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What Really Happened, Belle-Haie, Belgium

What Really Happened, Belle-Haie, Belgium

December 1944

 
When the Germans invaded the Ardennes on the 16th of December, 1944, Combat Command “A” of the 3rd Armored Division was billeted in the small town of Breinig, Germany, a short distance south of Stolberg.  We had been in a pretty good little battle up near Eschweiler at Thanksgiving and had lost quite a bit of equipment and personnel.  We were in the process of maintenance and reequipping our losses.  Winter had already begun and was nasty with a lot of rain and cold.
 
Christmas packages had begun to arrive from home and the troops were decorating their billets with Christmas trees and homemade ornaments.  All was quiet in our area except for a few German planes flying around and being removed – except for a jet – from the sky by our ack-ack guns.  Also, toward evening the V-1 flying bombs, headed for Liège, Belgium, would start coming over.
 
On The 18th December, we got orders to prepare to move.  But first a word as the composition of Combat Command “A”, a combat command being similar to the old time brigade.  Commanded by Brigadier General Doyle O. Hickey, it was broken down into two task forces, TFX (Doan) and one tank battalion, two armored infantry companies and supporting troops; TFY (Richardson) and 3rd Tank Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment, of which Colonel L. L. Doan was the commander and Lieutenant Colonel Walter B. Richardson commander of his 3rd Battalion: “I” Company 36th Armored Infantry Regiment and support troops.
 
Late in the afternoon, we of CCA moved back to Eupen, Belgium, to be the corps reserve of V Corps.  The move was rough because of the narrow roads, rolling hills and ice forming on the roads, plus the fact that rear echelon units were moving out of what developed into the combat zone.  All of this was done in blackout.  We were given the mission of out posting V Corps headquarters because German parachutists were supposed to have dropped behind our lines dressed in American uniforms.
 
On the 19th December, our infantry battalion searched a large area of woods around Eupen and captured a few of the enemy and quite a bit of equipment that had been dropped.  The drop had been a failure tactically but tied up a lot of fighting troops hunting for them.  Following this, TFX (Doan) moved into the vicinity of Marche-en-Famenne on the far right flank and was not involved in any of the action mentioned below.
 
On the afternoon of December 21, CCA received orders to leave Eupen and move to vicinity of Marche-en-Famenne.  As they began to move, the command group including General Hickey, Colonel Doan, Colonel Richardson and myself and some others I do not recall, were ordered to meet Major General Maurice Rose, commander of the 3rd Armored Division, in Manhay, Belgium.  When we arrived in Manhay, the situation had changed and General Rose ordered TFY (Richardson) to detach from CCA and to assemble in the Manhay area for further assignment.  At that time the 3rd Armored Division had only three task forces stretched from Manhay on the east to Hotton on the west.  At that time, the situation was very fluid and TFY was to assist where needed.
 
TFY was already on the move and communications were not good in that area and we could not reach them.  A runner was sent to turn the column but arrived too late to catch the lead company “I” Company tanks.  The remainder of the Task Force did get turned and closed in the new area on schedule.  “I” Company was contacted and given a new route to the assembly area but by that time it was dark.  I might mention that at that time of the year in our area, the sunrise was at 0758 and the sunset at 1603.  Colonel Richardson sent me to locate the company and guide them in.  I might mention that with the fluid situation, no one was sure where the Germans were, nor did we know where our own troops were, plus the fact that the Germans had dropped some troops in American uniforms in the area.  My driver and I took off in our jeep with the top off and the windshield down and black out lights only.  The night was dark and cold and the road had ice patches on it.  The road was through hilly country with curves and quite a bit of woods alongside.  The trip was very difficult because it seemed that around every curve we ran into a road block and had to identify ourselves.  I do not remember how many road blocks we encountered but each one had a different password and it took a lot of explaining to get through.  I located the company and found the company commander on foot leading them.  It seems that he had lost his jeep somewhere and could not see the road from his tank.  To make a long story short, I closed the unit on to the battalion area at about 0500 on the morning of December 22.  I heard someone ask my driver if he was scared on that trip and he remarked, “Hello no.  We were too cold to be scared.”  Up until that time, that was the longest night I had every spent.
 
