COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF SCHOOL

LIBRARY

This Book was Presented by:

Ma?.i?.A..J.

^

A y n B n ,

APO 227, c/o Postmaster
New York, Hew York

Class Symbol Accession

Johnson, Emil P. Robinson, L. D. Hall, Robert E. Hesseling, E. F. Manuel, Dow L. Puto, Walter M. Bohlim, Sam Kenyon, Hirum C. Lewis, William J. Murphy, William F. Quinn, Benjamin T. Stortz, Edwin B. Dolentz, William F. Gray, Clarence R. Lewis, John A. Morgan, William Prentice, James N. Barnett, Bill M. Beck, Stephen D. Hoobler, Glen E. Luoma, Arvid J. McLennon, J. B. Peterson, Isaac 0. Buran, Henry Carter, Mack A. Carver, Harold R. Dale, Ralph E. Ely, Garland V. Feddock, Edward P. Halderman, Byron Koonce, Hollis Lewis, Everett L. Miecnikowski, J. C. Noe, Robert W. Peterpaul, Merril J. Shaffer, Cloyd E. Shook, Hayes Strommen, V. H.

Stull, Kenneth M. Turpin, Alderic J. Warnock, R. R. Weaver, Ralph Z. Hafner, Michael J. Hummel, John, Jr. Jones, Ralph J. Wall, Charles J. Andrade, Tony J. Barling, Burton E. Bradford, R. E. Brooks, Ralph J. Butlerworth, F. F. Childers, Fred A. Cummings, D. E. Cunningham, 0. ^ . Dean, Marlon S. Deck, Donald E. DeLozier, Max A. Deppe, Edwin L. Evans, James A. Fariss, Richard W. Fennel, Ervin \\ . Frederick, R. E. French, D. E. Gaiser, James F. Glaser, Arnold R. Godfrey, Robert G. Hafer, Alfred H. Halan, Walter Hellman, V. J. Howard, Oliver J. Johnson, John F. Kallio, David 0. Karl, Lawrence V. Kuehn, Melvin 0. Lambert, F. A. Larson, Clarence 0.

Larson, L. W. Layton, G. G. Lindberg, M. D. Locke, Bernard Matsago, J. C. McDevitt, John P. Mellstrom, W. C. Morton, Ennis M. Mounts, George A. Ohotnicky, M. F. Pate, Roy Pisall, Irving F. Pyette, Peter D. Randall, R. H. Reichow, H, H. Rhodes, Frank A. Romano, Frank D. Shannon, Harold Smith, Garland H. Starr, Joseph V. Stauffenecker, F. A. Terpenning, G. L. Thomas, C. E. Tomovsik, S. B. Uhrhan. \ . \. \ anderberg, R. J. Campbell, J. S. Canary, Osten Carey, Paul R. Cates, Kermit J. Calron. Sherman R. Cody, Edwin A. E. Couture, Arthur R. Fitzgerald, W. J. Garlinghouse, L. D. Knoll, Harold ^ . Kostak, George p{.

Morris, Delta G. Olson, Rudolph E. Painter, Wilfred E. Pfeif, Howard H. Phillips, Robert C. Rector, Cecil Rivera, Enrique A. Sacilowski, M. E. Tilton, Robert F. Wagers, William H. White, Raymond V. Wiley, Charles W. Dart, Marcus S. Fincher, William A. Murray, Angus A. Giovanisci, R. S. Braun, Peter W. Percy, Chester L. Boyd, Bob B. Caron, Melvin E. P. Cobb, Melvin T. Elbert, Fay A. liulsey, Arnel L. Laychak, John S. Marshall, Merton S. Murschel, Earl J. Stone, Jessie M. Kinder, F. P., Jr. Abney, Rube W. Bisbee, Merton S. Brandenstein, W. C. Dermigny, George F. Faught, Burl L. Larson, Olaf R. Marshall, Julius Mullins, Edgar F. Trott, James S. Buck, George L. Cambisi, Joseph R. Dougherty, John J. Kaminsky, Louis

Lander, Lloyd.G. Lusk, James C. McClurg, E. L. Murphy, Howard W. Steck, Edward J. Ueck, Edward H. Wcislo, Walter S. Althaus, Onslow S. Atamian, Bedros P. Baker, L. W. Barone, Alfred R. Bradarich, J. J. Brenhaug, Peter E. Brewer, Lawrence Coe, Robert J. Crawford, Burl L. Day, William K. DeLeo, S., Jr. Dokken, G. B. Driskill, J. E. Ellerson, E. S. Gillespie, M. L. Hamilton, H. W. Harris, H. W. Hatch, Glen A. Johnson, F. S. Jones, Ernest A. Kunter, John F. Loken, Floyd A. Marvel, L. M. McMillan, G. E. Miller, Earnest L. Musulin, John Nelson, Gene A. Olson, Eric E. Parrott, K. K. Prather, J. D. Propst, R. E. Radziewicz, J. E. Reese, J. A. Serrano, F. M.

Stewart, Guy C. Swanson, Edwin Vogt, Bernard A. Weston, C. P. Zanassi, Albert W. Zigmond, S. J. Blakeney, James P. Carrion, William Ciancio, William Engrisch, John C. Feder, Jack Fulton, Edward T. Gordon, Irvin Hafner, Vincent L. Hathaway, L. M. Hood, Willard E. Vertin, Jacob P. Joyce, Regis M. Keller, Horace M. Kelly, W. D., Jr. Walden, Lester B. Kelsay, V. L. Kilpela, John P. King, William G. Kundla, Mike Watson, Ralph E. Lanfri, Robert J. Lorenzini, Lucien A. Lynch, James P. Welker, William A. MacKenzie, E. A. Malec, Stanley J. Miller, Randall M. Otero, Sam A. Padier, Albert, Jr. Peavler, Coy K. Welling, Louis A. Poplau, J. L. Rabideau, F. W. Teague, Lloyd H. Sleeker, Paul E.

Hathorn, Edgar C. Tighe, John A. Garrison, Charles R. Vickery, J. E., Jr. Muller, Charles H. Barrett, Willie J. Kaszubowski, 0. A. Smith, James R. Crabb, Elton R. Johnson, H. G. Spry, Ellis H. Barry, Thomas P. Blackman, R. H. Crawford, R. W. Eaton, Russell L. Henderson, J. W. Martin, Frank A. Newcomb, H. V. Preston, R. W. Sapp, Wilson M. Tackett, Arnel Westbrook, E. E. Brewer, Stanley E. Darveaux, R. J. Henderson, C. E. Ijames, Richard D. Lowe, Arnold R. Ott, Charles E. Pribbanow, D. Regan, Lloyd H. Sanders, Harold L. Sheber, T. P. White, James R. Bond, Hobar C. Parish, LaMont Atwell, Bartram P. Reed, Robert L. Grissom, H. B., Jr. Mitchell, Solon H. Wittkopf, Glenn E. Delli Bovi, Ralph J.

Kaeppel, Robert A. Trainer, Henry Bayless, S. R. Blake, Edward E. Dean, Riley J. Hardie, Floyd J., Jr. Hinkle, Jack S. McVay, Burin L. O'Leary, Robert D. Putman, Felton R. Simmons, Philip L. Taormina, Paul White, C. S. Chagolla, John H. French, W. M. Hoffman, R. F. Jackman, R. E. Mlojewski, F. S. Parshall, C. A. Quinn, Edward F. Rofkahr, Leo W. Segal, Charles J. Smethurst, G. A. Wilson, Lloyd Eichhorn, H. F. Register, J W. King, Charley A. Wisniowski, J. J. Henderson, J. E. Neipert, H. R. Conway, T. G. Goldman, L. L. Piazza, Biagio A. Abrams, Robert P. Behrens, Garland L. Buhler, Edward H. Eaton, Mahlon B. Hartman, Floyd J. Kollar, Steve Michael, L. R. Pickett, Elmer F.

Sandella, Mike Supko, Joseph Taylor, E. J., Jr. Ashner, Roy E. Conrad, George A. Haight, Robert W. Huie, Hing L. Kraker, J. J., Jr. Nichols, Percy J. Pointer, M. L. Moczynski, G. T. Romano, R. A. Sencio, Joseph Smith, George R. Harwood, J. H. Dempsey, R. W. Sabatini, Arthur Scott, Burl E. Theroff, Robert F. Baty, Thomas J. Cunningham, F. B. Keith, Orville R. Lawson, Wm. E. Long, Richard R. Ramsay, Hugh M. Stephan, Robert F. Bass, Marvin S. Bissen, Melvin J. Blair, Sylvester Corbin, R. E. Davis, Lloyd W. Grotefendt, Leo W. Markwood, C. L. Marx, David H. Pepper, Frank E. Russell, Luke J. Therrien, F. R. Werner, Everett C. Bouck, Isaac, Jr. Haaga, Louis Holland, Morris B.

Continued in ba<& of Book

IT
Medals and speeches and victories are nothing to them any more. They died and thereby the rest of us can go on and on . . there is nothing we can do for the ones beneath the wooden crosses, except perhaps to pause and murmur, Thanks pal." e r n i e Thanks Ernie

Ralph J. Belli Bovi

Bedros P.Atamian

Walter B. Seeley

John F.Knnter

Ferenc Eecskes

. . . and the many men whose contributions made the compilation of this book possible.

Dedication page Roster of men Introdnction Menioriam page Battalion Hq. United States

Shangri-la '44 Bull

Printed by Graphische Kunstanstalten F. Bruckmann KG., Munich, Germany

You have opened the "Book of the 850th", and you have scanned the pages thus far. If you have any doubts about continu­ ng, belay them! for as you peruse it your interest will gather, not lessen. For here, in this Book, is the heart-meat and the heart-beat of the 850th, of your Battalion, which was one of the best Engineer Aviation Battalions in this theater. That it was one of the best is not doubted, and it is contended here that it was also one of the proudest. That it was one of the best all of you know, because it was to the 850th that the unusual assign­ ments were given. Remember how we were sent off to Vannes, two Infantry arrived there, and where U.S. supply lines were admittedly all but non-existent? And doesn't your head still throb when you recall the round-robin of airfield construction and maintenance from the champagne country of Epernay and Reims to Vitry and St. Dizier, where four airfields were built and ten of them maintained — — while the forward elements of the Bat­

talion were hunting new sites on the tail of the Infantry up around Nancy? To say nothing of that first of the "winterized" airfields in the knee-deep mud around "Rosy"! None but the best could have managed those schedules and stiff as they were, you did not

have a failure. You could be proud of that, proud of everything. And you were! But the pride of the 850th was a peculiar thing it was always

more self-assurance than pride, a profound self-assurance. And it had nothing to do with morale, for morale in the 850th was always a personal affair with each individual. (As was quite obvious!) Nor did esprit-de-corps hold the answer, for esprit-de-corps in this outfit was less like a bombastic reaction in unison than it was like a col­ lective belligerence. No, the answer for the pride of this outfit came from you, from the men of the outfit, and from the qualities so fundamental with all of you, and which you gave to it. Fine qualities, like a soul. Yet like a soul is not correct, either, for it was a soul. More than just people have souls. Old paintings have them, and cathedrals, and great bridges even airfields. (Rosieres-en-Haye is bound to

have had one, for it robbed the 850th of a good portion of its soul!) And some units are fortunate enough to grow them, too. The 850th

11

had one

it had a soul born out of the guts and the brawn and

the effort, and the minds and the wisdom and the folly of the men in it, all of them, men honest with themselves, men who were willing to give all of themselves to their efforts, men of integrity -you men.

It had a soul that would not die; which survived a tyrannical subjec­ tion to an endless flood of petty persecutions. And in surviving it managed to retain its own original innate soundness. It had a soul to be proud of. You can look clear back to the days when it started, back to the days in California, and you will see how fundamentally rooted was the soundness which built pride into the 850th. Remember that first night problem at Hammer Field, the one where the planes simulated a gas attack by bombing? There were guards posted on every camp street leading out to the problem, the defense's guards green­

horns, all learning the business. Earnest men, but men with a lot of tricks to get under their hats yet. Some of you will recollect the inci­ dent in reference. One of the officers acting as umpire was attempt­ ing to sneak his jeep past the guards, to get out to the problem. His driver was easing the jeep down an alley, no lights showing, almost noislessly. The driver was mumbling the password and countersign, to help ease his tension. Abruptly the black of the night was split by

the click of the bolt of a rifle. The jeep rocked to a standstill. There was a painful moment of silence before the belligerent "Halt!" leaped out of the darkness. Without a second's hesitation the jeep driver shouted the first word that came into his mind. It was the countersign! Again there was silence. Then a gruff voice demanded the headlights, and a disgusted soldier stepped up to the driver, waggled his rifle in the startled man's face and bawled him out angrily. "You can't say that word," he told him. "I'm supposed to say that one. You keep your mouth shut till I ask for the password!" Three of the strongest traits in the Battalion were there already: earnestness, a will to do, and a desire to do whatever it was, correctly. Those were traits of almost all the men who made up this Batta­ lion. They were traits that made the Battalion, traits of men like Sgt. Light, and Major Thomas, like Pvt. Yim, like Capt. Laing, and Sgt. Hazzard, like Lt. McLaughlin, and Cpl. Taylor, and Sgt. Hall, like Mr. Hanson, and Sgt. Manuel, and Pfc. Tilton; traits of the whole lot and caboodle, of all of you and traits you would live by. But you were nothing angelic, let me remind you. It was only a rela­ tively short time after that guard-driver episode, if you will remem­ ber, that we were all at Bass Lake, in campfire council, Chaplain traits you were born with

"Holy Joe" Manness in attendance, and that you uproariously and al­ most unanimously accepted the uncouth proposition that from there on out we " diddle them all!" (And from later reports, some

of you pretty damned well succeeded!) But there is included here only a slight mention of the Battalion's beginning. It was brought up solely to illustrate what was, in my opinion, the foundation which, coupled with its peculiarities, gave distinction to the 850th. The "Book" that follows is the 850th's story. This "Book" is yours it is the work of you all, compiled

by yourselves, and is for all of us. It is you, as you lived, from Fresno to Straubing. It has no nationality, but is wholly American. And it is the hope of the staff of the Battalion publications, who have put it together, that it will, in the future, serve you men of the 850th as though it were a handclasp in friendship with all of your old friends in the outfit whom it recalls to your memory.

Frank K. Nelson Major, CE Commanding

14

From various sketches of men in the bat­ talion this sketch of Sgt. Merton S. Bisbee was chosen as best typifying the engineer.

15

L*t. Colonel Warner

Commanding Officer from July 7, 1944 to May 6, 1945. Home town Kalamazoo, Mich. Comm. R. 0. T. C. Univ. of Michigan.

Major Harold D.

homas

Executive Officer from August 11, '4 to May 6, 1945. Home town Rolla, Mo. Comm. R.O.T.C. Mo. School of Mines.

Major Frank K.Nelson

Engr. and Operations offi<
1, '42 to May 6, '45. Home town Sparks
Nevada. Commissioned at Fort Belvoir.

Battalion Headquarters

These are the men who shared the responsibility for the success or failure of all our projects. Their duties covered every phase necessary for the functioning of our units, from planning an airfield to looking after the welfare of the individual soldier.

Adjutant from January 18, 1944 to May 6, 1945. Home town Dallas, Ore­ gon. Commissioned at Fort Belvoir.

Master Sgt. E. P. Johnson

Sgt. Major from April 1, 1943 to May 6, 1945. Home town Coronado, Cali­ fornia. Basic training Camp Roberts.

Tech. Sgt. Robert E. Hall

Personnel Sgt. from April 1, 1943 to May 6, 1945. Home town Lyons, Kan­ sas. Basic training Camp Robert".

Tech. Sgt. Darrel C. Pons

Supply Sgt. from November 1, '42 to May 6, '45. Home town Glendale, Cali­ fornia. Basic training Camp Roberts.

:

:

:

:

from November 1, 1942
May 6,1945. Home town Russelville,
Ala. Commissioned at Fort Belvoir.

Ass't. Engineering Officer May 26, ?44 to May 6, 1945. Home town Amarillo, Texas. Commissioned at Fort Belvoi

C.W.O. Herbert C. Hanson

Personnel Officer from December 20, 1943 to May 6, 1945. Home town Albert Lea, Minnesotta. R«

Commanding Officer Company A June 2, '43 to Nov. 14, '44. Home town Monte Vista, Colo. Comm. at Fort Belvoir.

Captain John .T. Donahue

Medical Officer from Sept. 9, '43 to May >me town Cranston, Rhode Is­ land. Direct Commission Medical Corps.

Dental Officer from Dec. 28, '42 to May 6, '45. Home town Niagara Falls, New York. Direct Commission Dental Corps.

l<t. Anthony

oemg

Special Service Officer from Dec. It to May 6, '45. Home town N.Y.C. C < at American School Center, E

Chaplain Moore R. Miller

Chaplain from April 14, '44 to Dec. 4, '44. Home town East Liverpool, Ohio. Direct Commission Chaplains Corps.

Captain Gerald A. Dodge

ing Officer H. & S. Co. from Aug. 22, '43 to May 6, '45. Home town Missoula,Mont. Comm.at Fort Belvoir.

1st Sgt. Ii. D. Robinson

First Sgt. H. & S. Co. from Feb. 19, '43 to May 6, '44. Home town Pales­ tine, Tex. Basic training Camp Roberts.

Captain Paul H. Willison

Commanding Officer Company A fro Nov. 15, '44 to May 6, '45. Home town Sycamore, Penn. Comm. at Fort Belvoir.

