John Robert Lariviere

Gunner in the 94th

The noise and the rumbling of the ground sent us to our knees. We prayed together, out loud, asking God to protect us. We had no other recourse. We could not leave the pit and the shells seemed to be getting closer and closer.

Cpl. John Robert LaRiviere, U.S. Army

John Robert LaRiviere, a mortar gunner in the U.S. Army, helped bottle up enemy forces guarding German submarine pens at Normandy; spent the frigid winter of 1945 in a miserable foxhole during the Battle of the Bulge; and dodged heavy shell fire as Allies attacked the Siegfried Line, a daunting maze of barbed wire and anti-tank ditches along the western border of Germany.

John Robert Lariviere

LaRiviere’s souvenir booklet from 1945 tells the story of the U.S. Army’s 94th Division, “Patton’s Golden Nugget.” The division fought for 281 consecutive days in the European theater. LaRiviere Family Collection

John Robert Lariviere

Company H, 301st regiment, 94th Division in front of St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, September 1945. LaRiviere Family Collection

Below: LaRiviere Family Collection

John Robert Lariviere

Conditions were brutal for LaRiviere, who lost close friends during the war. His unit is credited with 281 days of continuous fighting—many spent in frozen clothing and soggy boots. “Haven’t been able to write for a while, but am still fine and dandy … This is a sloppy looking letter but all my paper is wet and almost ruined. Only lately could we tell where we are now. Was debating whether to tell you or not—after what you said about worrying. Your guess was right Mom—but we are in Germany now—with Patton’s 3rd Army.” – John Robert LaRiviere,
February 13, 1945,
letter home.