Forces of the Western Allies: American Soldiers in Europe during World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: D-Day tours, Medal of Honor: Most decorated Heroes, D-Day, Normandy, U.S. Army Rangers, Airborne Paratroopers, WW2 Jeeps, Tank Destroyers, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach, D-Day re-enactments, Art looted by Americans.
Gaston McCauley drove and fired from an Army Jeep in WWII Europe
Gaston McCauley recalls his entry into World War II in 1944 and his exit from the conflict two years later: "I got drafted, but when I`d gone down to register I told them to put me in the next group. I wanted to go." But months of driving a Jeep and aiming its mortar and machine gun at the enemy made McCauley equally eager to return home after the war ended in Europe. "We were supposed to be a reconnaissance squadron, but really we spearheaded. We were supposed to go out and learn what was out there and come back. But, basically, we would radio them and we didn`t come back. We kept on going. At times we were as far as 40 miles ahead of the main forces."
World War II veteran William Erick recalls landing at Omaha Beach, Battle of Bulge
42025561 A.S.N. It`s a designation that William H. Erick will never forget. The 8 numbers and 3 letters represent the Army Serial Number on the dog tags he wore fighting his way across Europe. He describes the battle at Saint-Lô: "American planes dropped small smoke bombs to mark where the front lines were. The reason they did that was to carry out saturated bombings. There was only one problem: The smoke drifted over our lines and when the bombers came, they dropped some of their bomb loads short and killed many of our own people." But when the smoke finally cleared, the Americans had succeeded in pushing the Germans out of Saint-Lô. "When we went through Saint-Lô, it was absolutely flat. I don`t think there were two bricks left together. That was our breakthrough. We opened a door for General Patton`s Third Army to go through."
The Liberator: One World War II Soldier's 500-Day Odyssey from the Beaches of Sicily to the Gates of Dachau
Alex Kershaw`s new book "The Liberator" begins with the visit of an older man to the burial places and battle grounds of his once-fellow soldiers. It is a wrenching visit, bathed in sadness and tears and a landslide of regret, and though we do not know much about the man making the journey, we know enough to suspect that in the 350 pages that follow Felix Sparks will endure hellish days. Sparks enters the war as a 26-year-old second lieutenant of the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds). He exits as a 28-year-old lieutenant colonel with ribbons and medals, who not only fought his way through titanic battles in Italy, France and Germany, but was also head of the force that liberated Dachau.
WWII veteran Alex Lopez recalls duty as guard at Nazi trials: Goering called me schweinehund
Allied officials were looking for a tall combat veteran to guard Hermann Goering, Luftwaffe commander and Gestapo founder and one of the highest-ranking Nazi officials. Clean-shaven Pvt. Alex Vincent Lopez, with his chiseled chin and no-nonsense brown eyes peering from beneath his white helmet, fit the bill. In his wallet, Lopez still carries a photo from the trials. It shows him standing behind Goering. Once, Goering autographed a dollar bill for him, but it wasn't always an easy job: "One day he took his earphone apart, and there was a sharp instrument in there. I had a BB sap that big. I hit him over the hands with the BB sap, and he called me a schweinehund."
WWII vet: Our lieutenant was 100 miles away during an attack, but won a Bronze Star nonetheless
Shortly after he graduated high school in Siota, Illinois in 1942, Robert Oleson enlisted in the U.S. Army along with his four school friends. One afternoon Oleson was on board the supply train in Sicily when his men came under fire: "There was a lieutenant in my company who was 100 miles away when the attack occurred... The major awarded him a Bronze Star. I didn't think it was fair ... and I spoke to the Major about it. The Lieutenant found out and he busted me down to a corporal." After returning home in October 1945: "I found out all four of my high school friends were killed."
WWII sniper Otto Conzelmann served with the 84th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army
As a sniper with the 84th Infantry Division, Otto Conzelmann was the first to enter an area and the last to leave. Twice he took shrapnel, once in the back and once in the face, and a tracer bullet came so close to him once it burned his nose. Snipers carried a Springfield rifle with a telescopic sight. While the sight meant more accurate aim, it also meant Conzelmann got a good look at the man he was shooting. One kill stands out in his mind, toward the end of the war. The His sergeant was trying to talk to a young German POW. "He was about 15 years old. The sergeant had a .45 on his side. The German reached for it, and if he had gotten it out, he would've killed somebody."