First Sgt. Company A from Oct. 15, '43 to May 6, '45. Home town Eggertsville, N.Y. Basic training Jeff. Barracks Mo.

ipta in John D. Bushby

Officer Company B from I to May 6, '45. Home town ire, MI. Comm. at Fort Belvoir.

irst Sgt. Company B from March 27, '43 to May 6, '45. Home town Bloomfield, N. J. Basic training Fort Belvoir.

Captain Samuel M. Cable

Commanding Officer Comp Nov. 1, '42 to May 6, '45. Home town Kansas City, Mo. Comm. at I

1st Sgt. Joseph H. Ha.

First Sgt. Company C from June 5, '43 to May 6, '45. Home town Avondale, Arizona. Basic training Camp Roberts.

united States

*

The career of the 850th Engineer Aviation

Battalion has been quiet and unheralded, but there is one prominent fact. The outfit was always a good outfit. You can measure a good outfit by the individual soldier within it. And no one has ever taken the measure of the 850th on this matter of individuality. Not from the day of it's activation. The outfit was activated on 1 November 1942. Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain) Nelwin C. Grimm, received orders, while at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to organize the 850th Engineer Aviation Battalion at Hammer Field, California. By 27 October he was out there cooling his heels, all by himself in an office loaned to him by the 836th Engineer Aviation Battalion, and wondering why he had been in such a hurry, and what he was going to use for soldiers. All the army had given him to work with as yet was a handful of cadre, men from the 836th, and he didn't get any kick out of just holding roll call: "Pons, Owens, Akers, Wolfe, Whitelock, Noakes, Dennee, Eck, Anderson", and so forth.

31

Those men of the 836th were the nucleous of his Battalion, and he had no intention of antagonizing them before the Battalion could be formed around them. He was too much of an individualist for that, himself. By 30 October, Captain Grimm had assistants to help him, still doing nothing; assistants wonderful to behold, who walked on their hind legs and looked something like soldiers, men still conscious of a shiny brass bar on one collar and a castle on the other, not a hint of a "Chaplain" among them. Captain Grimm looked them over, sized them up, and on 1 November 1942 "Shavetails" Nelson, Hud­ son, Dodge, Angwin, Bushby, Plunkett, Cable and Zielinske were prodded in their already tender posteriors and told to "get on the ball, to be soldiers". The 850th was born right on schedule! Officers, Officers, Officers! Too many officers and not enough sol­ diers. Old Crow became their most frequent "com­ panion". "Caw! Caw!" became their password. BOQ 75 was the crow's nest. 11 November brought more of them. Lieutenants Davis, Casey, Frick, and Durham, fresh from the horrible 90 days at Fort Belvoir. Both officers and cadre were now ready to welcome the men of the outfit. They wanted some­ thing to work on. Their wishes were granted. On 13 November, truck loads arrived from Camp Ro­ berts Infantry Replacement Center. Infantry Re­ placement Center!? Infantry!? But we're aviation

engineers! However, if those men were ] and Gaiser and Kenyon and Oldfi Boyd and Cossey and Althaus and Rei Zannassi and Vines and hundreds of others, we'l them! They were quickly assigned to t The men from Camp Roberis barracks when a trainload of mor The infantrymen looked pretty good, s < parison. And they tallied. Tacl and , Eichorn and Lee and the hundreds liehi:

Those two groups were the majority of the men who formed the Battalion, rough men and ready men, the kind of men whom the right kind of offi­ cers, the 850th officers, wanted, but men smart enough to let themselves be molded into a unit. Men who could build, maintain, and defend an airfield any place anybody needed one. And who would absorb all the additional men, so that they'd know they belonged to the outfit. Their "molding" got started at once. It was soon evident that the training "dreamed up" by Lt. Nelson was going to leave little in the way of additional physical exertion to be required. No words were minced in referring to it! The tongue of the 850th was never gilded! When it had protests it spoke them, when it felt like it, it rollicked with laughter. The dust, the sweat, the weariness, were incidental.

It wasn't long before the equipment was ar­ riving. D-4 cats, D-7 cats, Scrapers, Shovels, Roll­ ers, Compressors, the Barber-Greene Ditcher;

wondrous equipment for building an airfield. To most of the men the equipment was strange; to others it was what they were hoping for. Those who knew it, former operators and mechanics, men who knew more about the equipment than the officers over them, soon put the magic of life into it, under the able supervision of Lieute­ cLaughlin. For in a few short months green men had to be ;e this huge, unfamiliar machinery, in addition to i deal with any enemy who might object to the machi­ ing over his real estate! continued, hut—two—three—four, hut—two—three— Hew officers and new enlisted men were absorbed into the outen, and men physically unfit were transferred. The Batta­ chosen for quality and endurance. And now it acquirSection badly needed to heal the many blisters, grow­ 1 to everyone. changes were imminent. The Battalion had got it's feet pretty Hind. Then on 12 December 1942, Colonel (then MaHassumed command of the Battalion. Captain Grimm BOfficer. The new CO. was watched with expectancy.

A red-head, from West Pom! combination. It was his Batta it a pride and an earnest atteot (lure, at the same time makir for the horny 850th, and it wor soon cooking up some awful sch bayonet practice, night problems, and those ' hikes with full field pack! But there was other training, too, n thru the mountains of California, train in convoy discipline future arating"

;rrain where the "Jimmies" hauled tiouldered the trucks thru. Men
;

rtably with a combat pack, and

I raid signal. Perhaps the most ^ • ' was "enjoyed" by "B" Com­ ^ftv so deep it stymied the half­ • and man-handling of vehicles ne. Supper was missed, darkness I Battalion Headquarters. Major Dougan didn't show his anxiety, but the quickness and sharpness of that chuckle of his, when the

details were made known to him, Then he sent his troops out for mo rough training for the unpredic With basic training well rounded, work and to fight as a unit. Da) I around and over the top of Mt. Owens; under imaginary bullets, and problei real ones; wheezing lung-drills ii day: combat training, bayonetH

;ep was

where you idvanced unde

booby traps, airfield construction, heavy equipm work jobs, too, such as the rifle r; by the enlisted men of the Batta did learn "asphalt" did we?) and

the motor pool, and the "pill-boxes" for training. And Bass Lake! Bass Lake! Wishon Airport was our first "big" assignment; an affair personally arranged with the Forest Service by Major Dougan. It was a chance for "Mac" to give those equip­ ment operators he had been training an opportunity to prove themselves, to learn what they were up againsf; a chance for the still shiny new Company commanders to take the measure of their men, and for the men to take the measure of their offi­ cers, under genuine bivouac, and real work­ ing conditions. The work was to be done by a Company at a time, for a week at a time, with a Battalion problem winding

40

up the procedure. Manuel, Stortz, Brown, and the rest of heavy equipment started the PSP and equipment into the mountains about the last week in January 1943. The men of the 850th made the most of their chances. Wishon Airport taught them just about everything they shouldn't do in con­ struction, and taught them most of the things they'd have to do in bivouac, and messing. Weather was as changeable as orders, and the changes occurred so suddenly, one time it caught Sergeant Light barefooted in a snowstorm. Pup tents, in the rain, were a novelty. The men found out that the officers would get just as wet, under the falls, in a rowboat, as they would, and the officers found out that if you want a smooth run­ ning Battalion, let the men run it! And Wishon Airport was satisfactorily extended two

41

hundred feet into the deep, cold water of Bass Lake, and the logging road shoved two miles into some of the rough­ est country that was ever stood on end; splendid training for Engineers, rough training. The Bass Lake episode ended in a Bat­ talion combat problem; two companies, one to lay pierced plank surfacing on the runway and the other to defend them; two com­ panies to attack and halt the work. It was a battle unlike any ever fought before! Major Dougan "Chewed" the officers for two hours on their boners. But all was forgiven by the time the bonfire rally started. The Battalion warmed up over the story of Chaplain "Holy Joe" Maness's "coon-hunt" and Lieutenant "Bull" Nelson's "walk to the meadow—". The stories got hot, after those two! But bigger things in the wind abruptly recalled the Battalion from Bass Lake. A guard appeared on the safe at Battalion Headquarters, individual equipment was being checked day and night, shots given, loading of heavy equipment was started, then stopped again, passes

to Fresno became infrequent. Men were warned to send their wive and families home. Then on 22 April 1943 it was a reality. The Battalion codesign, the distinctive three dots and a dash, ( • • • — ), symbol of victory, was still wet on packing boxes and equipment. Men learned heavy equipment loading while blocking and tying the machines onto the flat cars; storing boxes into boxcars. Lieutenant McLaughlin and the operators and guards for the equipment quietly departed with it, beds and baggage. The outfit was called together in the Base Theater, told all that was known about what was coming, warned to be silent. The last retreat parade was held; the first one in full field pack, with steel helmets. The words of the "old man", at the theater, took on some meaning. Two trains were pulled onto the Base. Barracks were emptied. On 27 April 1943, the Battalion was moving. Rumors ran rampant, but no one knew where we were going. The die-hards who always pro­ claimed we would "never go over­ seas" remained silent as the trains

•£—

moved steadily eastward. The depth of their feelings was mirrored in

men's faces as they passed thru their home towns or home states and in some cases even within sight of fami­ liar houses and farms. The few short rest-stops, the chances to stretch in the wide open desert, were a hlessing. , coal-be-smudged outfit that got off at Camp d climbed the long hill to their barracks, construction, was dirty and humming with ous troop movements, There was no relaxa­ , shots, and lectures were maintained at a gruelECeep your trap shut" and "Somebody talked" signs irrors took on a new, deep significance. in a typical manner, the 850th established a g which brought envy to all the surrounding ihment to itself! (And company punishment!) But

we were finally processed, despite ourselves, t lousy chow, and the practice Air-Alerts. On Colonel Dougan led Battalion Headquarters, H and the Medics to the train, (Company "A" had two days previous to set up guns) then on ; ing hike to the boat, and up the gang-plank, and aboard t nia. They sailed from New York the followin "C" Company and "B" Company sailed also, o heavy equipment men had joined us. The Sealed in behind locked portholes we felt horn* in the throbbing of the ship and the pulsing of the r confusion and disorder of settling into utt many a face showed doubts as to what d for them. What "destiny" had in store was soon forgotten, on the Aquitania, in the problems of ship-board. Men who had grumbled about doubledecker bunks stared now at the five story jobs, in amazement. Space to park an "A"

hag just wasn't. That first mea! did more harm than good toward Anglo-American relationship; the PX did a land-office biifiness sell­ ing canned peaches, apricots, pears, and soup. Abandon ship drills broke up some of the monotony, and rumors of submarine packs kept life from becoming too drear, if one wasn't so sick he did not • arc about living! Fortunately no packs caught up with us, for which we were thankful; that water looked damned chilly! Company "A" manned the anti-aircraft guns, on the Aquitania, and ate with the crews and got the first of the rumors. On the Mariposa things were better. But everyone was glad when their trip was completed.

eilgland

*

On the 18th of May the Aquitania docked at Gou­

rock, Scotland; the next afternoon, we were loaded onto small lighters which took us to the dock. A Scottish band played as we unloaded, until we were whisked away in one of those funny little things which the English called trains. As that mechanical curiosity panted on it's way with us, through small villages and towns, the exuberant Scotch people welcomed us excitedly, making the inevit­ able "V" sign with their fingers, and with small American flags. Stops produced hordes of kids bent on getting some chocolate or gum from the "Yanks"; showers of it went out the car windows.

47

e natty, green park-like fields of Scotland whizzed by, and one, as we passed it, seemed to literally I up and hop away, as thou­ sands of rabbits, scared by the train, headed for safer parts. We rolled on through the night, sleep avoiding us. Powerf filled the air, and rumors of how

train just ahead had been strafed by a Jerry, were plentiful. A the distance. But of "bombed England*' we saw nothing, and were skeptical. Stoj s were made from time to time, at small stations, where the Red ]ross gave us hot tea and biscuits. Next morning we pulled into Stansted, Essex. We were "home" in England. 25th Engineer Aviation Battalion, did an admirable job of welcoming us. In no time we were quartered in neat Nissen huts, rrugated 1 alf-culverts. Already plans were contribution to the 825th's work on this huge bomber base. We would be the 3rd Engineer Aviation Battalion to f the 817th, but turned over to the 825th soon after it was started. "broke first ground" on he 21st of May, having already

been inspected on 20 May, the bed!) by the inspection team of EBS, an even too familiar to all of us. By the from Liverpool, where the Mariposa had docked two wee things were in full swing. We ther could usually be summed up i of rain" meant a deluge that was anchored, and that played hell witl schedule was enough to tax even day, 6 days a week on construe of combat training. Or rather, that'i of us who labored 14 and 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, can remem­ ber only too well that very ofte

The "move forward rapidly back­ wards" methods of the army came quickly to the fore. Our in en, train­ ed for hasty airfield construc­ tion, now found themselves faced with fabulous amounts of con­ crete work, of brick laying, the construction of huge steel air­ plane hangars, the building of water and sewage systems, and electrical wiring. The rugged in­ dividualists of the 850th vented their spleen in a few unprintable words—and spat on their hands, and went to work. What they didn't know, they proceeded to learn the hard way, the army way.

Captain "Tom" Thomas's H&S Company took over the heavy equip­ ment work, the french drains, and such details; the line companies were assigned to building construction. Before long, things were running smoothly and there was talk of passes in the air. It took a long time for the talk to become a reality, but the goddess of for­ tune finally deigned to smile on even the Engineers; there was pro­ mised one day off a week, to do with as we wanted. Probably it was believed that, after a strenuous week, we would care to do nothing

but sleep all day, anyway. But they didn't know the Engineers! Out came the Class "A", and the trusty bicycle. And off to the nearest village (or ATS camp) we went—to cement Anglo-American rela­ tions in our own personal way.
The first glass of mild and bitters in the quaint English Pub was
usually raised to the lips with suspicion—a sip of the warm stuff was invariably followed by a wry face and a dour, "pour it back in the horse". But there was little else to drink (unless one had a quarter interest in the Bank of England!), and anyway, each succeeding sip tasted better. It wasn't too long before the odd English money began sliding over the bar, and dyed in the wool Yanks started saying "I say, old chap, will you join me in a game of darts?" It was a short

step, then, from darts to bicycles. Bicycles in England presented an unmistakable fascina­ tion—put a pretty English girl on a bicycle and you've got something! Nightly recreation­ al convoys to Bishop's Stortford and Stansted provided opportunity a-plenty for finding out all the fine points of both bicycle and rider. The "Reindeer", and "Grapes'", and "Nags Head", and the "White Swan", were the scene of many a boisterous get together. Long's Re­ staurant, was changed from a drowsy English Ballroom to something leties" Honky-tonk. Saturday night there, was a riot. Stortford and Stansted did not satisfy us. We long­ ir passes to London. We finally got them. London was 33 miles ain ride took an hour. As you entered the outskirts of the city, you saw what German bomb damage really meant. It was one of the long rows of old tenement buildings. Station, with it's high smoke stained ceiling, you found to be dark and ugly. And restless. The bustle of uniformed

people of every rank, branch of service, and allied country, gave you the feeling that from here—things happened. Getting a cabbie to take you from the station up-town, meant stand­ ing in a queue longer than the Company chow line. To the Yank, there was no earthly reason why he should stand at the rear of the line when there was no one to stop him from running to the head of it. He did it, at first. But the disdainful looks, the quiet mutterings of the stoic English civilians, the brusque, "Queue up, lads", of the inevitable Bobby taught him better. The ride up-town was always a spinner; Sports who had "taken the corner on two wheels" in the Model T back in their high school days, had a new thrill awaiting them. The horn was the driver's only defense as he whizzed down crowded streets, in and out amid lorries and hacks, and on the wrong side of the street, always! As the driver pulled up at the Rain­ bow Corner, not in the least excited, and answered, "—two and six, please", you gave him three—and were thank­ ful to be alive, and to be rid of him. Picadilly and Hyde Park were the two most notorious spots in town—the

I

places you wanted to see first; to find out if the "Commandos" were all that you'd heard they were. And they were! But there were other limits, too—inumerable pubs, American bars, places of historical in­ terest, hordes of people, the Palace Guard, blitz damage. As you stroll­ ed about, taking it all in, you marvelled at it's hoariness. St. Paul's Cathedral, London Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Parliament build­ ings, '"Big Ben". Then the day was gone and it all faded away. It would be another week of hard work before you were back again (if your pounds hold out!). And the trip back was always depressing.

