Col. Fitzpatrick, a native Washingtonian, was drafted in 1944 to serve in World War II while studying at The Citadel, the military college in South Carolina. An infantryman, he fought in the Battle of Manila, which ended almost three years of Japanese occupation of the Philippines, and at Okinawa. He later served in Japan during the postwar U.S. occupation of that country.
He began his combat tour in the Korean Peninsula in September 1950 as part of the landing on the Inchon beachhead under forces led by Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. “Since then,” the New York Times reported in April 1953, “he has chased and been chased up and then down the Korean Peninsula.”
According to published accounts, a veteran with 40 rotation points can go home. When in April 1953 then-Capt. Fitzpatrick went to check out of the 7th infantry division’s rotation center, the clerk saw that the officer’s card showed 99 points. Capt. Fitzpatrick said he had 129 but that, as Time magazine reported, “the I.B.M. machine was preset for only two digits.”
Time and the Times said 129 was accurate and that Capt. Fitzpatrick accumulated the highest total of rotation points ever attained by any U.S. soldier in Korea.