7:37 | Herb Suerth remembers the time he was injured in battle and the time he spent in the hospital.
Keywords : injured artillery hospital medic nurse amputee nun surgeon German 88mm
Herb Suerth tells of his early life and upbringing in thinking of joining the military. While stationed in New York City, they had a lot of thrills while living in a hotel downtown.
While training for the 101st Airborne Division, Suerth and his company took many test jumps, with varying levels of success. He describes what drew soldiers to Airborne and the trials they all went through to have such a designation.
Herb Suerth tells of some members of his company and one particular encounter with General Patton that he will never forget.
Herb Suerth remembers a memorable moment he had burying a German soldier and the events that transpired after that.
Herb Suerth remembers the time he was seriously wounded in battle and the toll it had on his family.
Herb Suerth remembers a leave he took with some members of his company to Cuba and a particularly close encounter they had while spending time there.
It was a pre-dawn mission and Jack Myers was a little nervous about going out ahead of the lines in the big tank destroyer, but that went OK. It was when they got back that things got scary. Soon after that, they were redeployed by rail through Southern France and into Southern Germany where they picked up a little fresh pork.
During long flights at high altitudes, Kindem and his squadron had to go to extra lengths to preserve oxygen. One particular mission, a group of Germans with an old American plane tried to join Kindem's formation and faced the consequences.
It was a rough crossing for Lou Mafrice. Not only was he seasick, but a bulkhead door slammed on his hand and took off a bit of finger. When his unit got into combat in France, the commanding general insisted on leading at the front. That cost him. As the Battle of the Bulge loomed, Lou's armored outfit was put under the command of George Patton.
They were pinned down by German artillery when the platoon leader told Jack Myers to put a shell into a church steeple where he thought a spotter might be. It worked and they moved on. It was the kind of thing he did all the time but it had resonance after the war.
Choosing between the life of a small town doctor and an engineer was a decision John Miller had to make and he was certain he'd made the right choice. Life during the Depression was difficult for a small town farmer, but Miller navigated his way through it.
The war in Europe was over and Jack Myers returned to England, where he had an amazing chance encounter. After his voyage home, he used the GI Bill to great effect, learning a trade which supported him for over fifty years. He has some words for those who criticize Harry Truman for using the atomic bomb.
John Miller remembers the camaraderie he felt with his battalion and the other men that he was serving alongside. A particularly close relationship with a high-ranking member of the British military allowed them to get a personal tour of some of the most famous English landmarks.
After examining the prisoners to see who was healthy enough to work, those deemed usable were formed into work parties for German factories. Jim Bard was sent to a snowbound little town that looked like a Christmas card, where his job was to stack logs for a wood chipping operation.
"I want to be a machine gunner on a tank." That's what Lou Mafrice told the interviewer at the newly formed 13th Armored Division. So, of course, they sent him to the medical battalion, where he became a halftrack driver, among other things. As the unit prepared to deploy to the European Theater, they discovered they were short one radioman. Lou had another job.
It was a huge convoy to England and almost everyone on the troop ship was seasick. Jack Myers did not get sick but he had gone up on deck as the ship sailed from New York harbor in the middle of the night and that made him a little apprehensive. His first big battle was at Antwerp, where he had to intervene when his squad leader went a little crazy.
Michael Vernello made it to shore at Omaha Beach, but then he had to wait forty days for his weapon, a large artillery piece to arrive. Deep water and bad weather kept it off shore. Once they got going through France, they moved only forward.
After his call up, Jim Bard wound up at Fort McClellan for infantry basic training. To him, it was just an extension of the Boy Scouts and then he was sent to Auburn University, of all places. At the time, it was called Alabama Polytechnic Institute. It was the Army Specialized Training Program, an effort to build up the military's brain trust, but men were needed on the battlefield in Europe and the program was ended. He was sent to the newly formed 106th Division.
The German tanks and guns were far superior to the weaponry of the Americans, says Lou Mafrice of the 13th Armored Division. It was the bombing of their factories that became the deciding factor in the war. While on a reconnaissance mission at the Austrian border, he was startled to see a large mass of soldiers coming straight for him and his driver.
He had started school at Penn State and was studying metallurgy when the attack on Pearl Harbor jolted the nation. Jim Bard joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps and continued studying, but after a few months, he was called up and encountered his first challenge, KP.
The Austrians and local Germans had no heart for the fighting anymore. That was the observation of Lou Mafrice as his unit moved into Austria. Soon, the war in Europe was over and they headed back through Germany, back to Le Havre and then back to the United States. A forty day furlough sounded great, but one week into it, Lou got some urgent orders.
To Jim Bard, the orders were confusing. The inexperienced 106th Division was told to move out, then to hold. When his unit finally moved out in the opening days of the Battle of the Bulge, they were quickly pinned down and surrounded. As he tried to dig a foxhole in the rocky ground, the 1st Sergeant approached with some startling news.
It wasn't easy at the Siegfried Line, says Jack Myers. There were tough pillboxes and bunkers, but he was a gunner on a tank destroyer and he could put a three inch shell right through the gun portals. The Germans had much better tanks, but the American armor was endless, a massive force that could not be stopped. Especially once they got the new 90 mm gun. Mr. Meyers also describes a Christmas Eve incident that shows the human side of war.
While stationed in Iceland, Clifford Wilford remembers thinking that his infantry would be attacked due to their proximity to the Germans stationed in Norway. They were set on high alert on in one instance, not knowing whether they were soon to face combat.
When he got to postwar Tokyo, the old hands told him he had it made. It was an office job for General MacArthur. They were set up in a building with all amenities and Leonard Smith thought that, for an eighteen year old, he was doing pretty well. All he had to do was follow the General's simple rules. When he found out what he could do with his cigarettes, he quit smoking.
The war was over and he had been freed when his German guards disappeared on the road, but Jim Bard and his buddies were stuck in Czechoslovakia with no contact. After staying with a German family for a while, they boarded a train that was supposed to take them to the American lines, but it kept getting sidelined. Finally they saw an American jeep with an American officer and they were on their way. Part 2 of 2.
After an injury sustained in battle, Clifford Wilford found himself in the hospital out for a few days. The feeling of losing long periods of time due to sustained medical absence can leave you disoriented upon return. After his return, his company set out to capture Frankfurt, Germany.
He had opened his own hair salon and was doing well, but Michael Vernello was drafted into the Army where he was assigned to the field artillery. The whole unit went to Florida for swim training and they thought they were boarding trucks back to camp. Instead, they were taken to a dock.
They started in the eleventh grade, military recruiters giving tests and reminding students about the draft. John Mcginty joined the Navy two months before the draft would take him in 1944. He went aboard the brand new light cruiser USS Atlanta while the welders were still working. As a Projectileman, he had to load shells that presented a unique challenge.