Things out at the Air Base wer accord
ing monii

ganization and planning. Men wer being toughened—the 850th was building chars Lieutenant Colonel Dougan was given Grimm again took over the outfit, Capt. Thomas Lieutenant "Pappy" Dodge took over Company. O August 1943, a parade was held Dougan, and he left us. Soon ^ J moved across the Field, into the Depot, into Livin tially completed Nissen hut site i

**m

wing and watchful eye of ''Mother" Patten. Battalion Headquarters was moved into Bassingbournc Hall. The move was, of course, accomplished after duty hours, and the usual rough bitch­ ing predominated as we slogged around in the mud trying to make the place livable. Yes, rain fell even in August, in Essex County. England! And training and work went on as usual. In training, emphasis was placed on aircraft recognition, mines and booby traps, rifle marksmanship—things we believed we would use when we crossed over the

channel. But men who had been thru basic training twice, and who worked hard all day, all week long, could not put their hearts into it. And they did work hard, especially those on concrete. And those on the batch plant. No one who worked at the batch plant is apt to forget it—the big hopper, the water tank beside it that always ran dry at the wrong time, the "Limey" operator and the British crane on the mountains of "Ballast", the hoist that balked at lifting more than it's normal load of cement sacks—yet didn't seem to object to a man

I

batch plant

riding up as extra cargo, and that cement dock. Hundreds and hundreds of tons of cement, all hand-unloaded
w==

-

from British lorries, and re-

hand loaded again onto trucks, or else cut open and dumped into ihe hopper. The 110 pound sacks became heavy before nightfall, eyes, throats, and nostrils smarted—if a man forgot his gloves his fingers would be worn to the quick before evening. Men coming off shift looked like ghosts, and it took plenty of hot water to clean off the ghostliness, and in the frequent absence of hot water—the ghostliness remained. It drove men to the limit of their endurance. But somehow they always kept going. It's always been that way in the 850th.

s were being granted, and they were had learned substantial number reciate any small favor!—We sited Scotland, where the sincere ^Boiifi; afterwards. A number also visited at various hom< scattered about England. slipped by. New things were learned, old tricks forgotten. 1 November came again, and the out­ fit celebrated it's first anniversary, with a dance at the Red Cross Club they had built themselves—complete even to the murals on the wall, done by Peterson, Johnson, and Halan. And complete even to the air raid ! Most men speni^Bieir brief vacations in London,

An air raid was always an exciting experience. First came low wails of distant sirens. These were taken up by successive sirens in the path of the enemy. Every light that might have been showing before, was { ness seemed almost suffocating. Anti-air up in coughing roars as sear< to converge on the intruders. Str< > cleared, as to s

dous than the bombing. Then finally tl German motors, could be picke deeper. As the plane passed over you gripped you; you wanted to crawl ii for an explosion, or for a sire ing a sentence. The "all clear" hroug ;h of relief and contentment.

"rom camp you watched the r htly raids on London—watched the low of burning buildings, and sky like powder grains thrown listant, and seemed to you like a mber, when a brilliant red in our own back yard. We the two explosions that followed then a minute the two ditches full of men scrambling for protection! kelson tied for speed in getting

under a mess hall table! After that it was routine t "hit the ditches" whenever the sirens were sounded. Came Christmas, and nothing was spai turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, ice From remote niches there appeared goodly quantities of Christmas cheer, saved for the occasion. I Grimm a large leather chair, monogram Seal, and a few choice items such as billfolds, silver were raffled off to the lucky men on Christmas Eve. More and more we began to appreciate rl For our own part, we decorat

up with the candy that every man had donated from his meager ration, and tra­ velled through neighboring towns and villages with Sergeant "Santa Claus"

Kness tossing sweets to crowds of starry eyed kids. The four ton prime mover looked nothing like a reindeer, Christmas was present, everyone knew it, and grati­ ude glowed in the faces of grown-ups and children. i January we moved back onto the Airfield, from the Depot, and tents alongside Living Site No. 4, formerly occupied by a

Company of the 825th. 1 utilized for Orderly Rooms, kite quarters moved into Ren] soon found out it was cold men who have been throug Sergeant Tacl now began plugg the S-3 job—training. H ing, and similar form unpleasantness and tort but somehow a

site were

spot in the program was the B a very fine crop of sprains am men nuscles.

water tower

they never realized they had before—climbing up and down rope ladders, balancing on rocking platforms, sliding down ropes after climbing them, swinging across a ravine Tarzan fashion, mounting a long flight of steps on hands and knees, and finally charging a pillbox. It was trying, but the exertion and attention to the problem by the participants, drew fine praise from the British commander and men in charge of the course.

bombing missions were being run 5 Medium Bomber! and we could see what we had stopped in England for. It was satisfyin thunder down the > see the early morning missions 1 slip into the air towards the rising

sun. It gave us a feeling of pride i accomplishment that seemed to all sorts of weather, that we had gone through. And made us think of the future. Those bombers roaring out could only be a prelude to the coming day when we would all go into action.

\y ~UL>

On 15 February the Fiel< looked good, strutting in review, with Air before Colonel Volmar, whc the Dedication. The Colonel f < tribute to the men who buil pride in everyone of us The expected day of action was approaching more rapidly than we anticipated. On the 15th of April 1 44, the Battalion the accumulation of junk that represe sented Lieutenant General Lee at

bade the folks at the Air Ministry good-bye, and moved off by motor convoy, to Cokethorpe Park, Oxon. Two other Battalions were al­ ready there, the 8 h and 833rd. The 926th Engineer Aviation Regi­ a permanent part of the uniform here. The rrival of more and more and "Top Secret" information required guards on the Battalion safe—wide-awake guards! Our apt ment, to which we were now assigned, arrived shortly after. Steel hel­

Battalion code name of ' like this was the staging area. B There was little construction work here—we sensed that no time for it. The days wer Individual equipment inspec were given. Training in the waterproof] 5 of vehicles, aircraft rec­ ognition, advancing under overhead ire, mines and booby traps, and dozens of other importani ;s was continuous, and all weapoi I filled mostly with train

wer fired. On one memorable occasion, a two day and night problem in Sher­ borne Park taught us the trials of combat conditions. "A" and "B" Com­ panies were attacking "C" and Head­ quarters Companies defensive posi­ tions in a battle of '"extinction". Pa­ trols crawled miles in the darkness, spying out eneiny positions and

pilfering everything they could lay their hands on from eggs to jeeps! The coup de grace occurred when the defenders retired to new positions and "B" Company undertook to capture the unsus­ pecting and unappreciative 819th, who had moved into the area to work on a problem! The next day we all retired quietly to partici­ pate in a program of wire-mesh track laying. At this time each man got a foretaste of the future by wearing his steel helmet and packing his rifle on his back while working. We never could do it successfully or gracefully. Our rifles would either always slide around to the front and trip us or knock our helmets over our eyes. Laying the mesh at night complicated matters. No lights were used, and many were the bruised fingers that resulted from mis-swings with the hammer when clipping. During the middle of May, 200 men with 60 vehicles convoyed down

to Southampton for waterproofing practice. All vehicles were water­ proofed and loaded into LST's or LCT's and moved out onto the estuary for the night. The next morning, the convoy of eleven vess­ els sailed down the river for 10 miles, turned toward shore, and charged for it at full speed. The ships ground to a stop on the sand and the forward parts fell open, forming ramps for the vehicles so they could be driven into the shallow water and onto the shore. The drivers looked at that cold water, shivered, and started their vehicles. Some of the drivers, afraid of getting wet, stood up on their seats. The result was a stalled vehicle, which had to be towed out of the briney deep by cats. No one who saw them will forget Phillips on the Case tractor coming off an LCT, or Sergeants Connors and Holt driving the ambulance into the water, with Captains Donahue and Moses in the rear end, forming the only ballast which kept the meat wagon from floating away! After landing, and removing the water­ proof compound from their vehicles, the men of th 850th convoyed back to the

Cokethorpe homestead, wondering why they'd gone down to Southampton. That training was supposed to be rugged, but to these men who had been put thru more

strenuous drill in their own practice pool every day, it seemed were childish, and glad to get they back

with their Companies. For evenings in the tented camp were pleasant. They were gi­ ven over to impromptu song­ fests and gaiety, conducted by Sergeants Light and Kness. The brand of humor dished out was rough, and they liked it. It was for rough men only. For the Battalion as a whole, recrea­ tional tours were conducted to Ox­ ford each Sunday, by our own Chap­ lain Miller, who

knew his way aro­ und that city.

our waiting was suddenly given a meaning. 6 June 1944 had caught up to us. General Eisenhower had spoken:

SUPREME HEADQUARTERS
ALLIED EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of libertyloving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world. Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well
trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will
fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have in­ flicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory! I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty
and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than
full Victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Al­ mighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

It came on 16 June, after being twice falsely alerted for move­ ment. The vehicle element, with 300 men, left Cokethorpe Park on the morning of the 19th, in two serials, one at 0100 and the other at 0400, the first serial taking the stone gateposts over with them as they left. All were bound for the Marshalling Area near Southampton. The equipment element had an uneventful trip. They merely knocked off a few corners of buildings in traversing the narrow village streets. The rest of the Battalion, not required to handle the equipment, composed the marching ele­ ment. It left Cokethorpe, by Shanks Mare, with a full field pack, for Witney, Oxon, and boarded a train, departing Witney at 0615 for the Marshalling Area. The train trip too, was uneventful; most of this element caught a little shut-eye which had been missed entirely the night before. But when they left the train at Winchester, they beheld a sight that so­ bered them all. A hospital train was unloading casualties from France.

It was realized by all then, tl were in the war—and that F they hadn't learned their lessons well, it would probably claim as the Marshalling Area, they foun arrived there and were se 3 in the tents that were provided. The rest of the afternoon was spent needed for our voyage—candy, cigarettes, sea-sick pills, chocolate bars which were supposed to be so full of vitamins that they would do as a meal, life jackets, and a fairly large-sized waterproof bag­ f them. Upon arrival at

intended not to keep water out but to keep the results of a rolling sea in. That evening was spent in sleep­ ing, or taking in a show, or enjoying a last mild and bitters at the NAAFI site. At night, Jerry made his usual passes at Southampton, dropping a 3ccasionally a V-l rocket bomb would wing it's way over, and the ack-ack would open up on it. e were awakened early the next morning and loaded into trucks, tito march and vehicle elements. But we all rode trip down to Southampton docks was unevent­ ful for the march element, although we did see a lot of bomb da­ mage, some of it very recent. Our first sight of our transport was "HMS Empire Crossbow" was a Liberty Ship con­ mington, California. We sat on the docks in the hot piping as always, because we had to wait houi 5 before loading. We finally marched up the gang-plank and found our home for the next day. We were right—the usual six tiered bunks greeted us! Supper was a surprise, it was good. Fresh meat and, for the first d country", fresh, white, bread. After supper, we started : looping around. The tales those Limey sailors told about

what was happening on the other side set

; all to wondering. Many

of us slept restlessly that night, wondering wha into, and imagining the worst. f r a i i c e ~k The ship left early the next morning, before we were awake. By the time we looked out at the not in sight. We hastened on deck, and found we were one of a con­ voy of six. We were startled to see the convoy's location being vertised for miles around by a balloon suspei ded from each ship's mast; a large silver sausage—barrage ballons < planes at their distance. Late that afternoon we dropped anchor off Utah Beach. From we watched planes land and take off on a newly cons built by a brother Engineer Aviation Battalion. In the distance we could hear the thundering roar of heavy planes with their distinctive black and white invasion stripes, circled vigil­ antly, protecting the ships below. Some over-anxious individual suddenly ut­ tered a cry. We looked down into the water and saw an aviator, floating face downward, his body a dragging weight on his life belt. In another

81

couple of minutes an infantryman, with his pack still on, floated by in a similar position. Both bodies circled the boat several times, as though they were still searching for assistance. No words were spo­ ken by anyone. At dusk the ship finally weighed anchor. It sailed cautiously in to­ wards shore, ultimately stopping about 300 yards from the beach. We of the "first wave" climbed into assault boats. The boats were lowered to the deep black water below—and streaked for the shore. From the bowels of one boat someone weakened. A squeaky voice called, "I am a conscientious objector. Take me back!!" But needless to say he stayed with us. It was too late to change classifications.

As the boats ground to a stop in shallow water, a ramp fell forward and we rushed for the shore. At least the tall men only got wet to the knees but the shorties weren't

J

so lucky! Photo Joe Ruhland had no luck at all, for he fell flat on his face in the water, camera and all. Reaching the beach, we quickly assembled. Someone from higher ) meet us here, and guide us. No one mid the shout cursings and proddings of the beach-

masters, we began marching toward the assembly area. "Just a mile away", they told us. We passei hrough fields and towns, and saw

nothing but havoc. The signs along the road bore the skull and cross­ bones label, and r "Achtung! Minen!" There were incessant flashes

artillery, s 1 thun ;rous roars from the guns, and from the ropped. In the murky darkness, everyone seemed to see a Hun lurking; i ' us continually kept our trigger fin­

gers where they would most help us. We were taking no chances.

One mile turned to two, then to seemed we were being marched stra met said, "Just a little ways farther." Captain "Hud" Hudson, with theii pace fast. But "Hush Kush" Akers tion" Penoyer, even, managed to keep up, ir miles were rolled off behind us. Finally, t< we turned into a pasture, and in no sleeping. Two hours later we were awakened, mess, where we got our first breakfast of 1 hundreds of gliders, most all of them wrapped around ers, and anti-invasion poles. Very f Multi-colored parachutes were to

be see,, eve.where. Th,s was S,.
Mere Eglise, as was evident; the place where the first landings were made by the parachutists. Our area was finally located, a phone call was made to the 926th

tf

8 5

Engineer Aviation Regiment and trucks were sent out for us. One hours' ride, during which we saw more and more gliders, parachutes and battle damage, and we arrived =^ at our bivouac area, just out of Chef du Pont. There we climbed fox ever dug these holes for we never claia»ed I ambitious, or the more cautious, dug ard wide. Two and three men shared a "plot*' in some of them. As for the vehicle element, it ran into complications from the time • Marshalling Area. To begin with, the Transportation Corps got lost in guiding it to the dock in Southampton, and our n was led thru every crowded main street in : car was bumped off it's tracks, vehicles and pede­ and it ended right back where it started! 3, who was pur S-4 at Hammer Field, found it and t to the dock personally. But there it was stranded. Due to the

storm on the channel the LCT's were not there t it's personnel slept in the gvitt ampton. Captain Nelson, leading the convoy, a! son conscientious about it, laid his sle< side the curb, at the front of the convoy! But for one night only! Then he shook out his sleepinj yard, with Lieutenant Laing and Captain there are times when the dead art especially when the living are crawling! Two nights—and we'd drained all the beer in the district. came in one at a time, and Lieutenani equipment on them personally. T the seventeen silver balloons that Somebody made a mistake, and we sailed Jown the Cherbour peninsula Inside the mine fields. Wrecks were strewn everywhere— imas. He had learned that

9>:%e[

ence of the cost o this landing. Near Utah Beach a ship sped across the lead craft, with a loud speaker blaring. The convoy i two; half e balloons drifted off toward Omaha > ran for the shore at Utah Beach and the bows grounded. More errors in o ers. Some ship's ramps were lowered immediately; trucks splashed into the water, and stalled there. Ord­ rescinded and we waited for low tide and walked ashore omm; sat in the ocean for hours. There was no one to r 3t us, we had no directions, nobody had even f-the-day, was, "Off the beach, and keep [uipment straggled over dusty roads looking f nto. They finally found one, dispersed, and duj shelter. The next day Captain Dodge found them there— I car and "A" Company's halftrack

heating time, and to hell with it! On the 23rd of June they rejoined the Battalion. Those carefully constructed kitchen trucks were put into operation so we—and the yellow jackets—could be properly fed, and adminis­ tration was started. Fox-holes were dug, but those first fox-holes were pathetic! The rains, notorious to France, poured into them. So did the field mice, the bugs, and the caterpillars. That first night, Bob Hall woke from a sound sleep and poked Shortie Johnson and woke him up too, to tell him to keep his hands to himself. After a few sharp words it was finally discovered that those "hands" belonged to a field mouse! In no time the field mouse had the fox-hole to him­ self, Hall and Johnson departing with mutterings to the effect that this would be the last time a fox-hole would ever be used by either of those two! Souvenir hunters promptly started to work, and the Battalion was soon overloaded with "junk" from a large German ordnance dump

situated nearby. Jugs of apple cider appeared, and those of us who were blessed with the ability to speak French, proceeded to further —or to complicate—Franco-American relations, now that England was behind us. At night the artillery shook us, and the occasional screams and shell bursts of the 88's could be heard plainly. As the long battle for Cherbourg dragged out the Battalion sat rest­ lessly at Chef du Pont. Some of you dismantled gliders for trailers for the General. Three recces were made—our first touch of reality. Then the enemy was split, and one wing driven to the edge of Mau­ pertus Airport, east of Cherbourg. Company "A" was packed off im­ mediately, and followed the retreating enemy onto our first Airfield, at that place, on 27 June; Headquarters and "C Company followed close after them. "B" Company pulled out over the same route, the following day, but swung northwest from Valogncs, for destination Querqueville, which was still in the hands of the enemy. Roads were rough. Newly filled craters and shell holes caused fre­ quent delays in the convoy; twisted and wrecked 88's along the road symbolized the shellacking the Jerries had taken, and truck loads of American dead, coming down the road to the St. Mere Eglise ceme­ tery, were grim evidence of what it was costing. Monteburg and Va­

•A

m

lognes were ruined beyond recognition; the main streets at this time were nar­ row one-way paths cleared through the rubble by bull-dozers. On all sides, dead horses and cows lay bloating in the sun. "Achtung Minen!" signs were every­ where. Parts of Cherbourg showed evi­ dence of the fiercest of resistance; other sections were intact. Few people were about, and these were mostly dazed looking people standing dejec­ tedly in the doorways, or picking their way through the littered cob­ blestone street. Maupertus Airfield, with it's smashed pill-boxes, was a souvenir hun­ ter's paradise. Officers made a faint try to keep the men from search­ ing about recklessly—then joined in the search themselves, lest they lose out on the "pickins". Machine pistols, rifles, bayonets, P-38 and luger pistols. Enemy dead raised no objection as we pawed through the litter about them. We still can't forget that bloating corpse sprawled out in the wheelbarrow. But souvenir hunting was always secondary. Hard work had the Field cleared of obstacles, extended, marked and ready for planes five days later. And in they came—beautiful silver P-51's. Watching them land gave us great satisfaction. But they had hardly touched down, before they were bombed up, and off again to pound the heinies.

mess hall "belly-robbers by this time touched to their very souls as they saw us wast away on K and 10-in-one rations. So one day steak miraculously appeared on the table. It was unex­ itil next day someone caught Rumberg coming into camp iberated" orse, carbine across his knees, a pleased look o his cherub-like face—and steak appeared on the e was investigated. From then on mines" in increasing numbers, unheralded "shuffles". Major ittalion, and Lieui enant Colonel Grimm became ;ineer Aviation Regiment. The I time now for ceremonies.

