WWII Pg 2
How to Exercise Your Memory - Write Those Memoirs
Wes Trindal, F/2-22 WWII wrote:
Cows don't give milk. As farmers know, you have to get up early and forcibly squeeze it out of 'em. The same applies to us elders. We don't tell and write our memoirs. You've got to forcibly squeeze those memories out in order to save them for the future.
History and memories are like fine wine- all should be aged, but not for to long. It is wisely said that whenever grandchildren turn to their grandparents for advice and info on life's great mysteries, that family need not worry about conserving family values. Did you know that there's an epigraph on tombstone of Bob Dylan's grave that reads as follows: "He that is not busy being born, is busy dying".. John Hay and John Nicolay gathered and recorded oral recalls. perceptive anecdotes, and personal insights on President Abraham Lincoln and the history of the times. Thus, it was John Hay who said, "Real history is not to be found in books, but in the personal anecdotes and private letters of those who made history."
It happens in the nicest families. It's a darn shame that so many family members pass-on without any trace of their memories left behind. Future generations, like me, are left to sit and wonder. Now it is up to us, the living -- the survivors to reverse this trend. People need to come forth and share the memories. This applies to the younger ones as well as us elders.
Memories can be defined as an account of some event, or thought, or something that's worth writing down, or recording on tape. Memories are the reminiscence of incidents and events in our life. These memoirs are different from one person to another. Just as our fingerprints and our faces differ, so do our memories. Our memories are constantly changing. Some memories get lost forever. Other memories sharpen with time; they become valid happenings as the mind exercises its muscles. Remember the old "use it or lose it" concept ?.. You've got voluminous, valid, and varied reasons. Some do it for the fun of it. Many write their memories for family reasons. They've been told to get busy and do it. Others do it because it is good therapy. Its a helpful mental exercise. Many want to educate readers.
Often readers of the latest generation have mistaken information. Memoirs become a learning text book because history repeats itself. Then there are quite a number of elders who always wanted to become writers. Record your memories, your memoirs, even little anecdotes. They are artistic outlets. Whatever are your reasons, they are valid enough for you to do it (and never forget that the success of our Regimental newsletter depends on your stories ).
D-Day Remembered - Morris Austein, I/3-22.
From the March 28, 1994 Boca Raton Newspaper.
The infantrymen in Sgt. Morris Austein's unit were accustomed to training operations, but this was 'the real thing' as Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told them.
As advance troops, their mission was to open the field at Normandy for the troops behind them, Eisenhower said. If the advance troops failed, the whole mission fails.
As a Staff Sergeant, Austein was responsible for 42 men in his demolition platoon, Company I. Their mission was to destroy all obstacles hindering the advancement of troops up the beach and into the French countryside.
The order to assault came at 5 A.M. on June 6, 1944. Thousands of boats circled the waters around Normandy, Austein remembers. " It seemed as if you could walk from one boat to another, there were so many of them," Austein said.
"The sky was so full of planes you couldn't see the sky anymore. Bombers were hitting the coast. We all had things on our mind like the enemy and what we would run in to. There were thousands of troops alongside each other going onto the beach. On the shoreline itself there were land mines. Germans put them down and if you stepped on one, you blew up. I lost 5 men that way. There was utter confusion on the beach and soldiers were crying for help."
"We saw Gen. Teddy Roosevelt Jr. . He was riding along the beach in a jeep, yelling, ' Move on! Move on !' Meaning get off the beach and keep moving forward. The beach was jamming up with men and equipment. He was afraid they would bomb the hell out of us.
My unit pushed forward off the beach. As we moved forward we could smell the stench of dead animals and dead German soldiers. We also found American paratroopers dying. They were hanging on the trees. They got caught in the trees when they came down and the Germans shot them while they were hanging there.
One of my men got a shell right in the middle of his back. He was sitting in a hole and a cannon shot from a mile away and hit him in the back. He never knew what hit him, he was killed instantly.