Villers-Bocage, Normandy 1944 by Henri Marie (book review)
Author Henri Marie has put together the memories of individuals who took part, official records, and included the memories of the civilians who lived through the battle of Villers-Bocage. The result is a detailed 144-page account of the events leading up to the battle that took place on the 13th June 1944, what happened during that day, and the consequences of those events. The book is heavily illustrated throughout, including several rare photos.
Calvin Walker recalls WWII with 635th Tank Destroyers: Went deer hunting and come back with a Nazi POW (long article)
Calvin Walker may be the only American GI to have gone deer hunting and come back to his outfit with a Nazi POW instead. That was the Battle of Hürtgen Forest sometime in the fall of 1944 with Company A of Army's 635th Tank Destroyer Battalion. "We had seen a some deer run through that part of the woods and I went to see if I could get one. We were sick of those rations. I didn't see a deer when I got into the woods, but a saw a man running from me. I shot and yelled, 'Hergekommen! Halt! Hergekommen! Halt!'"
A Day in April 1945: Fighting skirmishes, taking POWs, liberating towns, meeting joyous Dutch hosts
Dick Field saw combat with the Royal Canadian Artillery, Second Division, 4th Field Regiment in Belgium, Holland and Germany as a 19-year-old gunner and forward observation signaller working with the infantry. Experiences over even a single 24-hour period could be extreme: "We fought skirmishes, encountered joyous Dutch hosts, took German POWs, liberated villages, burned down houses, came under enemy fire and generally kept moving as fast as conditions and the Germans allowed during just one single day."
WWII veteran Pete Hardy served in the U.S. Army's 42nd Rainbow Division (long article)
Pete Hardy saw combat in Europe with the U.S. Army's 42nd Rainbow Division in the 222nd Infantry Regiment. On January 24 and 25, 1945, he found himself in the last struggles of the Battle of the Bulge. GIs - ordered to "hold at all costs" - were fighting in snow two feet deep against 5 German regiments unleashing heavy artillery fire near Neuborg, France. Hardy and his fellow soldiers burned through 33 boxes of machine gun ammunition one night.
"People were dying all over the place. The Germans were coming across the Moder River, a little bitty river, and we were killing them with machine gun fire and their bodies were stacking up. They were stacking up so much that the German soldiers made a footbridge out of them."
U.S. Army infantryman Bill Lipton recalls how 41 German soldiers surrendered to a wounded GI
Bill Lipton joined the fighting in Europe in 1944, serving with the U.S. 407th Infantry Regiment. Lipton explained that after experiencing the reality of combat - the 80% casualty rate of some front-line infantry units - "I came to the conclusion that if I lived through it, it'd be a miracle." He slowly learned the skills that get you through combat: Fire, fall and load - Keep moving, don't bunch up.
"They'd send us replacements and reinforcements who had no training. Some of them, believe it or not, had never fired a rifle, never threw a grenade."
In February, 1945, Lipton joined U.S. troops in a night assault across the Roer River. Shortly afterward he got hit, limping into a small town to escape a German artillery barrage, discovering 41 German soldiers waiting to surrender to someone - even a wounded GI.
WWII veteran Gene Day recalls historic cross over Remagen Bridge
Army medic Gene Day crossed a bridge into the Third Reich in March 1945. Only on the other side he learned he had just crossed the Rhine River using the Remagen Bridge (known as the Ludendorff Bridge in Germany). Since it was the only remaining bridge over the Rhine River into Germany's heartland, the Wehrmacht used every trick - aerial bombardment, artillery, floating mines, V2 rockets - in the book to destroy the bridge.
When the bridge eventually collapsed 10 days after the capture - the exact reason is unknown, but it most likely stems from several factors - it was already too late for the Germans, because American troops had managed to secure a massive bridgehead with additional pontoon bridges.
Nick Gozik recalls the partly failed execution of Eddie Slovik, who was one of the 21,000 GIs sentenced for desertion
The bravest act Nick Gozik, who served with the U.S. Army's 28th Infantry Division, saw during WWII wasn't on the front-lines. On January 31, 1945, Gozik stood witness as Pvt. Eddie Slovik, in a uniform stripped of its insignia, marched in front of the firing squad. Unfortunately, his execution wasn't even the worst thing he suffered from that day: The twelve sharpshooters, making up the firing squad, failed to kill Slovik in their first "Ready, aim, fire!".
During the Second World War over 21,000 American soldiers were sentenced for desertion. This number includes 49 death sentences, of which only one death sentence war actually carried out.