As the Air Corps moved in we moved out—after successfully resisting for a few days the Air Corps' desire to roust us out of our clean quarters the minute they saw them. Nothing was ever to teach the Air Corps that the Engineers weren't their hand-maidens—the hest we could ever do was to retire in disdain (and a cloud of rough bitch­ ing!). Battalion Headquarters, Headquarters Company, "A" Com­ pany, "C" Company, the Chaplain, and the Medics moved into the pastures near Digosville. We learned something of the "other side" of the war there at Digosville. One morning the hedgerows unexpect­ edly blossomed out with ladies panties, and such "et cetera". A hospital, and ninety-three (93) nurses had moved into the adjoining pasture! But "the other side" of war, with it's pleasures, was a brief interlude. "B" Company needed assistance at Querqueville. They had moved

onto the Field as the Jerries noved out, settling themselves in Fort de Querqueville (precariously, for the AAA commander desired to boldly faced their problem. Querqueville was found to be literally sown with min ind mostly with the nasty detect, Lt. Frick's platoon removed in all some forty five hundred of those packages of death, i casualty, other than one D-7, and that was unavoid­ able. Our humble respects go to those men of the 826th who were injured by the wrongly placed mine the stone wall, while they were thanks g [tenant Frick, Sgt. Bess, Sgt. 3St, who made the Field safe to walk on. The Jronze Stars well earned, in that case.

l i e s I n v a l i d e s in w o e hs dome rests the tomb of Napoleon. Illustrated by Ferenc Kecskes.

23 1947

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3

reproduction of the original mine map as drawn by Sgt. Muller. With the aid of this chart approximately 4,000 mines of all descrip­ tions were lifted from the Cherbourg'airport.

1 . mine sweeping 2 . probing

3 . lifting

Querqueville was a problem child from re-made the face of that Airfield. It was our first hessian Airfield, ai we were humble in our prayers when we beseeched a trying dence that it be our last one! The 4600 foot 1 literally squeezed out by command of the General. Our first continei tal hangar repair job was wrecked by a distressed B-17, and done over again. But Querqueville was one of the longest-lived Airfields on the Continent. And one of the most colorfi 1 to work on, also, with the English Channel in the background, Cherbourg Harbor besid the restless minesweepers pacing it always, the ships coming and going —• — and some blowing up i cations frowning angrily down upon 1 the great fortifi­

[e the Battalion performed two other ised almost first instance loticed, but which we are proud of. Company's and later Company "A'"s work Cherbourg. Cherbourg was "off limits" to us vay we got an inside view of the Port's great :-habilitati cond instance was the construction of inkett's favori i Airfield construct — "A" Company's cub strip jrg. Captain Plunkett got an order to idiately" —•— and "A" Company did it! d the situation when he was asked by Engineers were, and replied, "They came in like they're gone." d in the Cherbourg peninsula. The 877th Air­ iken over Maupertus Airfield, with [uipment, which seemed almost to get underfoot, srqueville was in the disagreeable "clean­ ent suddenly called for Recce Parties. "A" Com­ recce parties took off immediately. Eight back of Avranches. Then "B" Com­ uth toward Fougeres, and. "A" Company's recce lay. There's your Airfield. And now

went east, toward Laval and Le Mans. Half-track and jeep were always shifting from the tail to the head of the Infantry. Their luck was tremendous. And their reports were prodigious. But the Battalion was never destin­ ed to construct on a site their owtH men were recalled to construction work witl and Gael, on the south side of the Brittany P The Battalion itself left Digosville and ignment, being ordered simply to move south toward the "hot' at Avranches, where they would contact the F that had been our home among tl without any qualms whatsoever, and we started t ward. General Patton had just broken wreckage of villages and vehicles along tl Our trucks, piled high as they were with bered along the battered road like heavily laden one by one those captured German trailers, that had looked so good to us when we had acquired them at Maupei as their burdens beat them to pieces. Our Battalion symbol ­ old black crow on the yellow background proachfully as we abandoned each piece of equipm That night we reached the little village of Les pulli d after us r I equipment, lum­

into bivouac along the hedge­ rows. Major Ray and Major Tho­ mas took off immediately in search of the Regimental or the Brigade CP to get the latest dope on us. They could find neither one of them. But their trij) was not uneventful Major Thomas got so much speed out of the jeep over one bump that his duffel bag flew out of it into the ditch, and the situation was so hot they could not stop to find it! Things in general around Les Chambre were far from peace­ ful. Jerry raiders came over intermittently all night long and those men who didn't have a fox-hole wished they did have before the night was over, and the ammunition dump in the nearby field was set afire! Next morning Major Thomas and the Old Man went out again to find out where we were, and where we were going. About 0900 hours we knew, and by 1000 hours "A" Company was moving toward Gael; the rest of the Battalion fell in behind them, headed for Vannes. Every man was warned to keep his helmet on, his rifle cocked, and his eyes wide open we were going into the Brest Peninsula, in Brittany, and the Germans were known to be in strength in that area and no Infantry was down there. The trip from Les Chambre, through Dinan, to Gael and Vannes, was

one of the most memorable treks in the history of the Battalion. Long, desolate stretches of road lay before us German held territory

with only an occasional heavily-armed band of FFI at road junctions, and on the outskirts of villages. And in the villages we drove through we were the long-awaited "Americaines!" Villagers turned out en masse to greet their "liberators". Men, women, and children lined the streets, cheering madly, and showering us with flowers. Bottles of wine, cognac, and calvados, proffered by Frenchmen made happier simply to have you take it, were snatched on the fly, and cigarettes were tossed in return. The colorful little town of Dinan, with it's many outstandingly beautiful women, won the hearts of all of us we regretted not having the time to stop there.

Company "A" arrived at their destination about 1700, and were greet­ ed by a few Polish and Russian prisoners, left there by the Germans in their flighty departure. These individuals hastened to inform Cap­ tain Plunkett that there were 200 Germans just over the hill, in the woods, v/ho were willing to give up, to the Americans. But Aviation Engineers have never had time for a Jerry hunt, nor any personnel to guard prisoners with if they captured them. Construction of a four thousand foot Advance Landing Ground was started immediately, the Germans were left to their own, devices, and we to God's graces.

.v»*.

(I1

Company *'B" and Battalion Headquarters were the first to reach the newly "liberated", City of Vannes. Captain Bushby made the mistake of leaving his convoy in town, among the liberated people, while he went looking for the road into the Airfield. By the time he return­ ed, the whole convoy was "plastered". If there had been even one more "liberated" town to pass through, we would never have made it! Vannes was a mess, our first job of undoing the enemy's own demolitions. The north-south runway was chosen to be extended to six thousand feet, and our gigantic grading program was commenced. Cats and rooters gouged at stone for days on end; blasting was com­ mon. And the obtaining of materials was brutal. The 850th Railroad Enterprises, unincorporated and unsympathised with, attempted lo bring in materials by rail, but French railroad procedure defied them. Truck haul was prodigious. And the General was impatient. But the job was completed before we could even manage to convoy the remainder of our equipment down from the Cherbourg Peninsula!

August recce parlies and a o go east of Laval. A week later we faced a possible small war of our own, when the Ar­ mored patrols reported eight thousand of the enemy advancing toagainst us. Like a spirited bantam rooster the Battalion manned 's guns and took up strategic

the Airfield. Of course, had they But it would have o our belated work schedules, if the Air Force hadn't blown all the bridges in front of them! les. Two of our men had

earned medals for saving some British officei Shannon had discovered that the courier rur toughest assignment as he pounded the whe after day between Vannes and Fougeres; and we had learned of the hazards of searching through fortifications, when a bomb disposal officer and his assistants wer one. They were not pretty to look upon. "C" Company left a week before the others for the new assignment, line explosion while ii

near Alengon. When jrted, Headquar­ my took the long way. id sign and went ugh Le Mans. It was a haul, any way we went. But try. As we pulled into Lonrai, near Alengon, past the ma§ d occupied whi Chateau which the Ger­ 1 this war, and into <red American solif respect for the i with us. And we had difficulty in understanding the philosophy French officer, who •mans having no fur­

rl ,

ther use for him, being in too great a hurry to get themselves away from there. But we didn't have much time to worry about it. There were craters to be filled, a forest to be cut, grading to be done. We first used tournapulls here at Lonrai —— and our men rode them like cowboys. We almost beat the rainy season the hessian

would have all been down if you'd have had your way. But Head­

quarters had some experiments that hadn't been tried yet. So we tried them. One Platoon of Com­ pany "C" had to be left behind to finish and main­ tain the Airfield. Planes were using it by 6 September. Again we were "looking for a job". Regimental advance CP was up at Romilly. The old man hurried a detachment consisting of S-3 and S-4 and heavy equipment up there to snatch up the first foreward Airfield. It was good to be on the road. The French people were always as generous as their circum­ stances permitted. Along every road grownups and

children stood, hands held high, filled with eggs, tomatoes, cheeses, wine, cider, calvados; offerings to the "Americaine" yours for the taking. It was on this trek that every convoy, every serial, every individual vehicle got "lost" enroute. For Paris was between Alen­ gon and our future Airfields, and Paris beckoned with a siren's call —•—to say nothing of that most beautiful bevy of bared feminine knees our eyes had feasted on, ever. The recce teams had been at Romilly for some days long enough

for 50,000 bottles of cognac to have been "liberated" by Lieutenant Frick and his recce party. Needless to say, they received assistance in celebrating the liberation! As heavy equipment was stranded at Ro­ milly for two days due to the "gasoline shortage", S-3 andS-4, loaded with "cases", received the Battalion's Airstrip assignment, radio-ed the Battalion the future location, and headed for Conantre. Rain set in. For two days Captain Nelson and Captain Hudson, their drivers, Carey and Curtin, plus "A" Company's radio crew, were stranded at Conantre; with nothing to console them but a lean-to, a bonfire, and cases and cases of cognac! How "glad" (!) they were to see the Batta­ lion arrive there! Company "C" was the last to arrive, they'd taken a wrong turning and had detoured by way of Chateau Thierry, of World War I fame. Companies "A", "B" and Headquarters met; received word that Conantre had been cancelled because the front was fading away in the distance. The Regiment had moved up to Orconte. Major Ray started the Battalion forward, then went on ahead to find out our location. When he returned, the Battalion was split three ways, on construction. Companies "B" and "C" went up into the champagne country, to Vertus and Athis, and later to Reims; "A" Company and

Headquarters, with Battalion Headquarters, stopped at Vitry. This was 9 September. For the next two months the Battalion was to be a disjointed thing. "B" Company bounced between Vertus and Vitry and Reims, then settled into maintenance up there in the shadow of the famous Ca­ thedral. "C" Company got tired of shifting from Athis to Reims to Athis — — but they approved of the champagne country generally.

r

Who wouldn't? "A" Company nursed Vitry into being, with "B" and Headquar­ ters Company assistance, then took main­ tenance responsibilities in the St Dizier area. Battalion Headquarters was esta­ blished at Vitry's grassy meadow. It's first location was a boner on S-3's part, and Sergeant Johnson and Sergeant Hall ba­ rely got their tents out of that area be­ fore "A" Company began Battalion Headquarters moved liaison officer, Lieutenant Ossude, whom we called foot eight inches of Frenchman requii dem! and became i would let it! The many and var eluded, and the Battalion was assigned to the maintenance of ten Airfields: Rheims, Mourmelon, Prosnes, Vertus, Athis, S conte, Vitry, Perthus, St. Liviere. Almost at the same time ­ September 1944 orders from the Regiment directed us ti i top of them.

impany forward, to the vicinity of aent. Battalion Headquar­ orward and Rear CP. Major Ray, with his I Thomas, Captain Laing, Hanson and T/Sgt. Hall's S-l, proI uptown", in the swamps ]hief" could properly sweat nademoiselles on the highway; where Koonce could achieve of his splendid chow; and I best"! Good old Chaplain

Miller . . . his services were r in the Personnel tent, but the momeni him the corks popped and t into life. It was here also

strict!

had perambulated so spectacularly thus far, coughed and died. H it was, too, that the "old another man played it! The best work was all done at ] ight, at the Rear CP. The couriers coi night. And the reports had to be in the Regiment by 1000 in t morning. The foreward CP stewed tiently for a day, before Nancy, then wheeled about and

our winter location at Rosieres-enHaye. The construction of "Rosy" is covered elsewhere in this book, but for the general history of it what

a hell of an assignment that was! Some­ body sure must have had it in for us! The status of a villager in Rosiere­ en-Haye was measured by the height of the pile of steaming manure he had piled in front of his doorstep! At first we wouldn't believe that but we

did before the winter was over! We had our Catholic services in the an­ cient church in "Rosy", and marvelled at the beautiful stained glass windows, and at the crowded cemetery in the Churchyard, with ihe fancy headstones. We also kept guns trained on the Church Steeple night after night, dur­ ing the air raid activity, in a vain effort to catch someone who was signalling from there. And it was from "Rosy"

that Chaplain Miller left that men in the front line —H shortages there that you rea drove his jeep clear into the Metz before he realized it, am of being the first man ever to c es" were ever too big for I for chances to be taken. We did our first mortar firing a the 859th. And we saw Nancy (Cafes ­ and Mademoselles!) And we had

of Lieutenant Picketty, who replac­ ed "Punjab" as our French liaison officer. Those of us who knew Lieu­ tenant Picketty decided that the French weren't so bad after all! But the most remarkable of all the remarkable things at Rosy, was our friendly association with the Air Force. It was too remarkable that we ever got along with. And that long freeze at "Rosy". Nights so clear and so bright they shamed the daylight. Cold brittle cold through which the too unusual to be passed over. Colonel Bickell's 354th Fighter Group was the first of that lot

hourly striking of the church bell leaped like something electric. Continuous snow, crunching under the guards' feet like mutterings in anger. Ideal nights for the quick-striking Luftwaffe. The days were too, as "B" Company found out when the Luftwaffe singled their con­ voy out, at Metz, on New Years Day sort of celebration! The Battalion was all together again at Rosy. The last of them, includ­ ing the rear CP, had moved up on 31 October. The rear CP was, at that time, perched on a gravel bank overlooking the canal near St Di­ and gave them a particular

zier

the only dry spot in they

the country! Moving to Rosy was like pulling teeth wanted none of it! "A"and"B" Companies weren't so unhappy. They'd been having nightmar­ ish tioubles at Orconte. The hessian had gone to pieces. "A" Company was pouring concrete in the worst places, to repair it, and "B" Company was laying BRC over everything. They were both glad to release the job to our old friends of England, the 825th. Even if it did hurt their conscience! And in spite of the commendation they got from General Sanders for work­ ing day and night, voluntarily, to keep the runway in operation! The Battalion stayed at Rosieres-en-Haye until 4 March. Before this time Company "A" had re-built the roads in the dump at Barisey-laCote, and Company "C" had built another cub strip at St Avoid, France. Then on 4 March we were assigned reconstruction of NancyEssay, for a TAD. Lt. Colonel Ray was' detached for some special work for 2nd Brigade, organizing the French maintenance set-up, Major Thomas took over the Battalion. Lt. Howard, in the absence of his boss who was enjoying a well deserved rest, engineered the NancyEssay job. It was one of the smoothest and fastest moving jobs the Battalion had turned out yet. Only one regrettable feature marred it; one of our men lost his life during re-construction of a hangar.

t was at this time that Company " I was sent to the southern part of Franc; on maintenance 'ouch an, and Lyon. The i
r

e airfields;Dole,Dijon,Luxieuil, lied old times to the men, > < , and so they were greeted > the French, flying Ame­ y

pied by the Americans, flying B-26's. ium bombei mir men, by then. The 71st lion was working on Dole when "C" H e way they handled their Vs dodging that equipment,

they marvelled at the capacities and e nery. "C" Company told us whe they were glad to be back, that Germany —• —• but it was like prying them them away

from that country of love and abundant white wine before we actu ally got them back into the Battalion again, on ! But the Battalion's time in France was ended 31 March. On 1 April April Fools' Day—Easter Day. headed north, from Nancy, travelling into Germany by way o guemines, Kaiserslautern, Worms. Tht

H>ite of its justness. The a-looking people, w js in little wagons, tramping lelplessness of fixed forti­ ;y bumped over battered, liegfried Line, through hundreds of ab­ 3, and lines of thousands of rowded Rhine river crossing, on I the far side; then Biblis. 1 the Battalion and crossed the Rhine I*Iadt, then proceeded south

to begin construction at Bibli Battalion Headquarters arrived, "I born for another assignm for breath at Biblis. Later there for the rest of it's stay in this area. impany "A" had Biblis 1 Headquarters stopped

cleared, graded and marked by 5 April. The planes of the ther Group flew their first mission off I ing to the recorded dates, Biblis was one of the first fighter fields operational east of the Rhine. We travelled our first autobahns betwee Jiblis and Buttleborn. They

were fine highways

but nothing "super-super" in

our humble opinion. The finest feature about them was the abundance of antelope in the forests alongside! They made good hunting! As soon as Biblis was operational all but a few men were concentrated at Buttleborn. Here also was where we first assumed the role of "Conquerors". Exercising their rights, "B" Company, having no fit place to live, moved the civilians from three blocks of houses, and they, and then the Battalion, moved into the area. It seemed easy but it brought hundreds of little,

irritating complications; pestering requests from the for­ mer inhabitants. And it was almost impossible to avoid fraternization, with the civilian kids under foot, and then with the frustrated frauliens leaning their buxom bosoms over the window sills, only a short American alley-width distance across the street separating us!