I had no sooner closed Company “I” tanks into the area that we got orders to detach Company “I” tanks and Company “I” infantry from our command and attach them to Combat Command “R” and sent them to the Hotton area.  That was the last time we saw those two companies during December.  That left Colonel Richardson with just Company “C” (light tanks) and Company “H” (medium tanks) and a platoon of engineers, along with his headquarters Company.  Afternoon on the 22nd, I was sent with Company “H” to Erezee to make contact with Colonel Orr whose Task Force was holding a position south at Amonines.  Colonel Orr told me he had a good position and was holding his own but for me to set up a second line of defense near Erezee and if it was necessary for him to fall back through my line that I was to hold at all cost until he got back.  I might mention that he did an outstanding job of defending his position and we were not committed in that area.  Colonel Orr joined the division in September as an infantry battalion commander just about the time we started into Germany through the Siegfried Line and he proved to be an outstanding officer, but that is another story.
 
I have been asked several times to give the time of day certain actions took place but I am unable to do so.  We moved on orders as rapidly as the situation permitted night or day so the moves I mention will be approximate.
 
The night of December 22nd and the morning of the 23rd, things were quiet around Erezee and we saw no action.  In the meantime, Colonel Richardson had moved his main command post to Erezee and kept his forward CP in Manhay.  From here on the action, I was involved in takes over.  Manhay is located on route N-15, the main highway from Bastogne on the south to Liege, Belgium on the north.  The action that took place was about three mile south of Manhay at “Parker’s Crossroad” (coordinate 576853), the intersection of N-15 and an East-West Highway running from Vielsalm to La Roche.  On the map, the crossroads is termed Baraque de Fraiture.  The crossroad got its name Parker from Major Arthur Parker, a field artillery Officer from the 106th Infantry Division.  On the 19th of December, he salvaged a few guns from the overrun 106th Division and set up a defensive position along with any stragglers he could find and held that vital crossroad against numerous German attacks until he was overrun and wounded on December 22.  Major Goldstein then took command.
 
Colonel Richardson had me report to him in Manhay after noon December 23.  He introduced me to Major Elliott Goldstein and the Major explained the grave situation they were in and the colonel sent Goldstein and me back to the crossroad to see what we could do to help.  The major and I were stopped about half mile from the crossroad and told not to go farther in our jeeps because the crossroad had been overrun and the Germans were occupying it.  We dismounted and moved out through the woods on the left of the road trying to get a better view.  These woods were pretty dense and sight distance very limited.  We got a few hundred yards from our objective when a German tank took us under fire with 75mm gun.  We returned to our jeeps and I radioed the colonel the situation.T  here was nothing left to defend with.  He had me return to Manhay and he ordered a medium tank company and an infantry company that were in the Erezee area to move to Manhay.
 

To show how fluid the situation was, on the 18th we were attached to VII Corps, when we moved south, we were attached to V Corps till the 21st.  On the 21st we were attached to the XVIII Airborne Corps.  Then on the afternoon of the 23rd, we were again attached to VII Corps.  In fact, when Major Goldstein and I went forward, we were in XVIII Corps and when I got back to Manhay we were in VII Corps.Also, at the beginning of the Bulge, we were in General Bradley’s 12 Army Group and about the 22nd the northern sector of the American forces were assigned to General Montgomery’s 21 British Army Group.  We on the line knew nothing about those changes but it did cause some confusion and delays on orders we received.

 
 
When I arrived back at Manhay it was about dark.  There I met Captain Cobb, Company commander of “H” Company, 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment and Captain Siegel, company commander of Company “A” 509th Separate Parachute Battalion.  I had never heard of the 509th before, but found out that they had made combat jumps from North Africa to Europe.  They were an outstanding unit.  Colonel Richardson’s orders were brief, “Take the crossroad.”  It was cold, dark, and snow on the ground when we moved out.  Company “H” had six M-4 tanks and the infantry company had approximately 150 men.  The tanks moved out on the road and the infantry moved out on foot on each shoulder of the road.  Things went well for the first couple of miles and just as the lead tank crossed the crossroad 545875 it was fired on and hit by an enemy tank in vicinity of Parker’s crossroad.  Because of the terrain and woods, we were unable to move our tanks any further south so I chose to go into a defensive position in the area of Belle Haie.
 

I reported the situation to the colonel by radio and he concurred.  The infantry was able to get good position in the edge of the woods and my tanks found good firing positions that gave them some cover and could cover a deep cut in the road.  The tank that was hit was repaired during the night.  There was no activity during the night and we improved our position.  Even though we could hear enemy movement to our south, they made no attempt to attack until first light the morning of December 24th.

