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US Army

My Best Christmas Dinner

My Best Christmas Dinner

On the 16th of December 1944 as I was returning from a few days of R&R, we ran right into the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.  Because we were heavy artillery, we were ordered to move our unit to the rear for a better position to fire the big guns.  However, without really getting the guns dug in, we were ordered out again to the rear near Wallerode, and then again to Commanster, Dochamps, and several other locations until we were finally in place just outside Bastogne.
December 20, on the move again.  Near Sibret, we were surprised by several tanks with their powerful 88’s and with no time to dig in, we just aimed down the breach and fired at the tanks.
The next think I remember, my command car was hit and several of the jerry cans filled with gasoline and I went sky-high, landing in the snow with my uniform on fire and my legs and arms pointing in very odd positions.

With no thought to their safety, my first sergeant and gun sergeant came to my aid.  They put out the fire and somehow managed to put me on the hood of a jeep and yelled, “Find an ambulance as quick as you can.”


In a state of going in and out of consciousness, I found myself in an ambulance.  After driving a while I heard the ambulance driver say he was lost, but somehow found a field hospital only to find they were moving out to the rear.


Finally, after several field hospital stops, I awoke in a hospital just on the outskirts of Paris where I was operated on, given blood, dressed in a body cast and shipped to the coast by train to board an English hospital boat.


I arrived in a General Hospital in England very late in the evening.  The nurse asked, “Have you had anything to eat?”  Not that I remember I said, and off she went to the kitchen.  She came back over apologetic with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The kitchen was closed.

I was so happy to be safe and alive, I didn’t care what she found to eat so gave her a big hug as she wished me Merry Christmas and went back to sleep.
I thank the Lord so many, many times for all those that worked so hard to get me back to safety and to those who operated on my arms and legs and gave me medical care.  The unknown Saviors in my rescue will probably remain unknown to me, but in my heart I will always be grateful to them for the part they played to save my life.
Source: Bulge Bugle February 1996

771st Field Artillery



Battle of the Bulge,