126

Buttleborn Braunschardt —

later re-named was a German

soil cement runway. Our job was to plank the hole in the middle of it, and to lay a plank taxiway and BRG hardstands. It was our first introduction to aluminun plank, PAP. PAP was alright—•—-except for the excessive hauling it entail­ ed; convoy after convoy from as far as Barisey-la-Cote, France. It delayed the plank laying. To offset the delay, Captain "Doc" Donahue offered the assistance of his Me­ dics. (Besides, "Doc" wanted a leave to Nancy!). Anyway, day af­ ter day, "Doc", his Medics, Batta­ lion Headquarters men, Chaplain Bell, and Captain Moses, our Den­ tist, laid PAP and held the

field record for quantity laid!

German soil cement got it's testing a few days after we had closed the gap in the runway. A crippled B-17 winged in. The runway crumbled like loose sand, and the B-17 rolled out into the culti­ vated land beyond, and stayed there for the duration. The crew got out of it demanding, "Where are we—in Germany?" We wanted to tell them that we wished they weren't! Braunschardt completed, Heavy Equipment was again dispatched forward. Then Company "B". On 18 April, the last of the Battalion moved also, thru the shattered city of Darmstadt, along the Main River, and on toward Furth, following the string of "Old Crow" directional signs set out by S-3 surveyors. On the same day, Lieute­ nant Colonel Ray and Captain Bushby moved onto the site of the German Airfield at Furth and made a quick recce of the Field while the men of the Rainbow Division were still fighting their way across it. The site was acceptable the Battalion was moved onto the

Airfield that afternoon. Heavy Equipment was working there that same day; we slept in the German's barracks that night the smell

of the Germans not yet out of them; their women still having to be run out. Airtillery, American and German, was firing over our heads.

Furth again brought home the advan­ tage of following upon the heels of the Infantry; there was booty galore to be had for everyone! Parachutes, pistols, swords, shotguns, tennis rac­ quets, boots, jackets, typewriters (so badly needed in the Battalion!) draft­ ing equipment, generators, trucks, trai­ lers • the Battalion was equipped

to start over again! But there was only one thought uppermost in the minds of the men of the Battalion as they picked what they wanted, and that was, "How the hell much longer can the bastards hold out?" But since they were holding out, our work was cut out for us. R-28 at Furth was marked out as an S & E Strip, and a study was made for the possibi­ lities of a Photo Recce Field. On that

day R-30, across the road, a German concrete runway, was not uncovered but on the next day details of "A" Company were there repairing bomb craters. We got orders then to lay out a sod field at R-28, and to get ready for hessian God help us!

on an extension to the concrete runway on R-30. The sod the Germans had plowed furrows through on R-28 was replaced by hand and rolled. A platoon of Company "A" was sent to Herzogenaurach, R-29, to lay out an S & E Strip, and then immediately recalled, and the job given to the 834th. Lieutenant Frick, now the Air Recce Officer of 2nd Brigade, flew in and recommended an S & E Strip at Buschwabach, later R 42, and a pla­ toon of Company "B" was dispatched

as

• '•• »•;•,

1 1

there immediately

20 April.

Orders came assigning the respon­ sibility for S & E Strips at the front line of the 20th Corps, wher­ ever that might be. Two platoons of Company "B" were assigned to that task. Things got hectic. "B" Company's first foreward site was along the Danube at Regensburg. The Germans held Regensburg doggedly; when they were finally blasted out of it, the Army traffic across the single pontoon bridge was too heavy to allow anyone from the "Air Force" passage! "B" Company wouldn't wait for traffic to lessen. Finding themselves a rowboat, a kyak, and three scows, they rowed across the Danube and laid out their first strip in front of the army. After that it was a race, at almost an airfield a day, through Bavaria and into Austria. V-E Day found them at Enns and glad it was over.

The rest of the Battalion rolled up it's sleeves and tackled the mean­ est job of it's career hessian construction at R-30 where hess­

ian was all but impossible, and in the face of what was planned !o

CERTIFICATE OF GOOD WILL

Sorn

Fund Administered by the American Red Ct*oss "Stars and Stripes* War Orphans Fund Committee

i
Red Cross

HL4

Editor * "Stars and Stripes

. . . "Collen B" Chelmsford, England. "Adopted" March 1, 1944, through our contributions to the Stars and Stripes War Orphan Fund.

Kenneth Dougherty William H. Sexton Roy L. Carr Victor J. Hellman James J. Lally, Jr. Herman V. Hooper

•err a
Aloysius C. Eck Lawrence J. Murphy Clarence F. Morse Maurice J. Alleman Grover D. Rotlgers

Elden Mart Krai 1 rank K. Nelson

ZtZ ing Bulldoger

of the Buck­

such was the air­

strip in this war. And this is the story of one of them. It is not a manual for but it is the airstrip construction way one airstrip was built, and it embo­ dies all the arts and* the wiles of air­ strip construction. It is the story of this Battalion's representative airstrip, of Rosieres-en-Haye Now, airstrip building is easy our muddy "Rosy". according to your manual. There

is nothing to it. You have fine equipment allotted to you (your equip­ ment was the envy of every combat engineer unit you met, from Cherbourg to Straubing), you have a handpicked Table of Organiza­ tion which gives you trained men for every job (reconnaisance, equipment, weapons), you have a smooth chain-of-command all marked out for you (you were under the 9th Air Force, subject to the IX Engineer Command, 2nd Engineer Aviation Brigade, and 926 Engineer Aviation Regiment), your supply problems, including POL and spare parts, were all planned so that they would be handled by routine requisition procedure. Everything was to be like clockwork. IX Engineer Command would be notified by 9th Air Force, through XIX TAC, that an airstrip was

us say in the vicinity of Nancy, France. By their charts IX EC n the sector assigned to the 2nd Engineer Aviation Brigade. >ns Officer, calls 2nd Brigade and requests a reconnaisance of the area, estahlishment of a site, and ction. 2nd Brigade then looks at its charts, orders legiment to "recce" te area, establish a site, linary Layout, (a design ir an airstrip there) and to

:o construct. 926 Engineer Aviation Regiment calls for Battalion reccs parties by radio, a s a Battalion, sets a

construction from the orders passed down to them, trip is practically built.

BUT

! There's a ivar on.

And somehody dropped that ma­ nual overhoard when they were trying to get their feet on the ground at Utah Beach! The 926 EAR looked at its charts again, and found all its recce parties to he way down south of Nancy. All of its Battalions were already con­ structing, all except the 850th, and the 850th, except for one detach­ ment, was maintaining ten airfields a long ways off in the rear. It's one detachment, an advance element of Heavy Equipment, Head­ quarters Company, and Bn HQ, was heating its gums on the out­ skirts of Nancy, waiting for the artillery to dislodge the Krauts from the town so the Infantry could get at them. (The Detachment knew this hecause it had heen chased out of town hy rifle fire.) And they were waiting to go on up to Luneville their objective. But something had to he done quickly. The Air Corps had to get strips up closer to the

141

down to a stop. Winter was coming on. rauts weren'1 dislodged from the Moselle very shortly they'd is all winter. The pressure went on from z top. It was passed down to Brigade. The Brigade Commander did not wait, but recce-ed irea by plane. A hogback ridge of culti­ lity of the small village of Rosieres-en Haye ngth, width, and drainage. That was more r a hasty airstrip. He made his decision. 926 Hrecce; begin constructing immedia­ 850th was radio-ed the coordinates. e within two hours after the call was made

Yes, we had fine equipment

only it was scattered all over

France, besides being half beat to I assignments. We had a fine Table of ' disorganized by Bn assignments cov^B of distance. Half of our key men ^ ^ | Armies were devouring POL and spare parts fast be brought forward, and besides, they wanted nothing to do with the "Air Force". The Air Force itself was too far back to be of any assi­ stance. But orders are orders. Sgt. Kerlin the advance element of the 850th, T upon Nancy, and upon the 21st of Capt. Nelson through a thick, soupy fog, into a wooded bivouac are west of the little French country village of Rosieres-en-Haye. And there I found "Rosy". The usual organized confusion attended the setting up of camp. As in all Hasty Airfield work, the mission was foremost. :ompj

Before the operators had a chance to wash the dust of travel off their faces "Mac" was ordered to get the cat and sheepsfoot roller out onto the site even before the "site" was definite. Bn Hq

was picked. It was to be a clump of woods off by itself, near the Company area — — but Bn Hq was nothing but a bedroll beside a clump of trees until construction on the new airstrip was actually started. 1st Sgt. "Robby" Robinson was moving like a sleep-walker trying to get the many immediate details from over-running one another. "Tents over here!" "Who's got the axe?" seen my bedroll?" "Latrines down there!" "Have you

"Where's the sledge?"

"When do we eat?" While on the hogback

Lt. Col. Ray and Capt. Nelson bounced and jounced in the Old Man's jeep, from furrow to furrow, up and down the length of the proposed runway, choosing the best possible location, and T/Sgt. Jim Frazier, his transit snooping for a center-line, literally pushed the fog aside

•>.

so his survey crew could punch stakes on the first of their many, 'Benskins" Mills stoically bouncing the "Mud­ hen", his weapons carrier, along after him. On that first day at Rosy decisions were made rapidly. In spite of its first airstrip completed in this. area, if the Old Man had his way about it. Company "C" was called forward by radio. Heavy Equipment began punching the French far­ mers' acres of vegetables and alfalfa to pulp with a dogged obe­ i astonished and incredulous presence, even beLight swallowed them up. Tents were : guard's disconsolate trudge osy from then on out.

Not even in those first, "easy" days. The brusque, forceful of those first two days was like a breath off the Normandy Beaches. Every usable piece of equipment was gnawin; ing at the earth. Cats and pans dug into the risin; zero end of the strip and dumped their loads over le adjoini

with a disdainful indifference; the ditcher gnawed its way straight across the middle of the I across it; the graders began to cut a road to the gasoline storage tank site adjoining highway N411 from Toul; the sheepsfoot roller was whirling its many steel fists into the sparse stubble area where the grade met the existing surface of the ground just as it was, directly for surfacing. Hessian had been order­ ed as the surfacing of the runway. So a compacted one hundred twenty foot width of smooth, sloping ground was all that was desired. Hessian could be slapped down on Rosy's clay belly, with the "stamp lickers" already available at Regt., al­ most just as it lay when we first got

147

there, and be an acceptable Hasty Airfield. And the rest of the grading could be done while the hessian was being laid. "C" Company arrived and slid out of sight in under the trees across highway N411, and rolled up tbeir sleeves and asked for an assign­ ment. It looked like another fast job for the 850th. Then the rains came. Working in the rains at Rosy wasn't like work­ ing in the rain anyplace else we'd been. It didn't rain respectably. It rained persistently, perpetually, and it rained preposterously. The whole countryside became a gummy clay bog that jellied under traffic; sticky jelly that squeezed about tires and gripped them and held them tight. For the first time in its crack-pot career the 850th mired to it's knees and stood gasping. Ration trucks couldn't get into the area. Nothing could get out of it that wasn't dragged out with a tractor. Major Nelson, having picked this area originally, discreetly found work to do in his S-3 tent while HQ Company pulled itself out

148

of the mire and set itself up in the village opposite. Then "C" Com­ pany followed. They were in tents still but on meadow. "Hasty

Airfield" construction at Rosy died in a quagmire!
While productive work was forced to a standstill all of our trucks,
and some of the Regiment's, hauled hessian and hessian and hessian.
8RC and hessian. Hundreds of tons of it. Nothing could stop it.
Only when gasoline gave out did the inrush even hesitate. S-4 pulled some strings, the Motor Pool searched farther afield, we got more gas and the deluge continued. "Pappy" Dodge looked woefully

at that mountain of hessian, and he looked at the runway, where now not even tractors in tandem could manipulate and he swore.

Because he knew that that hessian would never be left laying there beside highway N411; that if it wasn't used up it would have to be carted back again. And he did not believe there would ever be an airstrip at Rosy! And it seemed he was right when even the

road to the gas storage tank site disappeared as the mud oozed up over the stone, and the road had to be completely abandoned.

The bedraggled detachment shook the rain from took stock of its problems. First and foremost came the matter of living. The little French village of Rosieres-en-Haye had accepted them stoically. None of the waving and cheerin happy people of the Brittany Peninsula. Bn HQ picked themselves out an apple orchard behind a shell-battered farmhouse to move into. The little old lady who looked like a witch, who owned it, ob­ jected. The village "maire" shrugged his shoulders and told her, " you don't let them in, they will come in anyway. C'est la guerre." And so Bn HQ moved in little old lady was out before s peaked cap and long black dress, picking up the apples that had fallen to the ground durii "steal them"! HQ Company dispersed itself throug above the village, with Sgt. Aker's mess set up i junction at the bottom, and the Medics ii and every mornin;

Chaplain Miller, God bless him, between the Medics and Bn HQ. Capt. "Sam" Cable's Company "C" huddled along a stone wall in a meadow on the north edge of town, trusting more in God Almighty for protection, than in dispersal and camouflage. And the Motor Pool settled permenantly and with relative comfort in the tavern-farm buildings at the cross-roads of highways N411 (Toul—Pont-a-Mous­ son) and N408 (St. Mihiel-Nancy). Then the Bn returned to their airstrip. It was a meadow of ten thou­ sand puddles. Every wheel rut and cat track was a rivulet. Where the sheepsfoot roller had trod was a water-trapped mire. One thing was evident. Drainage was paramount. And stone was a necessity. Rosy was no longer a "Hasty Airstrip". Rosy was a project.

152

The 850th abruptly became materials conscious. P it was going to be required. And brick and stone

hand tools. An abandoned stone quarry was opened, between Motor Pool and Dieulouard, and tournapulls were acquired from the Regiment. Thousands and thousani onto the dip in the east third to life that tie-in road fr urnapul

and grew thicker and thickei deeper and deeper into the soft t five feet thick More stone and still a such as

—when we 1 - was discovered on the site

of the airfield. The Old Man decided to put six inches of stone over

unway, and a foot and a half of stone over all access implish this feat, continuous hauling was inaugurated. Headaches for the Motor Pool multiplied. The dead­ line list became nightmarish. And parts were legitimately unobtain­ able. It was at this time that the "850th Engr Avn Bn" became the •s", and by virtue of downright necessity became a "part" n were in the vicinity when the )1 discovered a new Depot or junk lgenuity and glibness, and the skill and endurance of Lt. Paynter's and of ' ihorts kept the 850th in motion,

ime the 850th literally moved mountains. They hauled

154

onto the airfield mountains scraped off mountains of clay (not once, h "Who the hell moved that mountain answers. "Well whoever

again!") And they moved thousam s of tons of materials. And while doing it, though bitching and j ing and evening, their own small army o The French laborers were the keynote of 1 tion". Enterprise Duval, the French contracting firr nished the assistance in labor. T ragged army. They were men whc had worked for their living factories of Pompey, Dieulouard, Pont-a-Mousson, Foug, Ti two hundred of them at first, then five hundred of them in all at the last. This working in the mud, with a shovel or an axe, was a new experience for them. Working with the "Americaine" was also a novel experience. And working the

155

le first few weeks, under the bombastic impetuosity of Lt. McLaughlin, will np Frenchman will ever for­ get! Nor will Lt. McLaughlin! Nor anyone else them. But the Frenchmen were usefi every phase of the work on fact, they were advantageous 3 the peace-of-mind at Bn Headquarters. S-3 and the Old Man locked horns over them on almost every assign­ — as you will all of you very well rea­ always won, and "Mac's frogs" got regular,, responsible assignments with the EM on all projects. The work they fine headwall around the full length of the road rimmed Rosy like a lace collar) but they were

1 their first work assignments after the 850th had War couldn't wait for them. But it should be admitted that if it hadn't been for those French­

150

men during the early phases of construction would not have had Rosy ready for the bold part when it came to ramming the Ardennes offe the ditches open for us as we over the access roads. But it was always < huge D8 cat roar and wallow a lessly in the mud—•—and tl man slop up to it to dig a ditc water could run off and the cat couli mountain of indignities to get Rosy constructed. During the month of October the gods graced Rosy witl spell of sunshine. Making i the swale in the runway was completed. The access road was pushed a little bow-leg

on around one side of the field. The sur­ face of the runway was smoothed. 2nd Brigade orders discontinued the use of stone on the runway, hut slag was okayed. Slag was hauled from Pompey for a long time then until the Moselle River

went on a rampage and flooded the slag pile. The haul route then was extended to Pont-a-Mousson, and the stone surface was covered. During the dry spell the clay surface was readied for hessian, was rolled and compacted. But it was never completed. We had had our period of grace. And the rain gods were now to make up for it. Rain, rain, rain. But it did hring one blessing to Rosy. It cancelled the hessian. Higher HQ changed the runway sur­ face requirement to PSP (Pierced Steel Plank) on straw, over slag. At the same time they released Companies "A" and "B" from main­ tenance, hack at Reims and St. Dizier. Both Companies arrived at Rosy on the last of October. Small arms fire had drifted away, artil­ lery fire was distant, and the Luftwaffe had long been dormant, so

dispersal was not required of the new arrivals. The neat rows of tents ir er looked odd there at Rosy. It was now hint­ ed, too, that we migl Faces screwed up at the thought c it, but, being practical ­ various concoctions in buildings began to spring up immediately. Mess halls, shower rooms, day rooms. The 850th looked man outfit. In the midst of the changes one suggestion came from Capt. "Doc" Donohue that will never be forgotten. Headquarters mess had to be moved. Do Sgt. Akers put it in the meadow just across the road from where it was. And almost the very next morning it was knee deep in water. "Lake Donahue" will be famous forever. Job re-assignments were immediately forthcoming. Capt. Plunkett was relieved of Company "A" and given

lirecting and controlli ; them, through Henri Vehert, the . Marshall and Ramsay and :r in administration, mess, supply, he stn o keep order out of what cona babbling chaos. His first uproar transported on an open trailer, ruck shortages. Every Frenchman on that trailer looked like [-hole, and howled about it (with good he was heard all over the airfield. The trailers became result of it. And Madame Duval, and the Baroness, and the Mademoiselles, and the twins, and Capt. Plunkett -but good gracious, that was their business.