Ed Mauser, the oldest living member of Band of Brothers Easy Company, passes away at 94
Some of the World War II veterans truly are modest, and sometimes it requires an outside trigger to even get them admitting that they have been part of a historical military formation or secretive group. Some of them, like female SOE agent Eileen Nearne, take their secrets to their graves.
Ed Mauser kept his military service with the Company E of the 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division secret even from some of his family members. Things begun to unravel only after he got a copy of the miniseries "Band of Brothers." Mauser explained to his family that some details in the series weren't quite what he remembered.
For the 44th Combat Engineers D-Day landing was the easiest part of their WWII tour of duty
For Ralph Shew, who served with the 44th Combat Engineers, D-Day landing at Utah beach meant only receiving random fire from artillery. However, during the rest of their tour of duty - which took them to the Siege for Brest and the Battle of the Bulge - 70% of engineers of the 44th became casualties.
Sam Harris recalls WWII, the Battle of the Bulge, GI killing unarmed German
Once Harris' platoon was attempting to get a group of German POWs out of a trench, but one of them didn't move. "I didn't want to kill the guy. He had no gun, he wasn't a threat." Then, one GI put his pistol to the POW's temple - and shot him.
In WWII injured American soldiers didn't always want black medic's help
The Allies stormed Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Germans fired from the hills and wounded soldiers cried out for help. Medic James E. Baker came across an Army lieutenant who had a bullet in the knee. But the U.S. Army officer wasn't happy to see a medic, saying: "Get your black hands off me." Baker recalls the incident clearly: "He was cussing me all the time I was trying to wrap him up... It wasn't the first time." Once in France there was a single large latrine, and someone put up a "Whites only" sign. "I remember taking pictures of it. And then we tore it down." Still, black soldiers never went to that latrine alone.
Red Crown and Dragon: 53rd Welsh Division in North-West Europe, 1944-1945 (WW2 book review)
The 53rd Welsh Division was the only Welsh division in the British Army - and it was among their best. 53rd saw combat in Normandy, broke through the Siegfried Line and plunged across the Rhine deep into the Third Reich. The achievements of the Welsh Division were recognised by Field Marshal Montgomery who said: "53 Division has been and is, one of my best divisions". Their feats are the topic of a meticulously researched book by Patrick Delaforce - a troop leader in Normandy - who has compiled the accounts of overn 60 WWII veterans in "Red Crown & Dragon, 53rd Welsh Division in north-west Europe 1944-1945".
Eddie Jokela Served with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division
Eddie Jokela was accepted by the U.S. Army for the 10th Mountain Division because of his Finnish ancestry. He was one of the first 25 men in the 87th Mountain Infantry Battalion - and recognized as one of the division's "founding fathers." When the U.S. Fifth Army faced German forces entrenched in the Italian Alps, the 10th was brought in. Eddie recalled: "We went straight across a mine field. It never exploded because the ground was frozen. The next morning a couple of soldiers died crossing the same strip." After the Nazi Germany surrendered 10th was sent sent to Yugoslavia, where Marshal Tito still had not given up.
American WWII veteran Jim Rubash met Russian army at Elbe River in 1945 (Article no longer available from the original source)
Imagine tou are an American infantryman deep in a German forest; it's midnight in March 1945; you are moving through an area with Nazi troops nearby; suddenly you bump into a dead German soldier - hanging by the neck from a tree limb. Jim Rubash says that is his worst WWII memory. He thought the German soldier had been hanged by the German SS, as a deserter. Rubash was a squad Leader in the 271st Infantry Regiment of the 69th Infantry Division. On April 26th men of the 69th made contact with the elements of the Russian army. Rubash recalls that one of them was a heavily built Russian woman carrying a machine gun.
A new openness to discussing Allied war crimes in WWII: "We didn't take prisoners"
It was the first crime William E. Jones had ever committed: The 4th Infantry Division had seized a small hill and the GIs lost all self-control: "The Germans were baffled... We didn't take prisoners and there was nothing to do but kill them." While researching for his book "D-Day: The Battle for Normandy," Antony Beevor learned that Allied soldiers committed war crimes in Normandy to a much greater extent than was thought. American, British and Canadian troops killed German POWs and wounded soldiers, and used Wehrmacht and Waffen SS soldiers as human shields and forced them to walk through minefields.