We spent the entire day just moving up the beach. We were moving steadily at a reasonable pace and we got about a mile up the beach. I didn't see a German until dusk. I was moving forward around the hedgerows. I looked at him and he looked at me and he turned sideways to walk away. He didn't know I was an American and I didn't know he was a German, it was too dark. But as he turned I recognized the helmet. It was in silhouette. It had a different shape from ours and in the excitement I raised my rifle. At that moment he realized I was an American and we both started shooting at each other. I thought I was shot for a second, but he missed me. I don't know if I hit him, because suddenly a heavy bombardment hit us. There were mortar shells and artillery rounds.
The fact that I shot alerted them that we were Americans. The artillery came in very heavy and everyone scattered trying to protect themselves. There were hedgerows all over and we didn't see anything at that time. I couldn't tell if anyone was being killed. We all ran behind hedgerows to protect ourselves and some ran into craters where bombs made big holes. We stayed there the rest of the night. We couldn't move because it was dark. If we moved, we would be shot. No talking even, no smoking and no noise. We covered ourselves to sleep and took our chances. That is how D-Day ended for us."
Reflecting upon his experience, Austein said that once people go through a war they feel they can do anything without fear. He discovered that each person reacts differently to combat and no one can predict his reactions until the time comes. Some of his men panicked, some cried and others were strong. Austein adopted a fatalistic approach, which he credits getting him through the experience. "Whatever happens will happen," he figured. Adding that it " was beyond my control."
"But, it hurt very badly when you saw someone you know get hit. I lost many good friends...and it hurt." Austein has no regrets about the war and calls it "a fantastic experience." After 21 days of straight combat, Austein was wounded on the outskirts of Cherbourg, France on June 27, 1944. He spent one year at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC. and received a honorable discharge for medical disability. His right leg is still partially paralyzed, but he experiences no pain today.
A Forward Observers Story - Tom Reid, Cannon/I/3-22.
The time, late August 1944. The place, a stable outside Paris. The circumstances, a forward observer and his two man team seek cover from enemy small arms and mortar fire.
In August 1944 I was a forward observer with the 22nd Infantry Regiment's Cannon Company. This company had six short barrel 105mm howitzers designed to give the rifle company's some close fire support without calling on the supporting artillery battalion.
On paper I was the platoon leader of the third platoon, Canon Company, 22nd Infantry Regiment. But in actual day to day operations, I was the forward observer attached to 3-22. Upon reporting to the battalion I was attached to one of the rifle companies making the main attack. My team consisted of two men, one to carry the SCR-300 radio and one to carry an extra battery. In those days the batteries was about the size of a large toaster and had an operating life of about 8-10 hours of uninterrupted communication.
On this particular day, the platoon I was attached to took cover in a large horse stable until the advance could be resumed. Soon the order came down to hold where we were until some adjacent unit seized a critical road junction. The minutes turned into hours and the platoon leader posted a guard at each end of the stable and told his men to get some rest. Seeing other men lay down to rest, my team and I followed suit. I don't know how long I slept but I awoke with a start when I realized that my two man team and I were the only people in the stable. The entire rifle platoon was gone. Panic was beginning to set in as I quickly roused my two men and rushed to the door to look out.
Troops were moving along the road outside the stable and I rushed out to ask what unit they were from. It wasn't our platoon or company, in fact, they were from another battalion. Where was our platoon, our company to which we had been attached ? No one knew. Some said they thought the 3rd Battalion was up ahead in the approach march. Others thought they were in this direction or that. Where was my company to which I had been assigned ? In the event the company commander or platoon leader needed supporting fire from Cannon Company and I was nowhere to be found, this would be serious. I would technically be AWOL even though I was desperately trying to find out the location of the company so I could rejoin them without delay. We asked everybody on the road and finally found out that 3rd Battalion and my assigned company were somewhere forward on the road where we found ourselves.
We hurried along on foot, doubling past other units until at last we came upon men from the 3rd Battalion, the rifle company, and the platoon to which I had been assigned waiting on the side of the road. The total time we had been out of touch had been less than an hour but it seemed like an eternity with the consequences of not being where we should be weighing heavily on my mind. There we were, back in the company where we should have been all along. I was sweating a little bit but greatly relieved that no one had noticed our absence.
