at Sbeitla and Kasserine Pass.

After a period of rest, refitting, and training in North Africa, the 13th Armored landed at Salerno, Italy, in late 1943. The Regiment was sent to Anzio in May 1944 to take part in the Allied breakout of the beachhead beginning on May 23. During heavy fighting, the regiment suffered significant losses in tanks from both enemy mines and guns. First Lieutenant Buyer was killed in action on May 25, 1944.

Survived by his widow, Nadene, and an 18-month-old son, Gerst, Jr., whom he had never seen. Gerst Buyer is buried at Plot J, Row 1, Grave 1, Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.

Gettysburg Times – April 12, 1938
Gettysburg Times – February 3, 1939
Gettysburg Times – May 13, 1939
Gettysburg Times – December 27, 1941
Gettysburg Times – February 26, 1942
Gettysburg Times – June 16, 1944
The SCROLL of Phi Delta Theta – Vol. 69, No. 1, September 1944

Thanks to Astrid van Erp for help with this biography.

Date Added: May 2, 2013.Updated August 6, 2017

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