In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, Private First Class Clairus L. Riggs of Company B, First Battalion, One Hundred Sixteenth Infantry of the Twenty-Ninth Infantry Division was being transported across the English Channel aboard the troop transport S.S. Empire Javelin. He was from Coalport, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania.
At 0330 hours, the landing craft containing Boat Team One of Company B was heading toward Omaha Beach. Riggs carried a Browning Automatic Rifle which is a light machine gun that was deployed in a squad of men. At 0640 hours the ramp of the landing craft was lowered in the surf off of Dog Green Sector. As the six foot two inch soldier stepped on the ramp he was hit by enemy gunfire and fell into the water, dead.
PFC Riggs was originally buried in an American cemetery in Normandy but his body was one of many that were requested to be re-interred in the United States. On November 26, 1947, the U.S.S. Robert Burns arrived in New York harbor with its blessed cargo. Since Clairus was from Pennsylvania he was selected for a U.S. cemetery in this state.
On December 16, 1947, at about 2:00PM, PFC Riggs was buried in Plot 2, Site 308 at the Gettysburg National Cemetery. He is one of twelve D-Day KIAs buried there. He rests peacefully with all his comrades from the other wars America has fought.
Rest in peace Clairus L. Riggs.