Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

John Neel | Company A, 1st Battalion, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division - Army

2:45   |   John Neel grew up in Louisiana before going to boot camp in Texas and getting accepted into the Army Specialized Training Program at Brooklyn Tech. However, his time there was cut short for infantry training in Louisiana and Kentucky. When he went overseas, his original post was diverted to Belgium after the Germans broke through. (This interview made possible with the support of DARLENE SANDS.)

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Keywords   :     John Neel    World War II    Monroe LA    Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP)    Brooklyn Tech High School    Louisiana    Kentucky    overseas    Atlantic crossing    training    infantry    German army    Belgium    boot camp    Texas    engineering    Camp Breckinridge KY    Le Havre France    British troops    Liege Belgium

Videos ( 4 )
WWII
  • John Neel  |  WWII  |  Company A, 1st Battalion, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division  |  6:33

    Neel was assigned to Company A as a machine gun squad leader. On the way to Belgium, he and his company witnessed a buzz bomb that exploded way off into the distance, which gave him a small idea of what he was in for. It's very easy for him to remember just how unbearably cold it was in Belgium, especially when you're forced to sleep in a snowy foxhole with nothing but a sleeping bag to keep you warm. (This interview made possible with the support of DARLENE SANDS.)

  • John Neel  |  WWII  |  Company A, 1st Battalion, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division  |  6:03

    As he was moving through Belgium, Neel came across his first sight of dead GIs on the battlefield. There would be times afterward he would see more, but he'll never forget what he felt the first time. His company was moving along the Salm River, still staying in foxholes every night. Eventually, they came under machine gun fire and lost a man named Buzz Buzzell. In the Ardennes, two Germans unexpectedly came up to them and surrendered. In addition, Neel talks about two stories where he lost his glasses and a package he received from home. (This interview made possible with the support of DARLENE SANDS.)

  • John Neel  |  WWII  |  Company A, 1st Battalion, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division  |  7:35

    After his time in the Ardennes, Neel's division moved into La Ville-du-Bois. He has a humorous story about a bunch of chickens running loose on the streets and the mortar squad chasing them down for food. When Christmas came, Neel was surprised the dinner spread was as good as it was. Later on, Neel spotted German soldiers in the distance. His sergeant said not to give away their position, but he went against orders and tried to shoot them down. German mortar fire rained down and he and another fellow soldier named Dick Jones were hit in the leg. (This interview made possible with the support of DARLENE SANDS.)

  • John Neel  |  WWII  |  Company A, 1st Battalion, 291st Infantry Regiment, 75th Infantry Division  |  4:53

    After being wounded in combat, both John Neel and Dick Jones were sent from the aid station tent to a hospital. Neel went back across the channel afterwards to hear that the war was already over in Europe. His biggest fear was being sent to the Pacific after, but fortunately he never was, and was promoted to Corporal. (This interview made possible with the support of DARLENE SANDS.)

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