 
After first light they attempted to send a reconnaissance unit of motorcycles and armored cars through us.  With the good position we had we were able to destroy the five or so vehicles they sent without any loss to our position.  On the morning of the 24th, I was sent an artillery forward observer and we were able to put enough artillery on the enemy to prevent another attack.  The morning dawned clear and cold and our air support was able to fly.  Colonel Richardson was able to get a strike and through him I was able to talk three P47s onto the target with very good results.  We could see smoke coming over the threes for several hours later.  A prisoner told us the planes knocked out nine tanks.We were unable to move forward to verify it.  My orders still were to take the crossroads.
 

I moved the infantry forward through the wood several times only to be driven back.  My artillery ran short of ammunition and I could not get all the support I needed and the air force were sent on other missions.  Around the noon hour, the colonel called me and told me he was sending another company of infantry up and for me to make an all-out effort to move forward.

 

Shortly thereafter, Company “C”, 290th Regiment, 75th Infantry Division showed up.  The captain reported and I gave him orders to move to the east side of the road and make his attack and I would cover him with tank fire.  The captain informed me that his unit did not take prisoners and my remark was I could care less but to move out.  He moved his company out across an open snow covered field as if on parade.  They were cut down and I had to call off the attack.  The captain was one of the first wounded and when they got him back to my C.P.  I found out that they had just arrived from the States and had never heard a gun fired in anger.

 

In the meantime, the German 2nd SS Panzer Division, one of Hitler’s best armored divisions was building up their attack from Parker’s crossroad but was unable to advance to the north because of my small roadblock.  I might take time here to mention that the battle for this crossroad was probably the biggest fiasco of the war.  From December 19th to the 25th there were elements of the 106th Infantry Division, 82nd Airborne Division, 7th Armored Division, 9th Armored Division, 75th Infantry Division, 509th Parachute Battalion (Separate), and the 3rd Armored Division involved.  At no time was any one unit given command. I knew there were 82nd Airborne Division units around Malempre and I know there were some troops from the 3rd Armored Division on my right around Odeigne but there was no one coordinating their movements.  In fat, both units moved back on the evening of the 24th without my knowledge and left my roadblock alone facing the 2nd SS Panzer.

 
 
All during the day of the 24th, N-15 back to Manhay was clear and the medics used it freely to evacuate our wounded.  They kept bringing rumors back that we were going to be relieved at any time.  Colonel Richardson told me by radio in the PM to be ready to pull back on a moment notice but gave me very little details.  I did see some armor movement on the hill to my north that did turn out to be the relief that I had been getting report about.  In the late evening I reported to Colonel Richardson that enemy armor was moving on my right flank and had moved in behind me but that I had nothing to send back to contain it.  Colonel Richardson rogered the message and told me that I was to remain in place and not give up any ground.  He told me that our move out would probably come later; that things were not right back in Manhay.
 
Things started going wrong at my end.The road to the rear was cut off and about the same time the receiver on my S.C.R. 510 Radio on my jeep went out and the transmitter on Captain Cobb’s radio was out.  For the rest of the night, I had to use both jeeps to communicate.
 
For the record on the 23rd, N-15 was the Corps boundary between VII Corps and XVIII Airborne Corps, which was not good.  During the day of the 24th, General Montgomery, the British commander who had taken over the northern sector of the Bulge, moved the Corps boundary about a mile to the west between Manhay and Grandmenil.  I was in VII Corps but defending in XVIII Airborne Corps area.  At the same time he ordered XVIII Airborne Corps to withdraw their forward units north along a line north of Manhay.  Colonel Richardson was not told of the withdrawal order, so he was unable to pass the information to me.  The first he knew about it was when CCA 7th Armored Division started moving back from Hill 507 North through Manhay, and the German tanks I had reported earlier moved with them.
 

I was not informed that Task Force Kane 3rd Armored Division had had to withdraw from Odeigne nor were we informed that elements of the 82nd Airborne Division and 9th Armored Division had withdrawn from Malempre.  Again after dark, I got an order from Colonel Richardson to remain in place and await further orders.  From time to time during the evening he kept checking on our welfare by radio and told me he was attempting to get permission to withdraw.  I kept him informed that we were holding in good shape.