The question of why the platoon had moved out without awakening us bothered me until I asked one of the riflemen why. He replied, "you weren't part of our platoon," thereby expressing one of the basic tenets of organization, the belief that one should adhere to loyalty to one's immediate family - the squad, the platoon, the company - no one else mattered. I understood it, but the fear from that hour was real and left a lasting impression on me and my future military career.
In any event, I was soon to be involved in something much larger in scope, for two days later the order came for the entire 4th Infantry Division to mount up and become the first US unit to enter Paris. That would take my mind off almost anything..
July 26, 1944 - Operation Cobra - Presidential Unit Citation .
Riding atop the tanks of the 2nd Armored Division, the 22nd Infantry Regiment spearheaded the St. Lo breakout in Operation Cobra. The Presidential Unit Citation which our unit earned for this operation reads :
"The 22nd Infantry Regiment is cited for extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action in Normandy, France, during the period of 26 July to 1 August 1944. The 22nd Infantry Regiment was the infantry element of an armored-infantry combat command which successfully effected a breakthrough of the German line of resistance west of St. Lo, forming the St. Gillis-Marigny gap through which the armored-infantry columns surged deep into German held territory. Operating against hardened infantry, artillery, and panzer units, this Regiment, often riding its accompanying tanks, met and overcame the stiffest German resistance in desperate engagements at St. Gillis, Canisy, Le Mesnil, Herman, Villebaudon, Moyen, Percy, and Tessysur-Vire. The 22nd Infantry Regiment in its first action with an armored division, after a short period of indoctrination, assumed the role of armored infantry with unparalleled success. Throughout the swift moving, 7 day operation, the infantry teams kept pace with the tanks, only resting briefly at night relentlessly to press the attack at dawn. Rear echelons fought with enemy groups bypassed in the assault. There was little protection from the heavy artillery which the Germans brought to bear on the American armor. Enemy bombers continually harassed the American troops at night, but in a outstanding performance of duty the 22nd Infantry Regiment perfected an infantry tank team which, by the power of its determined fighting spirit, became an irrestible force on the battlefield." Deeds Not Words !
Warren King, Medic - B/1-22 wrote:
This is my favorite war story (while in a POW camp). I stole one of the guard's ducks and ate it for Christmas 1944. The guards had a white duck that bedded down every night about the same place along the fence. They also had red cabbage planted along the fence. While being a POW, food was scarce.
I cased the duck and cabbage for several days. One day I asked my roommates if they would like to have duck for Christmas. They looked at each other in wonderment as if to say where can you get a duck. We (at the time) could cook on a small stove we had. I told them if they would cook the duck, I would get one. They agreed.
So, in total darkness I went out to the fence, reached through, placed the duck's head under its wing, and brought it through the fence with never a sound being made. I also got some cabbage.
I carried the meat and vegetable inside, killed the duck, plucked the feathers, and hid them under the floor. We ate the duck and cabbage for Christmas. A few nights later an RAF bomber came over and dropped incendiary bombs on our building, burning it and destroying all evidence. A true story (I wouldn't lie).
Donald Faulkner - CO. E/2-22
Battle Of The Bulge - Diary Entries.
12/22/44 - Our Able Peter patrol was halfway to Ecternach. Battalion said, "link up with Peter". I dared not divulge their position so replied to battalion on radio - "my Peter will not stretch that far, sorry".
12/23/44 - Company E was digging in at a point of woods opposite the village of Rodenhauf, Luxembourg. We were heard. The Krauts started by dropping in heavy mortar shells : one, two, three, four on us. It was a battery. By timing the sound we were able to pinpoint the map coordinates of their battery. We called fire from our one battery of worn out 105mm howitzers. "On the way". We listened to them as they swished through the air over our heads and landed one, two, three, four - on target ! We called for "Fire for effect". Great, that did it. No more Kraut mortar fire at all, thank you Lord.
