Billie Jewel Colbert was born December 20, 1924, to Hubert and Beulah M. Colbert. He attended school at Powhatan prior to entering the Army in July 1943. In June of 1944, he died in battle in France. He was posthumously awarded both the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
His parents, and later his brother Jack, kept a scrapbook with the photographs, correspondence, commendations, and newspaper clippings collected through Billie's service, subsequent death, and ongoing communication from military and governmental agencies and offices.
Billie's brother, Jack M. Colbert, served during World War II in the Marine Corps, and his brother, Clifford R. Colbert, was a Navy veteran. His other siblings included sisters Gladys and Thelma.
This collection includes correspondence, citations, newspaper clippings, photographs, and school records. There are letters from Billie Jewel Colbert to his family, from his days in basic training until just prior to his death; correspondence from other soldiers in his unit following his death; letters from government and military officials; correspondence about death benefits, citations, transportation of his remains, and other official matters; insurance documents. The documentation of his awards are included, however both the Purple Heart and Silver Star medals are held by Arkansas State Parks.
The materials in this collection document Private Colbert's experience through training, his service in England and in France, and the official processes that follow the death of a soldier in combat.
· Citations (Box 1)
o Memorial to Billie J. Colbert by President Franklin D. Roosevelt
o 1944: Purple Heart Citation
o 1945: Silver Star Citation
o Memorial to Billie J. Colbert by President John F. Kennedy
o Memorial to Hubert H. Colbert by President Jimmy Carter
· Correspondence (Box 2)
§ Undated: letter from Billie Colbert to his father
§ 1941 June 11: postcard to Billie Colbert from brother Jack Colbert
§ 1943 September 5: letter from Billie Colbert to his parents
§ 1943 September 12: letter from Glenn to Hubert Colbert
§ 1943 October 5: letter from Billie to his father
§ 1943 October 31: letter from Billie to his parents
§ 1943 December 29: change of address notification from Billie to his parents
§ 1944 January 15: letter from Billie to his parents
§ 1944 January 30: v-mail from Billie to his parents
§ 1944 February 1: v-mail from Billie to his mother
§ 1944 February 8: v-mail from Billie to his mother
§ 1944 February 27: v-mail from Billie to his father
§ 1944 February 28: v-mail from Billie to his mother
§ 1944 May 25: letter from Billie Jewel to his mother
§ 1944 May 28: letter from Billie to his father
§ 1944 June 17: letter from Billie to his mother
§ 1944 June 17: letter from Billie to his father
§ 1944 July 9: letter from Hubert Colbert to Billie
§ 1944 July 15: letter from Margaret Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 July 24: letter from Sergeant Jack Colbert to his mother
§ 1944 July 26: letter from Major General J.A. Ulio to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 August 19: postcard from Private Joseph Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 August 19: letter from Margaret Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 November 20: letter from Margaret Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1945 January 2: letter from Margaret Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1945 May 2: v-mail from Private Joseph Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1945 May 22: letter from Private Joseph Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1945 July 1: letter from Private Joseph Soviero to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 July 23: Western Union telegram from Adjutant General Ulio to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 July 31: letter from Major Theodore M. Gribble, Army Service Forces, to Beulah M. Colbert
§ 1944 August 7: VA letter regarding death pension to Hubert and Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 September 1: letter from Arkansas Governor Homer M. Adkins to Beulah M. Colbert
§ 1944 October 7: letter from Colonel G.C. Graham, Camp Joseph T. Robinson, to Beulah Colbert
§ 1944 November 11: letter from A.L. Smith, Army Effects Bureau, to Hubert Colbert
§ 1945 January 19: letter from Brigadier General Robert H. Dunlop announcing the posthumous award of the Silver Star to Billie Jewel Colbert
§ 1945 February 2: letter from 175th Infantry Regiment Chaplain Charles F. Schilling to Beulah Colbert
§ 1945 April 4: Notice of Settlement of Claim for pay due Private Billie Jewel Colbert
§ 1945 September 25: letter from Major General Edward F. Witsell to Hubert Colbert
§ 1946 October 9: letter from Captain Thomas F. Lewin, Office of the Quartermaster General, to Hubert Colbert
§ 1946 October 29: letter from Captain Thomas F. Lewin, Office of the Quartermaster General, to Hubert Colbert
§ 1948 March 29: Western Union telegram notification of pending shipment of Billie Jewel Colbert's remains to Arkansas
§ 1948 April 20: Letter from New York Mayor William O'Dwyer to Hubert Colbert
§ 1948 May 5: Western Union telegram notification of shipment of Billie Jewel Colbert's remains to Arkansas
· Informational items
o 1944 May 18: information about the Purple Heart provided by Major General J.A. Ulio
o 1944 August 28: information from Office of Special Settlement Accounts to Beulah M. Colbert regarding Death Gratuity Pay
o 1947 November 24: order and confirmation of order for 29th Infantry Division History book
o Notice No. 1: Six Months Gratuity Pay
o Notice No. 2: Claim for Amounts Due Deceased Personnel of the Armed Forces of the U.S.
o Information packet for dependents of deceased military personnel
o 1944 August 16: VA notice to file insurance claim to Beulah Mildred Colbert
o 1944 October 20: General Accounting Office notification of receipt of insurance claim
o 1947 October 6: VA Life Insurance award letter to Beulah Mildred Colbert
· Newspaper clippings
o 1945 June 21: Times Dispatch, Walnut Ridge, "Buddy Tells How Pvt. Colbert Met Death"
o "Powhatan Soldier Killed In France; Awarded Medal, Is Also Commended"
o "Last Rites for Billy J. Cobert"
o "Silver Star To Heroic Soldier"
o 1941 April 24: Billie Jewel Colbert's eighth grade report cards from the Powhatan School
o 1943: Authorization of Class B Allotment for Purchase of War Savings Bonds
o 1943 November 11: Application for Ration Currency for a one week home visit for Billie Jewel Colbert
o 1948 May 9: invoice from Gregg Funeral Home for services and flowers
o 1948 May 12: receipt from Gregg Funeral Home for payment for services for Billie Jewel Colbert
o 1948 May 12: request for reimbursement of interment expenses
o Parcel wrapper from package sent by Hubert Colbert to Billie Jewel Colbert, returned to sender, marked "Deceased"
o Cancelled six cent air mail stamp, detached from envelope
o Cancelled three cent postage stamp, detached from envelope