160

Company "C" had the timbei the corduroy hardstands. 1 was "woods boss". And ihere has procedure. As soon as Lt. Picketty, our French liaison officer, cleai ed the woods for us, French labi trees that we desired. Our power saws then nippe( them off as they were match-sticks. Thei (and one horse-ox combin we could show some accomplishment open. From there D7 and 2 < three quarter mile to th onto twenty-ton trailers, I hardstands. The men of Lt. "Little Joe" Zielinske's Platoon man­ handled them into place. They made beautiful hardstands 5 logs out into the

we would have been building them yet if we had built one hund­ red fifty of them as projected! Three were completed, then the pro­ ject was abandoned in favor of stone, although one BRC-brick-BRC hardstand was constructed and it was a beauty! the laying

Company "A" and Company "B" drew the headache

of PSP on the runway and taxiway (except for "C" Company's Xmas

tree hardstand). And the laying of plank on Rosy was a pain in categorical places, if ever there was one. Laying started from the quarter points and proceeded in either direction. Trucks could not be allowed on the subgrade, nor would the Old Man allow them on the laid plank either. Slag for the subgrade had to be dumped on the side of the runway and hand-moved into place to a depth of four inches. All plank was dumped onto the shoulders and hand-carried onto the runway, often for distances up to fifteen hundred feet. The runway shoulders became so rutted and sloppy that the cats had to drag trailers and trucks along them to the complete conster­

nation of Lt. Paynter. The laid-plank slid off center-line during lay­ ing and had to be pulled back time and again. As Company "B" closed

163

the center of 1 e runway a deluge so heavily flooded the area that the I ed across t L the gooey muck that pour­ mlder on the uphill side. s last two feet of the runway not to mention what was lost of the otherwise smooth, even tempers of Company "B". ( condition. ng, and the hauling of materials. Rosy Company, and of every driver they ley had ever learned about equipment ucking was wasted on Rosy. Twenty-four hour haul­ uipment that would move And the runway was in a very questionable

164

under its own power, at a rate faster than that of a slow-walking ox, was hounded for a reason every time it stopped, even if only for long enough to get its aching joints greased, and its thirsting tank filled with gasoline. Even Sgt. McClennan's theretofore on him. Men pounded out their there. When the slag pile at Pompey flooded ; Pont-a-Mousson began "bug-lights" were still the < The roads were narrow, slippery whe greased glass, during the freeze. Passir ing at lightning, and stra common. Shattered villages, broken tanks, the thui

were constant reminders that caution was the best policy. But there was no time for caution, or production would drop, and there would be an accounting to be made for the Old Man. Trucking was brutal at Rosy. So was equipment operation when it was possible. T moving. But work plished today would not have to be done tomorrow. But when ed roads, with a slag bottom am went to pieces under —• —• men grew bitter. New stone pits were opened to short* and lessen road loads. Acres and acres of stone pits were opened. And still roads went

But Rosy finally succumbed to the beligerent, continuous efforts of men and machinery, and the Battalion's impatient persistence. The PSP runway and taxiway were laid, and the BRC hardstands. When forty hardstands were completed the first of the P-47's descended upon us. They were beautiful to behold but a trial and a pro­

blem. The taxiway curled and sank under them. They were too great a load for just slag, over that soft, clay belly of Rosy. Before the Group changed over to P-51's we had half of our work on the taxiway to do over again. The taxiway was re-built while they were using it, by lifting the PSP and laying large stones under the wheeltracks. After that the hardstands had to be enlarged to keep the planes on them. By then the mud had begun to pump through the runway. There was no rest to be had for men or machinery at Rosy! was soon evident thai airstrip be kept operational! The Old Man radio-ed for a rockcrusher. One was forthcoming, and as soon as "Mac's" crew could

get it repaired so i stockpile, six t
was i

the 1 Battalion transport g( ing job of returning tains of BRC and hessian that wer exception of the very small and some that went Company. Then suddenly win

icy, and so severe that machinery had to be started up and run at regular intervals all day and all night if any use were to be expected of it. Snow and ice never left the ground for a month and a half. Temperatures ranged from six below zero to sixteen degrees above zero. The ice got thicker and thicker. Snow was common and fre­ quent. Plane operation was brutally hazardous. No one who saw it will ever forget how the planes of the 354th fought through the frost-mist night after night to get onto the runway, barely managing to find it before it got dark, when for days they could hardly see it! Every man in the Battalion including Bn X was assigned

to the runway on maintenance, except for those who were building

Hangar, But the planes never The dangers connected with >r two of the Frenchmen, for a Frenchman's reason never could cope a P-47 one day over-rode and chopped two of them to pieces. But, day and night, all the ent kept ploughing at the runway. It was that the 354th Fighters managed their scoop of G rman equipment ulge foray of late Decem­

that one raid alone paid for the grief ^Ms over! ! Some attempt was made to alleviate the dreariness

of it by setting up an EM' indulgence in the I & E program, b

Club, and i the trips to Nancy remained

always the biggest attraction. Even when air activity became severe over Rosy. And that last week in December becam England. Strafing and bombing were frequent. Company Strf rows were dispersed in a Jerry. We could tell when he was coming

During the freeze the rock crusher kept chewing up the stone, and a sizeahle stockpile was made ready. As soon as enough stone was on hand, a complete re-habilitation job on the runway was begun. For night after night, all night long, Company "C" and then "B" Com­ pany too, rolled back the PSP on the runway and laid, graded and rolled six inches of stone for a subgrade. The surveyors learned how to survey in the darkness. Great floodlights made wierd shadowy shapes of 'dozers and trucks, and of men. But the whole job was com­ pleted and covered with hessian, and the PSP relaid, with only one halt in the project. There was a halt on the day that the thaw came. The thaw came abruptly to Rosy. One day the thermometer said zero. Snow laid heavily on the ground. Then that night the thermo­ meter jumped and it rained and the long freeze was over. The

thermometer never again went below freezing. All the snow melted in two days. Torrents of water ran riot everywhere. Every man and

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done, but the airfield was V were stinging the G rmans The Frenchmen still had and flak tower expei was finished. The B with the one big li richly illustrated by the I Rosy. It happened when work had becom( repair of our own equipm Men grumbled about details, liked to loaf in their dayrooms. Then one noontime a P-51, taking off on a r at the center of I hole made a smear 1 3 bombload unexpected accident to I maintenance and rcilessly. Work continued, of course.

was strewn all over the vifl the Battalion, looked at the hole and phoned his Comm the runway would be inoperational for t air would have to be brougl the conscience of the 850th the Battalion was already on the job am selves out of their lethargy they s in that hole in two hours, scheduled. Rosy had taugh have someone depending on you fhen the flight came home il landed as 850th the time to do anything. elsewhere. Bu t the flight in

Capt. Bushby, leading Company "B" to the new airfield site at Camp Meucon, stopped his convoy in newly liberated and tumultuous Van­ nes, while he went forward in his command car in search of the air­ field. To say that the boys of Company "B" were dumped right into Seventh Heaven would be a gross understatement. It was the first lime they ever had alcoholic beverages thrust upon them by beauti­ ful mademoiselles! And never were they the ones to refuse any such hospitality! Captain Bushby returned in about an hour. Unsuspectingly he led his convoy to the airfield, stopped the trucks in the bivouac area and commanded, "Fall out!" No command of Capt. Bushby's ever before met with such spontaneous obedience. His men did fall out, to the last man literally, on their faces for the most part. The error by close

in their ways was pointed out to them the next day

order drill in a blazing sun, then to work. All they could say was, "It's hell sometimes, building airfields in a newly liberated country."

We'd been at Vannes, on the south side of the Brittany Peninsula, for at least two weeks. We knew we'd seen very few tanks, and these had all been pulled off the road, and concealed under branches. We

hadn't even thought about Infan­ try; they were always taken for granted. No one was supplying us on the airfield, and we daily dis­ patched trucks all over the countryside for local materials. Then one day a Lt. Colonel from the 6th Armored Division visited our officer's mess hall. His unit was relieving one of the 4th Armored Division, and he was checking his area. His quiet appearance of puzzlement as we discussed our haulage problems and our proposed reconnaisance for materials, seemed peculiar.We wondered what was the matter with us. He cleared that matter up for us when he left us. Shaking hands with each officer individually he told us: "I've sure got to hand it to you people. There's been nothing but a small Armored Patrol in this area at any time. The Infantry has never been near here. And the vicinity is lousy with Germans!" (We looked at each other and wished more and more he never had told us!)

188

At Rosieres-en-Haye the selection of the mess hall site for H & S Company fell to our "Doc" Donahue. After a great deal of weighty consideration "Doc" pointed to a lovely little valley right next to the road and said to "Brush-face" Akers, the mess Sergeant, "There, Al, is the spot for it." Al shrugged, for the Frenchmen had warned them both. But up went the mess tents. The weather was nice, and all went fine for a few days. THEN CAME THE RAIN! KP's took

to wearing hip boots, and "Brush-face" longingly fondled his meat cleaver whenever anyone mentioned "that damn medic". The mess hall, by necessity, was moved up the hill to a new site, and the place where it stood will always be famous to us as "Lake Donahue".

It's a Sunday afternoon, full of peace and quiet. The time is June, 1960. From outside are heard the shrill and lusty voices of an eager brood of youngsters at play, and they seem a marked contrast to the snoring tones of the sleeper within. The sleeper's stockinged feet that so boldly rest on the window sill are a part of the round slumping body. The position in which he is reclining, while inglorious, would have caused a contortionist to sigh with envy. The Sunday paper is strewn over a carpeted floor; the very same floor that has absorbed countless cigar ashes. Both to the consternation of the Mrs. and the dismay of the spouse. The placid face of the sleeper wrinkles, grins sheepishly, puckers, and undergoes countless other changes. From benignness to sorrow, from anxiety to humor. Such moods of temperament warrant some sort of an investigation. We shall explore the myriad depths that cause these rapt expressions. Follow along, for we draw aside the curtain and enter another world. Well, what have we here? This ditch, heaven help us, seems familiar. Can it be, is it really the old French Drain? Draw me a mild and bitter, this is England. I'd give tuppence ha penny for a familiar face right now. Talk about the devil, can it be, is it human? Why it's Mac,

old Rubherhead himself. That must be Phil catching merry heck. "You know, Lieutenant, Lincoln freed the slaves!" Same old Phil. Hey, Fennel, be at ease a minute, willya? I never saw a guy yet who could out talk and out work that Pennsylvania Flash. Uh uh, there he goes. Fennel moving that stone again. Mac sure will be proud of the footage tonight. Look at Dusty taking a break. What the hell have we got a ditcher for if we must dig by hand? Say, isn't that Dale over there with McLaughlin? Let's get a load of this, gang. "Dale," says Mac, "how come you men don't go to church as often as you used to? While working on the Drain all you guys were as religous as all get out." "Ah, Lieutenant, those were

ihe praying days, all of us praying for a better job. Hell no, I haven't got a cigarette." Look at this, gang, and remember. Is that the good Lieutenant stand­ ing at attention? Hey, he's saluting too! Oh Mac you sure are telling that 2nd Lieutenant off! Mighty sharp there Egbert. McLaughlin sure has got you going. Aw come now take it easy, you'll burst a blood vessel. If Paynter ever ma­ kes CO, Mac, you've really had it.

Hit the ditch! Hit the ditch! Well how you feeling, there goes that man again. Watch it John Lewis. Mac is wise to that clothes rack. Listen to the man get excited willya. "Wanna get killed, get the hell out of that bed, Shaeffer, that's an order." Better go Shaeffer, Redhead looks mighty sharp tonight. Hey who is that crawling back to the tent? —• — The sleeper snores contentedly. He is still deep in the almost

forgotten past. Let's linger a while longer. Youth cannot be recaptur­ ed, but the almost forgotten days seem to inject a new spirit. Me­ mories, like rare old masterpeices, grow more precious with the passing years. So let's hike back to the past for just a little while longer. Sergeant, take the pan off a 'Pull and attach a sheepsfoot. Sergeant, change tires on that piece of equipment. And have the axles straigh­ tened out." Things are tough all over. Come on now Stortz, don't lose your temper. Remember, God and an Act of Congress made them officers and gentlemen. Who are we common mortals to interfere?

"Tyrell, where is Tyrell?"

"There he goes Sir, in that plane."

"Damn it, come back here Tyrell. By God he's AWOL!" That's our boy Terry. Always in trouble with Sponge. "Tyrell, come out from behind that fence. I've got you now, by God. I'll bust you for this sure, Tyrell. AWOL." Well look who's back in camp. The parts man himself. "What say, T. C ? " (Travelling Corporal.) Listen to those excuses willya. "Gee, boss, you know it takes time to get parts and make contacts. Listen to the latest, Manuel ." "OK, OK, what did you bring

back? You've got more stories than Carter has liver pills. Better make yourself scarce. Mac wants to see you as soon as you get back." — —Wham! Like an .88 a tousel-headed kid hits the sleeper. For a while he gazes at the kid, his face a mixture of consternation and sheepishness. This sudden change from the realm of yesterday to the reality of today is too sudden. "Daddy, we been playing sojer. I remembered your medals, the red and green ones. Daddy, tell me again how you captured 90 Ger­ mans and helped win the war." — "Well, son, it happened like this. Here we are on this hill. Surround­ ing us were tanks and artillery —

I thought I had learned a lot as a civilian, but I had lots more to

\
learn in the Army. I learned what it was like to take a gloomy train ride away from my wife, into an unknown world of Khaki, where unsympathetic so called "Brass" ruled by command, and the word "Greetings!" had lost its dancing charm. I learned that you remember the guy whom you went through hardships with better than anyone else in the world. I never really believed I would ever get into Battle but I learned differently. I learned that unlike the movies I had seen, you sneaked aboard a ship at night, and slept in a space a medium sized rabbit couldn't turn around in; that boat drill was like reshuffling sardines in a can. In Scotland I learned how good it was to get back on land again, and how hard it is to carry on your back what should be carried by a six by six truck. I learned the Britsh were glad to see us but that they were not par­

ticulary impressed by the fact that the Americans were winning the war. I learned the English Channel isn't very wide but that it was too wide for Adolph and just the distance for Americans and Bri­

tish, working together, to make a landing on the other side. I learned that Utah and Omaha Beaches were peacefvil looking sand beaches where lots and lots of our boys were laying as we passed by. I saw French kids and Mademoiselles with their backs to their ruined homes, still smiling and giving the V-Sign as we piled through. This made me feel good as it taught me the value of Freedom. I learned that hedgerows may he nice for Normandy farmers but death-traps for fighting men. I've learned that what happens during peace time is what causes wars. I've learned that SOME­ BODY has to stop the next one, because I don't want my son to be in it, and I'm beginning to learn that that SOMEBODY is ME.

195

One winter day in 1943 at Stansted, England, the handpick­ ed crew of men erecting the steel trusses of the hangar were so stiff with the cold that wrenches were difficult to hold onto. Lt. Smith, in charge, was standing below them, observing the progress of a door erection at the end of the hangar. Suddenly a wrench from above landed just at his feet. Startled, Lt. Smith looked up, and scowled into the face of Pvt. Del Signore, staring down from the steel just above him. "Say, did you do that on purpose?" Lt. Smith demanded. Del Signore grinned. "Hell, sir, if I'd have done it on purpose I wouldn't have missed you."

**/. can't get no lower, Willie. Me buttons is in th' way'

Vivid in the minds of all men who were there are the cold frosty nights at Rosieres-en-Haye, just preceding and during the break­ through. The brilliant moonlight was so bright our tents were sil­ houetted in the snow like burnt holes in a white blanket. The Luft­ waffe was making a hard bid to put even us out of commission. Nightly that low, murmuring noise, familiar to every ear, droned in from the East. Curses greeted it, and the voices of men muttering, "Here come the sons-of-bitches again out of the sack into

the foxholes!" And, "Man the .50's!" All this time the noise drew steadily closer. The Jerries usually came down over N411, in ones or twos. Sometimes they would pass over and go on out of hearing. But only to return to strafe hell out of everything. As soon as they fired, the tracers from our .50's would fill the air. It was like the Fourth of July in December only colder than hell, and not pretty. The

Lord was really on our side the night they dumped the load of anti­ personnel bombs just beyond the Motor Pool, and just short of "A1" Company. Everyone who looked at the bomb pattern in the snow knew what a mess it would have been if the Jerry had dropped that bomb load two seconds earlier or perhaps two seconds later.

The extent of the German's effort made the seriousness of the break-through evi­ dent to all of us — — there was a certain tension in the air and smiles were less spontaneous. But not generally known was the fact that plans were completed in Bat­
'Just gimme til' aspirin. I already got a lJurple Heart.

talion Headquarters at this time for con­ version of the whole unit to an Infantry outfit - • — ready to go into the line. In addition, plans for a last ditch defense of the airfield were made, in the event of a breakthrough in our sector. Then we wait­ ed listening tensely to every news

T/if's damn /ree leaks."

broadcast on the radio, trying to get the latest intelligence information. But the break-through never reached us. Slowly the tide of war turned and the bulge became history. But not so lightly but what each man realized then that the war was not won yet. The breakthrough was always talked

'W/u5( 6e a lough objective. Th' old man says we're gonna have ih' honor of liberalin] it"

about with a sober thoughtfulness.