12/24/44 - On Christmas eve, Co. E was dug in a revine in the woods opposite Rodenhauf. Weather was freezing cold. A visitor walking across the snowy frozen fields in the dark from Osweiller, Luxembourg, found his way to the Co. E C.P. in a super hole fashioned by a GI from a grave diggers family in Brooklyn, NY. and covered with logs and much snow. It was CPT. Stephen Sanders who made a presentation "From COL. Kenan to CPT. Faulkner, a half bottle of Red Label Scotch." WOW ! Seven GI's and the Captain pooled their orange powder from K-rations and one canteen of water drained from frozen canteens, heated over a pile of K-ration boxes. It was shared by passing it around from man to man. Delish ! Merry Christmas '44.
12/25/44 - Christmas morning LT. Aldoerfer and one of his men crept through the woods to the nearest Kraut hole, killed two Germans in it, took their light machine-gun, made their way safely back to Co. E CP and presented it as a gift to CPT. Faulkner. Merry Christmas.
Denver O. Sayre - 44th F.A. C Battery - WWII
Philip W. Tawes, G/2-22 WWII, sent the following for inclusion in our NL and the 4ID book:
In the spring of 1945, we were chasing the German army. The 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry was ordered to secure a hill on the right flank of our Armys route of advance. We carried out the assignment with problems. Our platoons were digging in in the event of a counter attack.
I was on my way to the Company CP and had to cross a wooded area. I broke out of the heavy stuff into a man made clearing. Sitting on the ground cross-legged was a German soldier, a pack and rifle beside him, a hunk of bread in one hand and a hunk of cheese in the other, and, the friendliest grin on his face one could imagine. I took him prisoner and walked him to the next firebreak. Seeing movement at the bottom of the hill, I pointed him in that direction. I thought it was our CP, but he told me, Nix, nix! I pointed on down the hill and then I got it when he said, Comrades! I looked again and there were a mess of German helmets. I hurried through the woods to the next fire break. When I looked around, there was my prisoner, an even bigger smile on his face. I slung my rifle, shook his hand, and we walked down the hill side by side. We found the Company CP and I remember how bad I felt turning him over to the prisoner guard detail. If I had his name and address, I would be sending him a Thank You card every month.
Albert Isaacson, HQ/3-22 WWII, wrote: On or about July 12, 1944, I joined HQ/3-22, about two weeks before the Normandy breakout at St. Lo. Ernie Quast, from Burlington, WI, and I were assigned to the message center section of the communications platoon. On or about September 11, 1944, as we were nearing the Siegfried Line defenses which no one had seen up close, the order came down to probe the German line to see where and how well it was defended. This patrol in force consisted of two tank destroyers, two half tracks, and several jeeps including my platoons radio jeep which I was asked to ride on should we need additional firepower. We had about 30 to 35 men.
Along the way, we came across several roadblocks that had to be destroyed. There was a brief firefight at each point. One round from a tank destroyer usually stopped the action. We eventually arrived at a group of houses alongside the dirt road we were on. Across the road from these houses was a field that stretched perhaps 200 yards or so to a tree line. Scattered about in the field were several farm houses that could have been built over concrete bunkers with gun ports as basement windows. Our mission was to locate the pillboxes concealed in the woods, to discover if these buildings were what they seemed to be, and to locate the mine fields. When this was done, we turned back and had one brief firefight with shots being fired from a barn some distance off the road. No damage was done.
The main body of our troops, supported by armor, assaulted the pillboxes on September 14. I and about seven or eight from our message center took shelter in a barn as the incoming shells whistled overhead. My jeep driver asked me to hold his pistol (which was in a German holster and belt) while he ducked across the alleyway to the farmhouse where our radio section had set up. My corporal came running into the barn yelling excitedly to get ready, The Germans are attacking! One of the men told me to get rid of the German belt and holster because he heard that if we were captured with German equipment we would be shot on the spot.
