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A Little History from my Dad's Journal

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by RightHand, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    With apologies to Charles Dickens, it was only the worst of times. It was December 1944 and I was in Sigolsheim, France. I was cold, hungry, scared, and in command of the unit engaged in the most vicious fighting experienced by this outfit since Anzio.

    It's a Christmas I'll never forget. We were pushing hard to gain control of Hill 351. I don't know how many Krauts I took down that day but I remember thinking that I didn't want to die on Christmas and I didn't want any of my men to die on Christmas but that was not to be. A young soldier in my command got hit in the throat by a fifty caliber. As he started to crawl toward me, I was able to get to him just as he collapsed in my arms. I dragged him over to where I had been crouched under a disabled tank and I cradled him as he bled to death. What a way to die.

    We captured Hill 351, liberated the Colmar prison camp, and Sigolsheim was destroyed.

    In the Rheims Hospital, I met Margaret Bourke-White, the photo-journalist. She asked me if I could give her the name of a town so badly damaged that I didn't think it could be rebuilt. That was easy - Sigolsheim.

    When I met Bourke-White again at Walter Reed hospital in Washington many years later, she told me that she had gone to Sigolsheim and had agreed that it beyond hope. Ultimately, we were both proved wrong. Today, Sigolsheim is still standing and a monument has been erected in memory of the brave soldiers of all nations who fought and died there in the cause of world freedom.

    Some men have said that they loved the "glories of war" but all I can say is they haven't seen much real war. It's bloody, dirty, degrading, and it will stay with you the rest of your life. Every image, every drop of blood, every smell, every fear, every moment of grief and every tear will still be with you 50 years later. Just ask me.

    Dad was 3rd ID, 15th Reg, and I was able to find this link about the fighting in the Colmar Pocket on the 3ID site. Very interesting. http://www.dogfacesoldiers.org/colmar/xxxx-09.htm
  2. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    I miss your fathers Journal posting you used to post, and the Pictures.
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

  4. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Same here. Your dad was sooooo cool! Along with being a solider, he had the presence of mind to document his day's and take pictures also which gives us a peek into his life and the lives of the men he served with. Great reading. My wife was looking through it last night with me and she said "it should be published." I agree. Thanks again RH.
  5. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Thanks guys. I am working on a project with his journals now, kind of a soldier's story. Hope to get it finished one of these days and published if possible. I really enjoy the first person commentary.
  6. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    The Yankee Captain and the Jefferson Davis Tree

    I was stationed at Fort Monroe, Virginia, the oldest military post in the country. It was 1948 and I was in command of Headquarters Company of the Office of the Chief of Army Field Forces (OCAFF), the highest tactical force in the Army. I had, at various times, about 200 men in the unit. To my great advantage, or rather to the advantage of the unit, I also had assigned to me another 300 men actually stationed at the Pentagon. The unit received the PX dividend for each man assigned to the outfit, regardless of where he might be living. This happy circumstance allowed me the opportunity to purchase many things for the men that would have otherwise been impossible.
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    The men that I had were assigned to the various offices of OCAFF. Many of them were former officers who had been riffed (reduction in force levels) and were putting in enough time to retire at their former grades or were hoping for recall at those grades.
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    Before their duties began at their respective office assignments, I was require to keep them up to snuff in soldierly aspects. One of these was the performance of close-order drill which we did every morning, weather permitting. As we performed this daily duty, we had to constantly maneuver around a high oak tree. This irritated me to no end so I finally called the Post Engineer and told him that I wanted the offending tree removed. Well, after a long pause that I now know gave him time to almost recover from a near stroke, he asked me in frigid, stentorian tones, if by any wild chance of misbegotten conjecture, was I referring to the tree directly in from of my office? When I replied affirmatively, he told me in hushed tones that I was talking about the Jefferson Davis tree and I should know better, as a Yankee – a Damned Yankee at that, to even breath the sacred name of that sacred man! Humbled , as I should have been and certainly put in my place, I could do no less than simply reply “Oh” and hang up. It was the last time I every asked for any tree to be removed before I investigated any historical or local significance.
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    This is meant in no way to denigrate the name or fame of the great Jefferson Davis but merely to tell a story.
  7. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Got one of Faye Kellerman's books to take to Tampa...And the intro was about just this....Writing down everything her father told her about the War...
    She said "If any of you have stories from your fathers? My advice to you, dear readers, is WRITE THEM DOWN! NOW!"

    Good Book!

    STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS is my third book outside of the Deckers, my second historical novel, this one taking place in Munich between the two World Wars. It revolves around serial killings investigated by Inspector Axel Berg, against a backdrop of Hitler’s rise to power. For me, it was an arduous journey back in time, a physical and emotional trek that involved travels to Munich and a trip to Dachau. But the book was somewhat of a calling, reconnecting me to my father, Oscar Marder and his war experiences.
  8. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    March 1945 - Germany

    It was March 1945 and I was in German. We were attacking down a road leading into a little town or village. My driver, Scripsic, was watching the road very carefully for sign of mines as I was scanning the area with my field glasses.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

    Suddenly, unseen by either of us, there was a Kraut tank on our right side up on a little promontory. As we drew past him he opened fire with his co-axial 20mm guns. He caught us just below the seat level on my side of the jeep. Fortunately, most of the impact was absorbed by the side of the jeep but there was enough of it above to catch me in the testicles. I didn’t realize at the time the full extent of the wound since my mind was on determining where the fire was coming from and how to get the hell out of there.

    Realizing the tanks usually located their targets with their 20mms then pumped in a round from their big tube, Scripsic reacted almost instantly and took off down the road. He moved out right smart and got out of range while the tank was just missing us with his fire. We were approaching the town around a sharp curve in the road and as we turned into the street at the edge of town, there was a Kraut half-track with a young Lieutenant hovering over the guns. I fired a short burst of machine gun fire over his head and he threw his hands up in surrender. He and his driver climbed out and Scripsic pulled over to the side of the road and took charge of them. I climbed into the half-track to pull it out of the way just as one of our tanks pulled up and his tube started to swing around to the firing position. I stood up and began yelling “I’m a GI” knowing full well that nobody could possibly hear me. Luckily, he must have recognized the shape of the helmet and my uniform as he held his fire!!! Talk about sweating it out. All the adrenalin pumping through me had dulled the pain from the wound but by this time, my lower half was covered with blood. Scripsic must have been going 75mps through those ruts but he got me to a medic who patched me up. All wasn’t lost – my Lelyn made me a father again three years later.
  9. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Thank you! Thank you ! Thank you! for sharing!!!

    I remember following your dad's story daily. It was wonderful. I can hardly wait to read more.

  10. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    what Tracy said! Thank you....I so enjoy my dad's stories...and when I get over there ....I am going to make , MAKE , him start recording them for me.....He has great stories...and a lot of pictures!

    They make it come alive..your stories.....Thank you Dee...
  11. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Ow....ow.....ow......ow.....oh....ouch! That had to hurt.

    Great story. Can you imagine the adrenaline dump when they got hit and saw that German tank? Wow.
  12. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    You really do need to get this stuff published RH. This is a treasure trove. I love reading it. Keep it coming!Thanks!!
  13. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    In later years it became a family joke that Dad was really "shot in the azz" with being a soldier
  14. Minuteman

    Minuteman Chaplain Moderator Founding Member

    Today got me to thinking about your Dad's journal RH. I wanted to bump this for those new members who may not have seen it. Where is the daily journal entries that you posted? I haven't found that. Or was it on the "other" site?
    I think we have a lot of new memebers who would like to see it.

    Remembering all who gave all.
  15. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Thanks MM. The daily entries are on the other forum but I do have the journal and photos on the Sadlak server. You can read the journal here
  16. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    For those who haven't read RH's father's journal, I highly recommend it.

    I read it, as she posted it elsewhere, day-by-day and found myself eagerly awaiting the next day's entry. It's an incredible step back in time and a perspective of history that you don't get an opportunity to experience.

    RH-After reading your father's journal, I asked my father if he would be so kind as to write his memories, even tape them, for my children and their children's children to cherish. Apparently; it's not his "thing", so stories from my childhood will only be passed down as I remember them, not as they were experienced. Journals, like your father's, are priceless for those generations to come. Your family is very lucky to have such treasures.
  17. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    Tracy, how about giving him a micro-recorder. That would be even better to hear the stories in his own voice. Or, you or/and the children could interview him and record it all.

    When my daughter was young, I used to give her a tape recorder to play with and then, periodically, I would pull the tape and put in a new one. That was all before camcorders. I continue to delight in the sound of her voice when she was 6.
  18. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Awesome. I really loved reading them!
  19. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Im with melbo as well, my whole famliy was reading them, very interesting look into a great mans life and history at the same time.
  20. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

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