 
In the early morning hours of December 25th, I do not know the exact time, he gave me an order that I will never forget, “Get out now if you can, but don’t use the road you went up on, try east.”  I gave my company commanders the orders that we would move out with tanks on the road and the infantry on either shoulder and that we would move to Malempre and join friendly forces there.  We moved out in good fashion and got all the troops on the road.  We probably were within less than a thousand yards from Malempre when our lead tank was hit by an enemy tank round.  About the same time the enemy had moved in behind and knocked out my two rear tanks.  We started receiving machine gun fire from our right flank.  I sent a patrol out to tell the gunners to cease fire that we had come to give them a hand.  The patrol returned and told me that those gunners did not speak our language.  However, they stopped firing with a little help from a high explosive round.
 
The terrain was such that we could not move the tanks off the road and firing continued from our front.  I laid in the snow under a blanket with a flashlight and checked my map and it looked like the most likely way out was on foot across country toward Bra.  I checked with Colonel Richardson by radio and he was unable to give me any information.  In fact, about that time he was caught in a fire fight between Manhay and Grandmenil.  I got my commanders together and gave the order that all vehicles would be destroyed and that we would move out in combat formation on foot.  I then radioed the colonel, “This is the last message you will received from this station.  Out.”
 
This was taking place probably around three o’clock on Christmas morning.  There was snow on the ground; it was clear and a bright moon shining.  I for the first and only time carried an M-1 rifle because I had vowed that I would never be taken a prisoner.  Thank God I did not have to use it.
 

About dawn we spotted a village to our front and I halted the formation in some woods and set some scouts out to check the situation.  Things did not look good because we sky lighted a German tank moving from the village.  In a short while the patrol returned and reported friendly troops in the town and that it was safe to enter.  I moved my troops into the town of Bra and then located command headquarters.  It was the 504th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division.  I found out that they were the troops that had been in Malempre the day before.  I met with the Commanding Officer and he was about as confused and exhausted as I was.

 
He could not offer any location of my unit nor could he produce any communication to them.  I did find out that we were in different Corps and I requested transportation to move my troops back to the 3rd Armored area.  He nearly blew his top but with a little persuasion, he located some trucks and told me they would take me to the Corps boundary and no further.  In fact, he sent an escort officer along to make sure.  This was after a Christmas Day dinner of cold “C” rations.
 

We reached the Corps boundary at a crossroad somewhere north and west of Manhay several miles and dismounted.  I still did not know where any of our units were.  We were setting up a defense when a lone American jeep came down the road.  I stopped it and found it was Major Nathan Duffey Quinn, S-4, 33rd Armored Regiment.  It just happened that the 33rd had just been released from the 30th Infantry Division near Trois-Ponts and returning to the 3rd Armored Division.  Duffey was on his way to locate division headquarters.  I left the units at the crossroads and went with Duffey.

 

We located division headquarters at Barvaux.  The first person I ran into was Lieutenant Colonel Wesley A Sweat, Division G-3 and a very good friend of mine.  He looked up and said, “My God, Brew.  We thought you were dead.”  My answer, “Not quite.”  I then explained to him what had happened and that I needed transportation to pick up my troops.  Colonel Sweat then said he thought the chief of staff would like to hear my experience.  He went and got Colonel John A Smith the division chief of staff.  I had to explain what had transpired since I had signed off the radio.  The chief then said, “I think the General would like to talk to you.”  He then took me to see Major General Maurice Rose, Commanding General 3rd Armored Division.

 
General Rose was sitting behind his desk looking like he had just stepped out of a band box and said, “Brewster, what happened?”  I explained the situation and he asked if I had any ammunition and fuel left.  My answer was “Yes”.  He said, “And you quit fighting?”  My explanation was that I had very few vehicles left that could be replaced and I had some good soldiers that would be hard to replace and I chose to bring them out on foot to fight another day rather than stay surrounded and sacrifice them.
 
At this point I should mention that I had been on the go from the morning of December 23rd to the evening of December 25th without sleep.  I had not shaved that day and with all the winter clothes I had on I am sure I looked like “Sad Sack.”
 

Without hesitation, the General said, “Brewster, you are under arrest for misbehavior before the enemy.  Give the Chief your gun!”  The Chief took me out and got hold of me Major John “Bunny” Tucker, former executive officer, 83rd Reconnaissance Battalion that General Rose had relieved the day before but not charged him for any crime and detailed “Bunny” to be my escort guard wherever I went.  “Bunny” and I were good friends.  Colonel Sweat informed me as I came out that trucks had been dispatched to pick up my troops.