To be prepared for the worst, I hid the belt and holster under the straw, then worked the slide on the .45 and left it cocked and stuck in under my belt over my right thigh. One of the incoming rounds struck the farmhouse and I and the others crouched low against the barn wall, making ourselves as small as possible. At that point, I heard a loud pop and what I smelled made me realize that the pistol had discharged. I searched for a wound but although the round had gone through both inside thigh pant legs (fatigues and ODs), it did not touch my long johns. The shell that hit the farmhouse wounded a couple of the radio men and blew my jeep driver down the basement stairs, rupturing his ear drums. I never saw him again after that. From that day until the end of the war, I was our motor messenger.
Multiple CIB’s and CMB’s
My response was not overwhelming, and some of you just didn’t respond or are too modest. I know we have more members who have earned two or more CIB’s (Combat Infantryman’s Badge) or CMB’s (Combat Medic’s Badge) - let’s hear from you. Two that I know have them, but I didn’t hear from, are 1SG (Ret) Bob MacDonald and CSM (Ret) Frank Roath, both earned their first CIB in Korea. I learned from these great soldiers in B/1-22 in 1965-1967, when they earned their second CIB’s, in Vietnam.
At the top of our list, is Norm Chapin, B/1-22 WWII, 7304 34th Avenue, Jenison, MI 49428 who has earned three CIB’s and is justifiably proud of that fact. Norm (MAJ-retired) wrote:
I am writing you in answer to your note in the NL, which I enjoy very much and read every word. Your note on wanting to hear from any member who served in three wars - I have a CIB with two stars on it and my name is also on a plaque in the Fort Benning museum as a recipient along with a hundred of my fellow infantrymen who have earned the CIB three times as I did.
I entered the Army in 1941.....My first experience in combat was a tree burst which put a hole in my helmet liner, cut my wool knit cap and exited without touching me. Lucky, I guess. I also had holes in my fatigues, had crackers in my K rations which were in my pack on my back turned to crumbs where a bullet had gone through. I received a battlefield commission and was transferred to B/1-22 where I stayed as a platoon leader for the duration of the war......In 1950 while stationed in Panama, I was alerted to go to Korea. They took all the Puerto Ricans out of Panama and Puerto Rico and formed the 3rd Battalion of the 65th Infantry Regiment and off we went to Korea.
We landed in Pusan and from there we fought our way towards Seoul. From there we got on flat cars and were sent to Hamhung where we held the road open for the Marines who were coming from the Chosen Reservoir. We ate Christmas dinner on a troopship going back to Pusan where we landed and then started back up toward Ujangbhu where I left the outfit for home.I was stationed at Fort Riley, KS when the Vietnam war broke out. I was assigned to 2-28 Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. We received orders to leave for San Francisco to be shipped to Vietnam. Arrived in VN in May 1965 and was transferred to the Lai Khe rubber plantation. While there we were sent on missions to the Michelin rubber plantation where we were dropped off and fought our way back to base camp. I rotated back to the States after five months there. During those five months we lost half of our troops (400) plus our battalion commander and a company commander. I flew out of Tan Son Nhut AFB and back to Fort Riley for retirement and discharge with 20 years service, plus a Combat Infantryman’s Badge with two stars. By the way, I just received my badge from Fort Benning and am very proud of it.
Billy Cater, Service/22 WWII, sent a copy of his orders awarding him his second CIB in Korea, along with a note that read: I stopped right now to send you copies of my Korea tour with KMAG. I was the only advisor to the 2nd R.O.K. Division 32nd Regiment for several months. We were the only ROK company to receive the US Presidential Unit Citation as of this time.
I also heard from SFC Roberto Rivera, B/3-22 VN, who wrote: I earned my first CIB during the Korean War with E/2-14 Infantry, 25ID from Feb 1953 through July 27, 1953. My second CIB award was with B/3-22, also 25ID, during January 1968 through December 1968.
Jack Fox, Med/22 WWII, has the unique distinction of having earned two CMB’s. He wrote: I earned two Combat Medical
Badges. The first one was earned with 1-8 Infantry medics from June 6, 1944 to October 1944 at which time I received a battlefield commission and transferred to 3-22 Infantry. I stayed with 3-22 until October 1945. In June 1950, I was alerted for assignment with the 1st Cavalry Division. Upon reporting to division HQ in Korea, I was further assigned to 1-7 Cav. At that time I was advised that the Red Cross brassard would not be issued. Instead, I was issued a .30 caliber carbine and a .45 automatic pistol. Although I was still a medic, the weapons were for self defense. Sometime in September 1950, my aid station was attacked along with the battalion. We lost quite a number of personnel and both the battalion surgeon and I were hit by hand grenades. Fortunately, we both made it out and survived. I would be happy to respond to any questions you may have relative to this incident or any of my service.