Captain Dodge was leading a convoy of heavy equipment from Cher­ bourg to Vannes. It was the second convoy he had brought down over those hundreds of miles of rough roads, and the wear and tear on his tail bone was getting the better of his patience. He had gone as far as Gael when he was stopped by a Captain of an Infantry outfit. "'You can't go any farther," he was told. "My men are advancing on Gael. It hasn't been taken yet." Capt. Dodge yanked his helmet off his head and climbed back into his truck in a huff of impatience. "Hell, man," he declared, "I brought a whole convoy of equipment and a battalion of men through here a week ago," and went on, sput­ tering to himself, leaving the confused Infantryman standing there.

201

Some of us were born 850th and still others were adopted sons but most of us remember Ham­ mer Field with the beautiful Sierras as a backdrop. There we had our sneaks to the PX, our forced hikes to Mt. Owens, convoys to Sequoia and our first taste of overseas fever. We have been told that we left quite a reputation at Camp Shanks as beer drinkers and the boys who shaved their heads in the West were a sorry lot when we hit the train into New York on nightly passes. And, after watching us pass, too crowded to sit, leaning against one another to support the packs, the band struck up a lively "There's Something About a Soldier". Oh brother! "I say Mariposa is there anything we can do for you?" were the first "Limey" issued words we heard on arrival in the UK. The ans­ wers varied. At last Stansted and Bishop. In the next year not a stone was left unturned nor a brand of liquor left untried. Jerry's milk run to London, the batching plant, the Three Horseshoes, night work in concrete, General Lee's ever-promised presence, the Three

Horseshoes, ten shillings, the hangars, Nissens, brick work, and the Three Horseshoes. They all fuse together in a now hazy memory of hardships and laughs. Then it was Witney and invasion fever and all the problems and lec­ tures that meant we were to play a small part in the Big Show. It was midnight and we stepped off the landing craft into the water and onto the uncertainty of Utah Beach. Then there was the cider and foxholes of Chef du Pont with the ever-present dust and din that characterized the early days of the invasion. Congested roads and an atmosphere that seemed charged with some highly explosive force. We became "mine experts" at^Cherbourg and remember those eigh­ teen hour days on 10 in 1 rations and the constant "sweating it out" on the varied types of explosives that Jerry had prepared for us.' Our bathtub was the Channel and we could watch the final phases of the Peninsula Battle from the field. Then across Brittany to Vannes where the cognac, calvados and enthusiastic French people caused a mental blackout. We were days and days ahead of the doughfeet and people everywhere waved, threw flowers and in every way did everything possible to show their appreciation for liberation.

Paris in the Spring

need we say

more? Those wonderful hicycles. That "Boo Coo" of everything beautiful. After our trip through Paris, the weather began to change, and so did the liquor. A man's puptent became his palace (when he had within it four or five quarts of champagne) and the majestic Reims Cathedral was part of the horizon. Little Rosieres, with its peculiar aroma, will be hard to forget. The mud created by the constant rains, the lashing sleet; those nights repairing the runway; sweating the planes in and out on the ice covered plank. And Metz and Christmas and Jerry's present of nightly fireworks. Then our New Year's Day party with twenty-three ME 109's as hosts. After we crossed the Rhine the pace of living increased, and we remember clearly the burning Nazi home town of Nurnberg, the sou­ venirs of R28, the proximity of the front and the realization that the final drive was on. Then our race with the Fourth Armored across the remainder of Germany and into Austria. The close calls with Jerry artillery at

Landau. The surrender of Kraut planes and the pistols that came with them. Austria where the feeling of non-frat was not so strong, and the Alps paralleled the Sierras of California. We couldn't believe that it was over, and, once convinced, we felt somehow empty and tired. Yes, we remember much of what has happened, but only the actual physical experiences can be adequately expressed in words. Our emotions, that which we felt deep inside, can only be told by those who experienced two years of honest to God living. Amen!

305

On our trip across the Channel all the men were standing near the side of the boat looking toward France; everyone saw the group of planes dive-bombing and could hear the explosions. Realizing that this was the real thing, some of the men wers pretty serious. Out of the seriousness someone broke the silence by asking Courtney Smith, When everyone is unloaded would you like to come back with the boats?" Courtney replied in his Swedish accent, "I'll take a schance if the other men do." This remark stuck with the Battalion from that day; when some of us were in doubt about anything, the remark could always be heard, '"I'll take a schance; Courtney did!"

"War is a funny thing," was the way Chaplain Miller put it, the time he got back from Metz, after having driven his jeep right into the middle of the battles going on for those forts there, the ones which were holding up the whole U. S. Army. Under the same circumstanc­ es you or I would have said it was "'completely screwball", or some­ thing like that. But to let Chaplain Miller tell his story: "The men asked me to take their cigarettes up to the men at the front line, up around Metz, because the Stars and Stripes said they didn't have any up there. I didn't know where Metz was, but I borrowed a map from S-3, and Terpenning and I started off in my jeep. "We drove on for a long time, and finally came to a shot-up building, where a man hailed us, a soldier. It was awfully quiet everywhere, so I was glad to see someone. The man who hailed us said that he and five others were lost from their Platoon, and asked me to help them. I didn't think there was anything funny about that, so I stacked four of them in the jeep and we continued. "There were trees felled across the road zig-zag, but we went on, be­ cause we could zig-zag around them. '

v<sr\

(If it had been anybody but Chaplain Mil­ ler they would have been blown sky-high by tellermines!) "We couldn't see the town when we came to it, because we went around a sort of corner and we were right in it. Since we were already in it we went on down the street till we found the men's Platoon. They were sur­ prised to see us," he said, and his face spread with that boyish grin of his, and his eyes laughed with excitement, "and told us we were in Metz, and that the Germans were all about us; that we had driven right by a fort they were trying to capture. But it didn't seem like it," he said, and added again, "War's a funny thing. People were walking down the street like nothing was happening. A grenade would explode on one side and they'd all run over to the other side. Then one would explode over there and they'd run back. I crowded back into a doorway so I wouldn't be hit, and a woman opened it, and of all the things to talk about she started to tell me all about her

trip to Columbus, Ohio, a few years ago! I could hardly believe it was war at all. "But it was," he added more soberly. "And some one, a soldier, called out =3

to me, and said there was a wounded man down by the bridge, a lit­ ter case. I didn't have a litter, but I remembered passing a field hos­ pital, so I drove back to it to get help. But when I got up to it I saw it was a German hospital. And they were all baay just doing what people in hospitals always do. I couldn't believe it. But since I was there I asked them for a litter. And they gave it to me. So I drove away with it, and went to look for the wounded man. By the time I got to the bridge, though, a German ambulance had already picked him up. "By then I was afraid I might get shot NLD (not in line of duty) and my folks would suffer, so I started back. The Infantry gave me and my driver a rousing send-off. War sure is funny," he said once more, shaking his head wonderingly. Then his eyes sparkled with laughter again and he added in a matter-of-fact way a touch pecu­ liarly his own. "As we left town we saw a wrecked German car. It had some fine cushions in it, that would be swell in a jeep. So I
a

stopped to get them. But when I got near the car, someone in the fort started shooting at me. I fairly div­ ed back into the jeep. And then the jeep stalled. But we got home all right," he added laughingly, and concluded, "War sure is funny."

Yes!

we knew we were fighting a war, but at this particular

time it so happened that the front lines were many miles ahead of oux position, which was at Orconte, France. What I am getting at is this. Carrying rifles to work, day in and day out, was all right. The rifle and the helmet was our meal ticket. Car­ rying these to the field under conditions of rain, in sloppy and muddy weather, was bad enough however. But when they had to be taken to chow, three times a day that took the berries!

Well, " B " Company men took the situation in hand. They decided not to carry their equipment to chow; to challenge the sign at the head of the serving line: "No Rifles, No Helmet - No Food".

210

What happened? We men refused to eat if we had to carry oui and helmets. And we didn't eat for three meals, which was hard on the stomach, but which increased our determination. But we kept on working and slugging. After we'd gone hungry for three meals,

however, Capt. Bushhy called a formation. When he did that we thought we had won our point. But he started right off by reading to us the article of war concerning this incident, from the Military Courts Martial Manual. Boy! what a book that is! It was all in

the Capt.'s favor. The Capt. then gave us a man to man talk and the men all went back to the chow line carrying rifles and wear­ ing their helmets. We learned then without question what we had already really known that you can't "buck" authority in the Army. But never-the4ess we had shown the feelings that were in our hearts, so we felt that ours was a victory, in reality.

It was the fall of 1943 at Stansted England, the battalion was living in tents neatly lined in four company streets. Air raid alarms v/ere growing more frequent and although the bat­ talion was ordered to disperse in the surrounding ditches, most of the men slept too soundly, because of their strenuous 10 hr work day, to hear the sirens. However the bark of the 90 M/M ack ack guns surround­ ing the airfield always did a fair job of awakening every one. Just in case someone had failed to leave the warm bed, a few officer's would always check the tents to be sure every one was out. One night during an unusually heavy air raid an officer came down B company's street checking each tent. He reached the Staff sergenls tent and repeated the same procedure, "Is anyone there?" he shouted. Dead silence then a respectful reply, ''No sir."

On our continental "tour" in Europe, uniform regulations have al­ ways heen a very touchy subject. Of course we all knew that we'd be properly "chewed" if we didn't observe them. However, the French­ men at Rosieres did not expect to be "chewed" also. Bat of the large number of Frenchmen employed at Rosieres to help with the con­ struction, many had acquired GI clothes from various sources, and the Old Man was not one to be a stickler for trifles. So he never hesitated this day when he spotted a man in GI clothes, with his sleeves rolled up, and no helmet. With virtuous wrath he descended upon him. It was a beautiful "chewing". The recipient was as meek as a blind kitten. The Old Man was convinced he had properly con­ verted the erring soldier, but to be certain, he demanded the name of the man's Company Commander. "No compre," was his answer.

213

"SOLDIERS FIELD' "R —29"

"R — 2 9 "

STRAUBING'

"STRAUBING'

'FURTH 1

HORCHING;

Mainerich, John J. Olson, George A. Pagan, Julio Secrist, Eugene M. Zabawa, John M. Almager, T. G. Ball, Burley C. Bernier, Jerome Beyer, David Brawley, Carson S. Case, Eugene C. Cloyd, Pearl H. Cook, Charles W. Coppersmith, W. C. Couch, Albert W. Critelli, Alfred Czarnecki, Joseph J. Desjarlais, Paul J. Flerchinger, H. L. Flores, David A. Gerber, T. D. Guthmiller, G. Harrell, Hubert L. Heffernon, G. L. Hrabina, R. S. Huntington, E. M. Jackson, Ray F. Kline, Russell L. Leonard, R. T. Losier, Leon 0. Lorusso, J. B. Markotay, Roy M. McNeil, Donald A. Montgomery, J. A. Mutch, Alexander Nesheim, Ralph P. Oxford, William M. Parsons, Joe H. Payne, W. Z., Jr. Pazeras, William J. Perrine, William V.

Reed, Edward, Jr. Richards, Gloyd, Jr. Riendeau, R. Rivenbark, D. J,, Jr. Sadler, Frank C. Samuelson, E. T. Schimanski, A. H. Sharp, John Wisler, Donald 0. Szramkowski, L. Wilts, Minard Taylor, Odis 0. Voss, Clarence H. Zinck, Howard G. Angland, J. J., Jr. Baustadt, Allan W. Bishop, Willard W. Cruise, George A. Currie, Henry S. Evans, H. C, Sr. Fosheim, Martin A. Hoyt, Winthrop P. Hudak, George J. Kuhn, Donald L. Lash, Theodore A. Leader, Marshall Wilson, John A. Maloney, James B. Manning, Ivy S. Taken, Floyd J. Packard, Orval D. Thompson, M. E. Reginato, Angelo J. Reyes, Tiburcio V. Ritter, Lawrence A. Robleski, M. W. Rohling, Ervin H. Tortorice, S. Silkwood, J. A. Smith, Dale G. Smith, Edward M.

Seeley, Walter B. Wozny, Mitchell G. Abeyta, Eutimo Abrams, Robert P. Adkins, Jim Alters, William A. Anderson, Glenn Atchison, Frank E. Baggott, Albert J. Baker, Joseph P. Bartosh, Robert A. Beavers, Walter R. Beers, Paul R. Bennett, Omar R. Berryhill, Paul J. Bieleckey, Stanley G. Blum, Leroy G. Blumenberg, Rafael Boatner, Clarence C. Boswell, William V. Bounds, Claiborne C. Branham, Charle Brewer, Winston L. Brownell, Ray F. Canterberry, Benj. B. Capps, Robert J. Carpenter, David 0. Carlson, Vernie A. Carroll, John J. Cashman, James K. Castellar, Otto G. Cedergren, Wallace J. Chambers, James 0. Childers, William E. Collins, Robert A. Como, Ray C. Connor, Eugene R. Conner, Wilson S. Cook, Thomas L. Corvino, Salvatore Cottle, Albert J.

331

Herzlich, Solomon Courtright, R. P. Hicks, Guy W. Costa, Carmen Hittel, R. C, Sr. Cozzi, Rocco S. Hoganson, R. D. Dale, George A. Hoy, Fremont R. Darling, Oliver H. Hubbel, Vinton G. David, Arthur Humphrey, f m . G. David, Howard L. Isbell, Edwin I. Davison, Edward B. Jenkins, Earl D. Day, Frank P., Jr. Johnson, Clifton C. Dean, Louis C. Johnson, Orville L. Deason, Royal Johnson, Richard E. Deere, Jess W. Jones, William DeFranza, August P. Jordon, Otha L. Delokery, T. A. Kahn, Jack DeLuco, John P. Kaplan, Morton Diamond, Sigmund Kearney, Thomas B. Downing, Harry E. Keen, Woodrow W. Drake, Leroy King, Edwin R. Dukes, Allen D. Kmiotek, Daniel S. Dunbar, Darrell A. Knutsen, Alfred O. Dwight, Max A. Kolodji, Anton D. Eck, Aloysius C. Koren, Lawrence M. Enos, Melvin J. Kortman, Alvin W. Ervin, Gordon W. Kosanyar, T. F. Escandon, Paul A. Krovitz, Jack Ewing, Robert F. Kuhr, Alvin C. Fansler, Mervin M. Kuprion, John P. Farkas, John Lambert, Jerry Fick, Charles W. Land, Bert A. Fiscus, Roger F. Larsen, Spencer E. Fleming, Leonard J. Fournier, Edouard L. Leahey, William R. Lee, Olaf C. Gallegos, Julio Levi, Edmund Garza, Prajedis L. Leopold, Jack L. Gorman, Eugene G. Leytham, Donald L. Graber, Harry D. Lieberman, A. I. Greenberg, Leon Light, Fred Hagen, Norman L. Lindquist, Harold T. Hamlick, Alford W. Linton, John R. Hoover, George H. Lippi, Mario A. Hazzard, Archie W.

Ludowise, John E. Lyons, Thomas F. Maddox, Guy S. Malinowski, J. F. Malsom, John A. Marken, F. F., Jr. Mardirosian, A. J. Martin, Charles A. Martin, Charles L. Matthews, Walter L. McClusky, Thomas J. McDermott, V. J. McQuarrie, F- C. Meek, Eugene W. Mekus, Ignatius Mendoza, John Militzer, Earl H. Miloszewski, H. F. Miller, Albert B. Moore, Joe E. Moore, Thos. J. M. Moran, William F. Morgan, Ben C. Mosley, R. A. Muller, Ernest L. Murray, James J. Napier, N. A. Noakes, D. B. Nobles, Roy D. Nowak, C. J. Nuesslein, R. L. Obertone, John O'Day, Barney D. Olson, John E., Jr.
Oxford, William
Parsons, D. W.
Perna, Louis J.
Peters, Steven A.
Piccalo, John J.
Pickrell, V. S.
Pilholdski, J. L.

Portis, Donald E. Potts, Clell L. Pruiett, E. C. Quantz, Albert E. Reed, Albert Reed, Eliga C. Robertson, J. T. Rohrbadk, G. M. Rothaupt, E. W. Ruark, James R. Rue, L. F., Jr. Ruhland, Joe T. Tapia, Charles Sabala, Manuel J. Sabol, George J. Sanchez, Ralph Sasso, Porfidio M. Saur, Carl E. Scharbor, L. H. Sehlmeyer, A. W. Scherliss, Louis Schmitt, A. G. Schwartz, L. D. Seagren, Stuart T. Sept, Arthur J. Shames, Wallace Shoffner, J. H. Smart, Junius C. Smith, Chester W. Smith, George W. Smith, Jack 0. Solodoff, David Sparks, Elmer K. Stephens, D. M. Stone, Lloyd H. Strackbein, H. A. Strazishar, A. R. Styler, John F. Surface, Billie Summerlin, F. M. Swain, C, Jr.

Uhorchuk, John Taplin, Charles F. Thompson, C. G. Thompson, F. L. Thompson, G. W. Tielkemeier, C. H. Tovdy, Joe E. Tremblay, J. L. Vance, Donald M. Vandenburg, J. 0. Vander Wende, W. Van Valkenburgh, R. Veverka, Albert Vines, Ellis L. Vitiello, Aniello Ward, Vernon D. Ware, Rufus H. Warford, C. E. Weaver, George K. Webber, John F. Wershilas, J. S. West, Woodrow W. White, Gardner J. White, Martin D. Williams, Lyman T. Willis, Clyde Winship, Louie W. Winters, Robert L. Writer, Kenneth Yerdon, George A. Zeller, Leroy Alleman, M. J. Andeppa, Denny J. Antony, L. P. Barnes, Marvin E. Barse, Maurice A. Bess, Frank M., Jr. Black, George M. Blackwell, Haskell Borre, Donald S. Brown, George H.