 
By that time it was dark and I was told that supper was being served.  Major Tucker and I went to the mess and I was expecting at least some left-over turkey and guess what, they were serving SPAM!  So my Christmas day meals consisted of cold “C” rations and Spam.  At least I was alive and out of the elements, division headquarters had moved into houses in the town of Barvaux and I did have a bed to lay in.  All I owned was what I had on my back.  My bed roll, extra clothes, shaving equipment, etc. had been left when we came out on foot.  Thank to Tucker, I borrowed his razor and some clean clothes and got cleaned up and got a good night’s sleep.
 

On the 26th Tucker and I went to breakfast and were then ordered to report to Lieutenant Colonel Sylvester, the Division Inspector General.  He put me through the third degree and put it all down in writing and then he and I took a jeep to Grandmenil to talk to Colonel Richardson.  I found out that General Rose had called Richardson up to his headquarters about midnight and raked him over the coals for what I had done.  For the next few days, things just rocked along.  Bunny and I went to meals and sat around playing cards and sleeping.  On New Year’s Eve, Bunny came up with a bottle of good American Whiskey and he and I toasted the New Year.

 

At breakfast on January 2, 1945, I was told to report to General Rose in his office at 1300 hours.  I had no idea what the verdict would be.  I went to headquarters at 1230 hours and the Chief caught me as I walked in and said the general would see me then.  I reported to General Rose and he looked me in the eye and said, “Brewster, I want you to know that I never change my mind.  But in your case, I am, Colonel Richardson says he needs you and right now.  However, I am going to keep my eye on you and if you screw up again, I will throw the book at you.”  I saluted and left his office. (The above conversation I had with General Rose is the only time that it had been in writing.  Only the General, the Chief and I were present.)

 

As I walked out of the General’s office, Major William “Mule” Yarborough, S-4 32nd Armored Regiment was standing there with my pistol and said, “Let’s get out of here.”T  hen he explained that we were starting a general offensive the next day, January 3, 1945.  Richardson was waiting on me to move the unit to our new position.  About all Richardson said was that he was sure glad to get me back and that we had to get going on a reconnaissance.  It was still very cold and had done some more snowing so movement was slow.

 

It was after the war that I found out just what did happen to cause General Rose to change his mind.  He could not himself prefer charges.  He told Colonel Richardson to prefer charges and Richardson refused because he knew that what I had done was the right move.  He then ordered Brigadier General Doyle O. Hickey, Commanding General Combat Command “A”, the finest officers I ever knew, to prefer charges and General Hickey is supposed to have told General Rose that he would resign his commission before he would do so.  General Hickey retired as a Lieutenant General after having served as Chief of Staff Far East Command under General Mac Arthur, Ridgway and Mark Clark.

 
On the 3rd January 1945, we started the offensive to wipe out the German invasion of the Ardennes.  The objective was that the 1st Army would attack from the North and the 3rd Army would attack from the South and would close the gap at Houffalize.  Task Force Richardson was to jump off in vicinity of Bra and move through Lierneux, Verleumont, and Joubieval.  The snow was over a foot deep and the temperature was well below zero and the Germans had done a good job of setting up defensive delaying positions.  The going was slow with casualties on both sides.  In five days we had moved about ten miles.  On the 8th of January after spending all night replacing a bridge the enemy had blown in front of us, we moved toward the town of Sart.  I had a battle group of Company “H” 32nd Armored Regiment and an Infantry Company from the 83rd Infantry Division.
 

Colonel Richardson split his task force into two groups that morning.  He took one group to the right to secure the high ground and gave me the group on the left to secure the town.  Nothing seemed to go right from the start.  Captain Cobb, my tank company commander, was wounded by a tree burst just as we moved out and was evacuated.  The next in command was wounded shortly thereafter, and a sergeant had to take command.  It was bitter cold that day and the snow was about a foot deep and deeper in spots and the infantry had a slow go.

 

About mid-morning we reached the outskirts of Sart after overcoming some enemy resistance and some villagers informed us that the Germans had planted tank teller mines in the street and that the snow had covered them up.  Then could not tell us just where they were.  I brought up a squad of “A” Company 23rd Engineers and had them spread out the width of the narrow street and drag their feet through the snow to locate them.  About half way through the village we found them stretching all the way across the street from house to house.  All told we removed sixty-eight Teller mines, some stacked on top of each other.  If a tank had hit that mine field, half the village would have been destroyed along with the tank.  The enemy had pulled out of town so we did not have to do any house to house fighting.