Stan Tarkenton, M/3-22 WWII, sent the following story in an e-mail note to Dave Rothbart after the Cleveland reunion:
Two men, Ted Goetz and Pyrle Stahl, who were very close to me in many an uncertain shoot-out passed away last year. Ted was small, but he was extremely reliable when the chips were down and we were surrounded by a greater force of arms. As was Stahl. In addition, Stahl was the best “digger” of slit trenches I ever knew. Whenever or wherever we stopped momentarily, Stahl had his entrenching tool out and he was digging! Thanks to him, I never shared the pleasure of digging in. While I was off somewhere else and taking care of business for the platoon, he, thankfully, always made room for me underground.
Usually, I avoided crawling into a hole at night. What little sleep I could arrange was on the ground or on the snow where I could fire my weapon at a quicker response. That way, I felt, I was protecting the other men and myself by “getting off” the first shots. I never missed. Strangely enough, I was a walking arsenal. I carried a .45 automatic pistol, another .32 automatic stuck under my field jacket and in my belt (in the event I may be taken prisoner), an M-1 rifle (never one of those lousy carbines), usually two bandoliers of M-1 ammo and several grenades in my pockets. I know that method of carrying the grenades could loosen the pins and could make for a short day, but at that time, how many days were guaranteed?
Yes, I remember with respect and admiration these brothers who are no longer with us.
Remembered is an occasion when we were down to four men and dug into a wooded area. Stahl had gathered from somewhere some quarter logs to cover as a roof the slit trench he had dug so professionally. On top, he had placed the dirt from the hole in a mound over the top. We took turns staying on guard duty. One man was awake while the other three slept in the trench.
Just before day break, I awoke and backed out of the hole. The man on guard duty was asleep on the snow. (Fat lot of good that did, but we were all totally fagged out from fatigue and nearly starving). As I sat on the edge of the trench trying to awaken myself in the below freezing semi-darkness, I could see two metallic vanes protruding up from the soft dirt that Stahl had piled on top of the quarter logs over the trench.
By straining my eyes, I determined there were two “incoming” unexploded mortar rounds that were embedded into the dirt over the two men below. Cautiously, I awoke the sleeping guard and sent him away. And .... very carefully, I awoke the two men in the hole and backed each one out, one at a time. Then, v-e-r-y carefully, we all tiptoed away from the potential disaster. Had either one of those rounds impacted on even a solid rock in that soft earth, I would not be writing this today and four more men would have been instantaneous KIA.
For some person to say, “There is no God.” That person is a FOOL!
George Morgan - WWII Double Deucer.
" When you stare death in the face in a foxhole with other guys, you form a strong bond of friendship. Those Friendships are the kind that go on forever. "
U.S. National Anthem : The Star Spangled Banner
"The Star Spangled Banner", composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814, was ordered played at military and naval occasions by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, but was not designated the national anthem by an Act of Congress until 1931.
The National Anthem consists of four verses. On almost every occasion only the first verse is sung.
It Is The Soldier
It is the soldier, not the poet, who gives us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the reporter, who gives us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who serves beneath the flag, who salutes the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the demonstrator the right to burn the flag....
Fr. D. E. O'Brien..
What The 22nd Infantry Regiment Did For You !
Gave you the opportunity to serve your country in a proud and prestigious national unit.
Gave you buddies who stuck by you and helped you endure fear, horror, and hardship.
Gave you good reason to harbor a personal feeling of high accomplishment and pride.
Gave you treasured lifetime friends markedly improving the quality of your life.
MG John F. Ruggles (Ret) 1908 - 1999
Honorary Colonel - 22nd Infantry Regiment