Bucci, Albert Bullock, Lloyd M. Carr, Roy L. Cayson, David 0. Craig, Clarence A. Curtin, James F. Dandridge, W. T. Dennee, L. A. Dice, Clarence L. Dixon, Carlie C. Dorris, Beverly L. Dougherty, W. D. Druckman, Jack D. Elliot, Joe D. Estes, Robert T., Jr. Formy Duval, J. W. Gonzalez, William Gorsuch, E. L. Gouveia, Manuel Haagenson, C. F. Hamilton, M. T. Harley, John Hendren, John F. Higgins, Cecil C. Holt, Clarence F. Horner, W. M., Jr. Humphus, Lovell Hunt, Stanley M. Jacobson, B. Janssen, C. W. Jenkins, Roy A. Jones, Eugene L. Jordon, John W. Kapanakis, P. R. Kerr, Robert D. Kinsinger, L. F. Kovar, Sam Lally, James J., Jr. Lehde, Henry F. Lodes, Edward C. Luther, Charles L.

233

Dudan, Paul Eckstrom, Roy C. Erikson, Sidney I. Gagnon, Angus J. Fon, Eng Jin Kaplan, Albert Leighty, Elbert F. Nolan Thomas J. Norris, Rufus N. Perhach, M., Jr. Schmaltz, R. F. Smith, James H. Stewart, Robert J. Gollnick, A. P. Williamson, 0. L. Sombke, Ora J. Grindeland, R. W. DelSignore, A. Paule, Gilbreath E. Kness, James C. Whitelock, 0. R. Johnson, Sven B. Williams, G. J. Mavrou, N. S. Romig, Lyle J. Currier, B. A. Hanson, Odin B. Kilaspa, Otto W. King, G. W., Sr. Plummer, D. L. McDermott, C. Ryan, Lewis F. Drown, Howard W. Sassone, N. L. Paulson, C. K. Bigler, Moe Giudici, Alfred A. McKenny, R. K. Cohoon, James L. Colella, John J. McCormick, Jack

Cossey, Rue D. Baty, Harold L. Wisdom, Wm. H. Saddoris, H. E. Towson, Chas. U. Smith, C. W. Sellen, Merle W. Wallace, Walter A. Rugland, Earl V. Schultz, Robert R. Daum, Robert A. Borges, Lawrence McGehee, Glen D. Penoyer, Roger E. Yim, Louie Vela, Juan Maculloch, F. Madison, John E. Maraszkiewicz, L. J. Marchukaitis, E. M. McDaniel, W. S. J, Miles, Herbert L. Mills, Guy L. Mills, James F. Moak, James V. Monahan, Geo. W. Morse, C. E., Jr. Murphy, L. J. Murphy, V. J. Nelson, Vernett N. Oney, Elvin C. Palmer, Charles W. Patton, Walter W. Paulson, W. J. Peters, Ralph A. Pritt, Lawrence S. Ralph, William B. Rawlings, Eris J. Reuter, Wilbur H. Rodgers, Grover D. Rubio, Emiliano N.

Ruesink, William Sanborn, D. R. Schroeder, V. J. Sexton, William H. Shreves, Ray E. Swift, William L. Thorne, Charles H. Tyrell, Paul E. Weaver, K. D. Weinstein, Chas. S Wilkinson, T. A. Best, Herbert D. Nichols, James H. Wolfendale, E. J. Schrader, Clarence L Dollison, Edwin C. Corso, Joseph T. Anelli, Arthur J. Schmitz, Harold A. Oldfield, Elmer A. Kurey, Michael Conway, Robert J. Buttice, A. J. Robb, Warren A. Molstad, Edwin I. Strange, Ira B. Strand, L. 0. Daugherty, K. H. Kiger, James H. Dean, Elbert L. Reilly, Hugh Pizzo, Jacob J. Krovitz, Jack Salinas, Frank A. Gabbard, Clyde L. Neeb, Kenneth W. Bart, Charles R. Wonycott, Fred D. Allain, Patrick J. Prusin, Sidney Rumberg, C. H.

334

Sipe, Roy E. Beck, Merle D. Bernier, Ansel H. Bornstein, Ben L. Browne, D. R. Bunce, L. R. Callender, C. W. Carey, Charles E. Carmassi, Martin Clapp, Charles R. Clay, Robert H. Cook, Ethridge B. Cosentino, A. Crowley, J. L. Diaz, Joseph L. Farmer, Robert L. Foster, Ernest J. Gottesman, H. Harris, Lloyd O. Hohmeier, C. A. Jones, Freddie A. Kassik, Jim H. Kerlin, Gerald S. Kilgore, Roy C. King, Willard L. Kovich, Steve Lown, Chester H. McDonald, M. C. Mecimore, H. A. Parker, Mack Pope, Edward H. Repko, Stephen J. Dejusto, J. R. Hoehnke, W. O. Dill, Edward N. Riggsby, Jack Pons, Derrel C. Richards, R. V. Strassburger, J. S. Rhodes, L. W. Rupe, Donald F.

Salters, Donald A. Tribunella, A. J. Ursditsky, Louis Wallis, William H. Witt, Richard I. Wolfe, Warren J. Abate, John. P. Abbott, Cloyd G. Abston, Willis Albrent, Robert L. Alexander, G. F. Alexander, G. V. Anderson, A. E. Andrade, W. L. Ansama, Gordon Arnett, Carl E. Arthur, Leo C. Attebery, Willie J. Audas, Floyd H. Axtman, B. F. Baker, Milton E. Bartels, A. A. Bartow, Alva G. Beasley, Emmet E. Beaty, Floyd E. Beeman, F. E. Bennett, S. K. Bergeron, G. P. Berglunds, Emil V. Bernier, Emery J. Berrafato, V. J. Betz, Ellsworth BWk, Leonard M. Bleiberg, H. M. Boggs, Byron B. Bohaty, F. E. Borges, Alfredo M. Bovis, Peter Boyd, Harry E. Bradshaw, Lewis Brinkmeier, L. A.

Brown, Edward J. Brown, Harry 0. Brucker, S. W. Burgess, William 0. Burke, Henry B. Butkovich, Blaz Butler, Milton V. Campbell, C. C. Campbell, Dale D. Canady, Russell B. Canter, Hyman Carlson, Tage A. Carpenter, A. E. Carter, John L. Cheatham, Edward Chiarelli, Joseph Chinn, Walter K. Clark, Henry C. Claxton, Clyde C. Clementson, H. R. Clift, Jack R. Climer, Elzy D. Clintsman, S. F. Clymer, Edd. Coats, John R. Coffey, Roy Cole, Walter M. Conarty, Matthew Corbin, Frank G. Cote, William Coulston, Dewey Cowen, Edward H. Cox, Charles Crocker, Joseph J. Croft, Roy C. Cunningham, A. N. Currun, R. J. J. Cyr, Abel A. Dahl, Selmer Dalton, Willard M. Darnley, F. H.

335

Davis, Jack S. Delap, Harvey Desrochers, Leo R. Dodars, Arnaud J. Dodge, L. B. Dell, Luther E. Donahue, Patrick J. Driscoll, Daniel P. Ducharme, David J. Duff, Charlie P. Duran, Louis H. Earley, Robert C. Enggas, Albert H. Ernst, Walter R. Faher, Frank Ferruggia, A. J. Filori, Bertran N. Fisher, Carl T. Fonken, William J. Freeman, Lee E. Fritz, Joseph A. Gamma, Joseph Gardner, G. C. Garrison, H. W. Gawley, Charles W. Geske, Irving S. Gessele, Edwin W. Gibbons, Eldred S. Gillie, W. T., Jr. Glettig, Leo W. Gechenauer, D. P. Goetsch, Erhardt E. Goforth, Andrew Gonzales, Alfred G. Graf, Joseph J. Griffiths, Albert Griffiths, G. D. Gressevich, Victor Growdon, R. E. Hackley, Everett, V. Hagan, Herbert G.

Haley, Richard M. Hall, John A. Hall, Lloyd E. Hamer, Kenneth J. Hammon, Harvey J. Hampson, W. B. Hanlon, Hugh P. Hansen, Harold C. Hardy, John W. Harencar, Frank M. Hartung, Frederick Harvey, Jim W. Hatch, Chester N., Jr. Haugstad, R. J. Hawkins, Roy L. Hayer, Delbert H. Haynes, Hubert W. Henley, Clarence T. Henson, Graham P. Heslop, William H. Hites, Ray E. Hoffman, F. W. Holland, Peter R. HoUenbach, L. E. Horwath, Joseph Hupper, F. W. Hutchison, G. S. Hynic, Walter A. Ickes, Bernard L. Imperato, Peter Irre, Charles, Jr. Jackson, Marion F. Jeffers, Stanford K. Jenkins, John F. Jennings, Charles E. Johnson, Alfred Johnson, Edward J. Johnson, Ira H. Johnson, Wilfred G. Jones, Eugene L. Jones, George L.

Jones, Joe F. Joyce, Thomas F. Kammerud, T. R. Kompare, John W. Kantor, Jack Kapelevitz, Jack Karlson, Karl H. Kelly, Lee J. J. Keltner, W. L. Kerchee, Melvin R. Kern, Joseph Kidder, Clayton W. King, Willie E. Knapp, Arvell F. Koppe, Paul A., Jr. Kovar, Sam Kray, Fred G. Kressaty, Edward Kryger, Adrian Kuld, William Lackewandt, H. F. Lalla, Frank Lamb, Albert C. Lambert, Dewey H. Langels, John Larner, Thomas E. Larsen, Henry H. Larsen, Oluf P. Larson, Arnold W. Lawson, Charles C. Leach, Richard A. LeMay, Nelson M. Leone, Anthony R. Lemert, Frank J. LeMire, Louis G. Lente, Jose Roy C. Lewis, John W. L'Heurux, Albert F. Lichty, Louis S. Linder, Alvin Linehan, Joseph D.

236

Lofgren, Thomas J. Lucy, Lee W. Maleham, Robert H. Malisa, John J. Malpert, Jacob, Jr. Marlow, Ora L. Mann, Iver V. Manning, James P. Manseault, A. G. Mansmann, E. A. Martignetti, M. Martin, Adriral D. Martin, Orville W. Martinez, Martin L. Marxson, Willie A. Mason, Samuel F. Mathews, R. W. Matteson, Charles Mayer, Clifford A. McFadden, Dennis McGarr, Lee R. McHugh, James McKinney, Hardy D. McLaughlin, E. J. McLeed, Rodney T. McManus, John J. McGuire, D. R. Mechalak, Edwin L. Medcalf, Joseph L. Mehl, Karl H. Melrose, Sam W. Mendoza, Morris H. Michael, L. R. Miller, John A. Ming, Jung Mitchell, Roy E. Mizrany, E. M. Monaghan, Edward Moran, John J. Morawski, Chester Morse, Eldridge B.

Morris, James Mueller, John J. Mundhenk, F. Murphy, R. F. Nelson, Kenneth D. New, William T. Newsom, Willie H. Nickelson, Marvin F. Niderstros, Vittie Nichols, Richard A. Nolan, Kenneth Normile, Edward B. Norgaar, Edmond B. Norwood, Robert W. Olson, Alvin J. Ondash, Edward F. Otis, Webster B. Owens, Benton Padula, Dominick Paler, Michael V. Parkey, Melton G. Parmeter, W. L. Patti, Nicholas N. Perez, Fred Peterson, Earl Peterson, Dewey H. Petrie, Guy F. Pickard, Amos F. Pickkola, A. A. Pilgrim, H. E. Pini, Fortunato Pittman, Garvin Poland, Frank J. Praska, Albert L. Prindle, Harry L. Prior, James F. Proshek, J. W. Prowse, Joseph J. Puckett, Durbin Quinn, G. F. Raguzin, A. R.

Ramsey, Paul M. Redcay, Charles Redman, E. S. Rees, C. A. Reeves, Van Rego, Ralph L. Reidy, Maurice J. Resler, C. A. Ricciardelli, Vito Richards, C. F. Richey, William T. Roberts, Roland Rosenfield, J. D. Spear, Manford Spitzer, Edward J. Spurrell, Milton R. Stadalman, Ira A. Stanosek, W. K. Stepalovitch, W. Stevenson, A. H. Stewart, A. D. Strid, Johan E. Sutton, Edward H. Swartz, Neville M. Taylor, George Tessier, Albert J. Thomas, James G. Thorne, Johnny Titze, Herman 0. Tompson, Thomas Toombs, Willard P. Traylor, George H Sagon, Lloyd A. Sathe, William P. Schadler, Alfred J. Schattchsnider, F. R, Schellhammer, R. G. Schmitz, Roland L. Scharder, Harry M. Schubert, Joa 0. Seibert, Walter E.

237

Shevland, C. W. Sickler, James 0. Sieler, Herbert P. Sizer, Paul P. Skyberg, Elmer J. Smith, Charles K. Smith, James E. Tuff, Melvin H. Tweiten, John Vanderlei, R. M. Van Doom, G. C. Van Steenwyk, P. H. Villar, Vincent D. Vogel, Alphonse G. Von Ahnen, H. Walker, Cecil M. Walker, Matt B. Wallace, Marion Wallis, Alress C. J. Walters, Lloyd Ward, James Ward, Kenneth W. Watford, Adolph S. Webster, Richard L. Weisgram, Nicholas W. West, Joe B. Whittaker, C. R. Whittaker, H. D. Whyte, Jack Wild, Edward A. Wilfong, Chester R. Willborg, Wesley W. Williams, Wilber G. Wilmuth, Joe Wilson, Abram S. Wise, Gerald H. Undersinger, E. J. Urban, Edgar 0. Ustrud, Craig D. Ustrud, John T. Utterberg, Oney H.

Brown, James E. Davis, E. P., Jr. Durham, James K. Hanson, Herbert C. Hudson, T. K. Lettrich, Milan M. McLaughlin, J. C. Murray, Richard A. Paynter, Egbert L. Thomas, Harold D. Warden, Edward M. Wormke, Raymond Wosnock, Andrew J. Yanko, Francis C. Young, William W. Zurline, George J. Zielinske, Joseph T. Beaver, William M. Christopher, 0. H. Darling, Herbert H. Gould, Howard D. Hanson, Archie J. Humphreys, T. 0. Lasensky, Izadore Maness, Ralph E. Muse, Jesse P. Price, Robert S. M. Reynolds, John H. Smith, Thomas C. Ward, Roger L. Markham, G. G. Bushby, John D. Dodge, Gerald A. Everhart, John W. Hopkins, T. R, Koenig, A. M. Maloney, John E. Miller, Moore R. Turner, James D. Nelson, Frank K. Plunkett, M. K.

Brehler, J. C., Jr. Cole, W. S., Jr. Dougan, Eric Grimm, Nelwin C. Harper, Clyde A. Johnson, L. A. Legan, John H. Michelis, Baptiste Paulsen, Arthur F. Radasch, Paul E. Rugh, Elmer G. Spruill, Jack W. Woo, Henry B. Angwin, Edwin L. Bell, Fred L. Cable, Samuel M. Donahue, John J. Frick, Elden R. Howard, James H. Laing, John B. McFall, Daniel C. Moses, Joffre Nyborg, Ralph Smith, Dan F. Willison, Paul H. Astler, DeWitt G. Casey, Joseph F. Costello, Carl A. Ferris, Arthur J. Hammel, Max A. Howerton, A. H. Jones, Harlow G. Lobitz, Donald W. Muhleman, J., Jr. Phelps, William E. Reagan, James V. Sargent, Donald Swanson, Harold A. Ray, Warner J. Woodward, P. N. Rambis, Albert

238

e are grateful to the Armed Forces publications Yank and Stars and Stripes; and to George Baker, Milton Caniff and Bill Mauldin, three of the outstanding cartoonists of World War II, whose creations are re-printed in this book.

Cartoons re-printed here-in are; Sad Sack, Miss Lace and Up Front.

*

illustrators:

Walter B. Seeley, Ferenc Keskes,

Walter Halan, Bedros P. Atamian and Ralph J.Delli Bovi editors: advisors: Hugh M. Ramsay, John F. Kunter Frank K. Nelson, John B. Laing Ralph J. Delli Bovi. Assistants: Bedrose P. Atamian, Walter Halan cover design: photography: printed by: Ralph J.Delli Bovi Frank D. Romano F. Bruckmann, Munich, Germany

book design:

239

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RECONNAISSANCE SS C A M P

C A P I T A L AIR ATTACK

REST C E N T E R CUB STRIP

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71
COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF SCHOOL Fort Leavenworth, Kansas

LIBRARY REGULATIONS
1. Books, pamphlets, and periodicals must be charged at the loan desk (signature on book-loan card) before being taken from the Library. 2. Any item drawn from the Library must be returned within one month. Exceptions to this regulation are as follows: (1) Material issued to classes as a whole. (2) Material issued to instructors for pro­ fessional use. (3) New books which are in demand must be returned within one week. (4) Books required for faculty use are sub­ ject to recall at any time. (5) All persons having library material in their possession will return same before leaving the post permanently. (6) Books loaned outside the School must be returned within two weeks. 3. Reference books and current periodicals will not be removed from the library.
LIBRARY BUREAU CAT. NO. 1169.6

LIBRARY
STAFF

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