 

Our objective for the day was to the tree lined hill about a mile distance over open terrain.  I was explaining to a newly assigned tank 2nd Lieutenant, that I had not met, my plan of a coordinated attack with tanks, infantry and artillery when the enemy started dropping mortar rounds on us.  I was on foot and was forced to seek cover in a nearby building.  The infantry commander and I were making our way through the snow when a mortar round hit behind us.  I had heard that you never hear the one that hits you and that was true is this case.  I saw the Lieutenant’s helmet fly off his head and I felt a pain in my leg that felt like the Lieutenant had kicked me.

 

I located Colonel Richardson’s C.P. and he wanted to know what had happened and I told him I was not sure but that the Krauts were throwing a lot of mortar.  The Lieutenant retrieved his helmet and it had a big dent in it but he was not injured.  Colonel Richardson sent me back to see our battalion surgeon, doctor “Scatter” Martin.  Nothing was showing from the outside and we started peeling off clothes.  Arctic’s overshoes, combat boots, two pairs of wool socks, tanker’s wool lined pants, wool O.D. ants, and long handled underwear to get to the bare skin.

 

The Doctor found a small open wound that had bled very little.  He told me I had a million dollar wound and that he was going to evacuate me, probably for a couple of weeks.  The Doctor put some sulfa and a bandage on it and I told him I would see him later.  I rejoined Colonel Richardson to cover the situation.  I got my map case that I had been carrying in my left hand to show him my plan of attack.  To my surprise, I found a mortar fragment had passed through my map case less than three inches below my hand.  The hole was about the size of a half dollar but the irony was it took out our objective for the day.

 

After some discussion, Richardson insisted that I go back and get the leg treated.  I went by our battalion CP halftrack and gave Captain Harry Zech, our S-3 Air my pistol, field glasses and my map case and told him to guard them till I returned and then returned to the aid station.  I had no idea at that time that that would be the last time I would see those people.  As I recall this took place around noon or shortly thereafter.  Doctor Martin sent me back on the next load of injured to the division collecting station.  I knew quite a few of the Doctors back there and they came around to check me out and to find out what was going on up front.

 
I sat around for a spell and visited and drank coffee and they assured me that I would be back in a couple of weeks.  While we were visiting someone came in and said that the temperature was minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit.  That was enough for me and I took the next ambulance to the rear.
 
I was walking when I left the collecting station but when we reached another collecting station, I know not where, I requested a litter.  My leg was really hurting.  There they separated the seriously wounded and gave them treatment and sent them out at once.  The rest of us waited for available transportation.  I ended up in a field hospital in Verviers, Belgium, checked by the Doctors and I was given a shot of penicillin and told that I would spend the night there.  It was unreal, but true.  My brother Ed was stationed in that town with the advance Section Communication Zone.  The litter bearers passed a phone on the way to my new bed and I got them to stop so I could make a phone call.  I had a number and told the officer on duty that this is Major Brewster and I wanted to speak to Major Brewster.
 

After I explained he assured me he would have Ed over shortly.  Would you believe, they took me to a room that had a bed with white sheets on it, the first sheets I had seen in months.  By the time they had brought me a meal and got me settled in the bed, Ed showed up.  It was quite a reunion.  The Doctor gave permission for me to have a drink.  Before I finished the drink, I went to sleep but do remember Ed saying that sleep would do more good than the visit that he would see me the next day.  I was “One Tired Teddy Bear.”  The only problem was that every three hours they woke me up to give me another shot of penicillin.  The next day Ed came over and told me that he had talked to the hospital commander and made arrangements for me to stay there for a few days so we could get in a visit.

 

A couple of days later I got word not to eat supper that they planned to operate on my leg.  I was wheeled to the operating room that had five or six operating table and all of time in use.  The Doctor gave me the metal removed.  It was a jagged piece about the size of a large pencil eraser and told me it had gone through the back of my calf and lodged against the shin bone.  Ed was able to send a cable back home with some explanation so the folks back home would not be shocked when they got the official notice from the War Department.

 

I stayed there for a few more days and was sent by hospital train to Paris.  That was the beginning of a long journey that took me through hospitals in Normandy, England, and finally ended up in Palm Springs, California some six months later.

 
I am writing this in 1990 and all I can say is that I thank God for seeing me though that ordeal and for the good healthy and fine family I have enjoyed these forty five years.
 

Document received from Lt Col Olin F. Brewster 1990

Lt Col Olin F. BREWSTER (Ret)

Task Force Y (Richardson)

3rd Battalion

32nd Armored Regiment

3rd Armored Division

Campaigns

Battle of the Bulge,

Belgium