American World War II veteran recalls the battle of Normandy
Pfc. Lloyd Knauff arrived in Normandy on June 22, 1944, just a couple of weeks after the historic D-Day invasion. When he reached the shore, he saw bodies floating. "Eating was very tough the first few days." August 23, 1944 Knauff and his men saw German Tiger tanks coming in. "Get out of there. Withdraw," a U.S. captain ordered. Knauff hurried toward a small river, leaving 30 caliber machine gun behind. A loud boom shook the ground. He looked around and saw an American tank on fire. A German Tiger had taken it out. Knauff ran toward a hedgerow when the German bullets began pelting the ground in front of him. He kept moving, but he was not fast enough...
Major-General Peter Leuchars's brushes with death in World War II
After the battle for Cagny, Peter Leuchars was digging a trench when a shell bounced in - and failed to explode. Half way through the battle for Le Bas Perrier the radio broke down, so Leuchars found a small dip in the ground to write a message to HQ. Suddenly the air erupted with explosions and shell and mortars fell where he had been standing. Later the same day, fire from a German tank passed over his head and an artillery shell exploded in front of his jeep. Near Hechtel his platoon cleared a line of houses, but one of his section commanders misidentifed him and fired a bullet in Leuchar's chest: smashing the revolver that he carried over his heart.
The real Inglourious Basterds: Britain's secret Jewish commandos
The commando, a balaclava over his head and his face blacked up with camouflage, clung to the rope as he edged up over the top of the cliff on the coast a few miles from Dieppe. It was December 26 1943, and his unit was on a mission to explore beaches as possible sites for a mass landing in Nazi-occupied France. Suddenly he saw a light and a patrol of German soldiers, 15 in all, advancing in his direction, rifles at the ready. If this had been a scene from the film Inglourious Basterds, then the commando would have massacred each and every one of them with his Sten gun. But the reality 65 years ago on that cliff top was very different.
Kenneth Kingsley - With the King's Regiment
In Jan 1943, I found myself in Colchester Cavalry barracks, where we were equipped with battledress, boots, helmet and so on. We were also given two sacks and marched down to a place full of straw. We stuffed our sacks with the straw: the large one served as a mattress, the small one as a pillow. Equipment like belts, ammunition pouches and so on had to be blancoed with a khaki-green blanco powder and water and any brasses had to be polished. We were also issued with a rifle and bayonet. The rifles were the old WW1 rifles. During our basic training, we did endless rifle drills and route marches.
Louis L. Samoisette was a Lost Battalion (1st Battalion, 141st Infantry) survivor
Louis L. Samoisette, one of the few survivors of the WW2 Lost Battalion, was a quiet and humble man who kept his heroics in the U.S. Army to himself. In October 1944, 1st Battalion of 141st Infantry was trapped in the Vosges Mountains in France, encircled by Wehrmacht. After 6 days of freezing, living on meager rations, and seeing fellow GIs injured and killed, the Lost Battalion was rescued by the most decorated unit in U.S. military history: the 442nd Infantry Regiment made up of mostly Japanese-American soldiers. After being rescued, Samoisette was so frozen, he was unable to walk for 3 months.
WWII veteran Bill Hart recalls how a German tank was pointing right at them
On Dec. 17, 1944, Staff Sgt. Bill Hart and corporals Slim Wallen and Jack Nyquist of the 2d Infantry Division were sent out to fix a telephone line. The day before was the start of the Battle of the Bulge. They were following a wire in a jeep driven by Wallen. Once he turned a corner a German tank was pointed directly at them. "Surprise, we didn't know it was going to be there. All the tank driver had to do was hiccup and the jeep... would be history." The Germans seized their weapons and compass. Then an American P-47 Thunderbolt arrived, and the Germans took shelter under the Americans' jeep, while Hart, Wallen and Nyquist ran into a forest.
World War II infantryman recalls bloody scene at Anzio
Joe Pucci remembers the Allied invasion of Anzio in 1944. It was supposed to be the punch that would send the Nazis reeling in Italy. Instead, the surprise assault behind enemy lines turned into a hard, slow fight, giving the Germans time to rush 13 divisions to heights overlooking the area. Allied troops were trapped to a small beachhead for 4 months under a murderous hail of shells. One German propagandist called the Anzio beachhead "the largest self-supporting POW camp in the world." Pucci remembered when Ernie Pyle visited the frontline: "I saw this gray-haired guy sitting on his helmet, and he looked so old I asked someone, 'What's he doing here?'."
