Shirley John Huggins

1921 - 1987

Vietnam WarWWII

Their Story

Shirley John “Shad” Huggins was born in Delhi, Delaware County, Iowa, on April 8, 1921, to George Washington Huggins and Lula Mae (Shirley) Huggins. (Some sources say Shirley was born in Hopkinton, Iowa. The two towns are 8 miles apart. Some sources provide the spelling of his mother’s first name as Lulu.) His father was a laborer for a meat packer.1 Shirley had five siblings. One of his sisters, Doris Audella, died at the age of 2½ from burns received after falling into a tub of boiling water in December 1927.2,3 In 1930, the family was residing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.4

During the 1940 Census in Cedar Rapids, Lula Mae was listed as head of the household and Thomas Stoneking was a boarder who was a truck driver.5 Shirley was 19 years of age and listed as a new worker but it didn’t say where he was employed. Nothing in the records indicates what happened to Shirley’s father but he did not die until 1966. Thomas Carl “Stoney” Stoneking and Lula Mae Huggins did marry in 1950 in Cedar Rapids. He had three children.6

In 1942, Shirley was working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a track extra gang laborer.7 Extra gang laborers maintain and repair railway tracks. His draft registration, dated February 16, 1942, lists his employer as Burdick Transfer.8

Shirley and Mildred E. McLaud of Rock Island got a marriage license in February 1946,9 one month after her divorce from Delbert McLaud for habitual drunkenness.10 It is unclear if she and Shirley were ever married. His obituary does not list a wife or children.

Shirley entered active military service with the U.S. Army on November 25, 1942, at Camp Dodge, Iowa.11 He departed for foreign service July 25, 1943. He served with Co. C, 60th Signal Battalion during WWII. The 60th Signal Battalion was constituted in 1933 and originally activated in 1941 at Fort Lewis, Washington. During World War II, the battalion served in the Philippines, where it earned a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation before being inactivated there in 1946. Eight of its members are buried in the Philippines American Cemetery.12 Shirley was discharged from the Army at Camp Grant in December 1945.13 Camp Grant served as a separation center for returning GIs.14

He re-enlisted in the Army July 26, 1948.15 In November 1950, Shirley applied for WWII Service Compensation through the State of Iowa, his second application. At the time of the application, Shirley was serving at Sugamo Prison, Tokyo, Japan, with Headquarters Detachment. At that time, he was a corporal and had 36 month’s active domestic service and 28 months active foreign service. He was due $430.

American bombers spared Sugamo Prison during the war, and after Japan surrendered in August 1945, the Eighth Army took possession of Sugamo to house suspected war criminals.16 More than 4,000 prisoners and about 2,200 American guards passed through the prison during the occupation, which lasted until 1952, when the Japanese assumed control of it. Many of the prisoners were classified as Class A criminals, on trial for some of the worst atrocities of the war, like the Bataan Death March and the Rape of Nanking. Some of these prisoners were executed in 1948.

Shirley was discharged June 30, 1966. He had been employed by the U.S. Army for 28 years.

In 1976, one of his sisters, Bertha, two years younger than Shirley, hung herself at her home at the age of 53.17 She left behind a husband, a daughter, and three grandchildren. Shirley moved to Arizona from Arkansas around 1982.18 He died at the age of 66 at Sandretto Hills Care Center in Prescott, Arizona, on September 10, 1987. He had been a member of Disabled American Veterans.19


1 – 1930 United States Federal Census

2 Obituary for Doris Hug-gins (Aged 2) –

3 – Iowa, U.S., Death Records, 1880-1904, 1921-1952

4 – 1930 United States Federal Census

5 – 1940 United States Federal Census

6 The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) · 17 Nov 1975, Mon · Page 3 Downloaded on Jun 30, 2022 Obituary of Lulu Mae Stoneking

7 U.S., Chicago and North Western Railroad Employment Records, 1935-1970 –

8 U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 –

9 05 Feb 1946, 19 – The Daily Times at Marriage License

10 Mildred’s divorce

11 – Iowa, U.S., World War II Bonus Case Files, 1947-1954

12 DVIDS – News – Ceremony activates one-of-a-kind battalion to support cyberspace operations (

13 04 Dec 1945, 11 – The Rock Island Argus at Discharge from Camp Grant

14 Camp Grant (Illinois) – Wikipedia

15 U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 –

16 Occupied By the U.S., And by Art; Mementos From Postwar Prison Depict Turning Point for Japan – The New York Times (

17 03 Oct 1976, 3 – The Gazette at Death of Sister, Bertha

18 Shirley John Huggins (1921-1987) – Find a Grave Memorial

19 Shirley J Huggins in Social Security Death Index – Fold3