Once Upon a Time in War: The 99th Division in World War II -- Book review
Everyone has an opinion on war, but ironically, what should be one of the loudest voices is often a voice that goes unheard: the voice of the soldier. Robert E. Humphrey thinks that the time to hear the soldier's story is now, with his account of WWII's 99th Division, which aims to collect the tales of as many GIs as possible. Formed in Mississippi late in 1942, the 99th Division was made up largely of volunteers who were keen to serve in U.S. Army. 10 months later, the unit would ship out to Europe, where they would spend 6 months on the frontlines in sorry conditions, taking part in one of the biggest engagements of the war: the Battle of the Bulge.
WWII veteran's memoirs online by the Veterans History Project of The Library of Congress
LeRoy Maleck's WW2 memoir of his years in the Army has been published online by the Veterans History Project of The Library of Congress: "What Am I Doing Here? True Adventures While Surviving 1172 Days in the U.S. Army During World War II." --- "After what seemed an infinity of expectancy, it happened - the ominous ripping sound of a German MG 42 machine gun shattered the morning air. The now familiar zing, zing, zing of machine gun bullets told us we were targeted! Mortar fire smothered the advancing infantrymen."
Werner Von Rosenstiel fought in Wehrmacht and U.S. Army
Werner Von Rosenstiel saw that Germany was gearing towards war. He thought of leaving, but his father wanted him to finish his education. In 1938 he was drafted into the Wehrmacht, but after seeing the Kristallnacht he was appalled. He was offered a position in Nazi regime, but he asked to travel to the U.S. for 30 days to improve his English. He would not return for 5 years. After the Pearl Harbour attack he was tried as an enemy alien. Luckily, he had a letter in which he condemned the Kristallnacht. He enlisted in the U.S. army, rose to the rank of lieutenant, fought at the Battle of the Bulge and - as a translator - saw the Nazi leaders at the Nuremberg Trials.
World War II veteran Jack Frank travel back to Europe to retrace his steps
In the autumn of 1944 Army Cpl. Jack Frank and 4 other American GIs searched a cave at Zichen, Belgium, for Wehrmacht soldiers. Finding none, they carved their names into the cave wall with knives. 64 years later, Frank traveled back to Belgium to find his name still visible in the cave, retrace some of his steps during the war and experience a hero's welcome: American flags hanging from the windows, preserved-like-new American Jeep driving him to city hall... "I was a king for a day." Among other places he also visited fortress Fort Eben-Emael; a museum at Bastogne, a center of action during the Battle of the Bulge; and the bridge at Remagen.
Glen Gloyd survived Omaha Beach landing
There is one recollection that stands out in Glen Gloyd's mind about the days before the D-Day invasion: the children he and his comrades came to know in UK. "We greeted them and then threw coins to them. They really enjoyed having us there..." At midnight on June 6, 1944, he got on a landing craft ship headed across the English Channel and to the beaches of Normandy. He was part of the first wave of attacks on Omaha Beach. "It was complete chaos when we got there. There was one point when I looked and saw 12 machine guns with 12 American soldiers draped over them dead. It was hell." ... "We were welcomed by the French citizens like we were stars..."
The Day of Battle: War in Sicily and Italy 1943-1944 (WWII book review)
After chasing Erwin Rommel and Wehrmacht out of North Africa in May 1943, Allied commanders needed to decide what to do next as Operation Overlord could not be undertaken until 1944. In "The Day of Battle" Rick Atkinson shows how Field Marshal Albert Kesselring occupied high ground, bloodying the enemy and then retreating to next mountain citadel. "The Tommies will have to chew their way through us, inch by inch," a German paratrooper wrote. Ortona and Monte Cassino were little Stalingrads with house-to-house fighting. Malaria and breakdowns took thousands off the battlefield. Misguided strategy and bickering among Allied generals also took a toll.
Of 80 Germans Benigno Diaz killed, one haunts him: Hitler Youth boy
Of the more than 80 Germans Benigno Diaz killed in World War II, one continues to haunt him - a 10yo little boy, part of the Hitler Youth campaign to train Nazi soldiers. The boy was hiding out with two German gunmen who had been shooting from inside a building in a small German town in 1945. "I spotted the two ... so I threw a hand grenade and what I saw later was that I had killed a little boy." He can hardly get through the story without forcing back tears. "I didn't expect that. I felt guilty. I still feel guilty. I had to turn away from his face because I didn't want to see it anymore."
Earl Parker fought from D-Day to the final surrender in Reims (Article no longer available from the original source)
It was May 7, 1945, and Army Cpl. Earl Parker watched as German General Alfred Jodl goose-stepped up to the schoolhouse in Reims. "He looked tough and mean. That's the way they were trained". Jodl was there to surrender the military forces of Nazi Germany. The nightmare of Nazism was over. Parker, a member of the U.S. 1st Division "The Big Red One," was on General Dwight Eisenhower's staff, and had been one of the soldiers invited to witness history. It had been a long road to this moment, starting on the Omaha Beach 9 months earlier. In the Hurtgen Forest he was hit with shrapnel. He was in a hospital when it was hit by a V-1 "buzz bomb." But again, Parker survived.
Book filled with World War II stories
More than 300 collected stories will fill the pages of a World War II book being put together by the Tazewell County Genealogical and Historical Society. "These stories are just amazing. These stories can be looked back on 200 years from now to see how these farmers from small villages came together and won this war," said Marge Shepler. The book, which will memorialize the WW2 veterans who lived, worked or died in Tazewell County, will consist of 500 pages of stories of service during the war.
Back to Normandy: From D-Day Omaha beach to Ardennes
On June 6, 1944, Bob Gunsallus and his unit were shipped out to Omaha Beach at Normandy. "They flipped down the landing platform of the LST 50 to 60 feet from shore and said 'start swimming.' I thought I was a pretty strong swimmer, but I damn near drowned several times. The last 10 to 15 feet you literally had to move bodies with every stroke to keep moving." ... During the Battle of the Bulge, he had a shell knock his helmet right off his head. "If I would have had my helmet strapped on I would have probably been killed from the force of the shell. But luckily it just knocked the helmet from my head."
Fighting in France's hedgerows with an anti-aircraft gun
Three days after D-Day, Miguel Soto's unit landed on Utah Beach and was attached to the 448th Anti-Aircraft Battalion. "A landing barge full of engineers next to my barge received a direct hit... I recall seeing dead American paratroopers hanging from trees, riddled with bullets." As his unit pushed toward St. Lo the hedgerow fighting was fierce. Later, he and 3 GIs volunteered for a special mission. They took a 40-mm antiaircraft gun, and placed it with its barrel on top of a hedgerow aimed at an area in which Germans had placed heavy machine guns. They fired explosive shells, then armor-piercing shells, until infantry could destroy the target with hand grenades.
297th Engineer Combat Battalion - In front of the frontline (Article no longer available from the original source)
Shot, shelled, mortared, machine gunned, bombed, bazookaed, and they survived. About 450 of the more than 500 members of the U.S. Army 297th Engineer Combat Battalion lived through World War II. Their mates drowned in the English Channel off the Omaha Beach and Utah Beach on D-Day. Legs were blown off in the Battle of the Bulge. Combat engineers are the men in front of the men with the guns. They remember soldiers drowning in the English Channel: "They put grease on our uniforms to keep out the chemical weapons. Might have kept out the mustard gas. Let in the water. Guys went belly up."
The most decorated unit in the US Army: Japanese Americans
On May 18 Robert Asahina's "Just Americans: How Japanese Americans Won a War at Home and Abroad" will be published. The book is a history of the most decorated unit in the American Army in World War II for its size and length of service - the 442d Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans. About half of the regiment had come out of the "relocation camps." Everyone I spoke knew about the "internment", but no one knew about the 442d. Until I researched I didn't know much about it - or about its predecessor the 100th Battalion, a segregated unit of Japanese Americans from Hawaii.
The first american soldier to set foot on German soil in WWII (Article no longer available from the original source)
Veterans from WW2 and other foreign wars are getting older. In Iowa about 6,000 veterans die each year. Jack McKay was awarded one of his two Bronze Stars during D-Day on the beaches of Normandy in 1944. He also received two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Service Cross, and five Purple Hearts. He was field commissioned to Lieutenant after his superiors saw his leadership and bravery. According to McKay's son, a district court judge, McKay was believed to be the first american soldier to set foot on German soil in World War Two.
Joseph Beyrle: The Only U.S. Soldier To Fight For Soviets
Joseph Beyrle is believed to be the only soldier to have fought for both the United States and the former Soviet Union during WWII. Mr. Beyrle was among the first paratroopers to land in Normandy, as part of the 101st Airborne Division's 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The Germans captured him shortly after he landed. He escaped from a POW camp in Poland and joined a Soviet tank unit headed for Berlin. He fought alongside the Soviets for three weeks or so, and they called him "Joe." He got wounded in the leg along the way, and had to be hospitalized. While he was staying in the hospital, Marshal Georgy Zhukov came over for a visit.