The Remembrances of:
Richard L. Bolinger ~ John E. Weed ~ Robert Timbrook ~ Clyde C. Cooper ~ Alfred Anzalone
Richard L. Bolinger
775th Ordnance (LM) Company
Submitted by Damon Drill, Grandson.
submitting for my grandfather, Richard L. Bolinger, who was a member of the
775th Ordnance (LM) Co. He was told in 1943 that he could either go overseas or
learn a technical trade...he opted to learn the trade of Mechanic. After
completing his schooling he was again told that he could go ahead and ship out
to the ETO or stay in the states awhile and learn a second trade...he opted to
learn the 2nd trade of Carpenter. While stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, he
was approached by a regular army colonel; who, due to his advanced age, found it
uncomfortable to use a slit trench. He asked my grandfather to put his
carpentry skills to use and build him a chair-toilet that could be placed over
the trench. He took a dining room chair, cut down the legs, cut a hole in the
seat, and padded it very nicely. The colonel took the chair to the trench,
dropped his drawers and sat down on it. It seemed to work very well, but it
wasn't boxed in and with no piece of wood between
the front two legs, the colonel preceded to wet the back of his trousers! My
grandfather got a bawling out!
When in Europe, he would often be asked to drive officers from one
headquarters to another. Once, in France, he and an officer departed a
checkpoint and had a long drive to their destination in the middle of the
night. It became very foggy and hard to navigate. He and the officer thought
they were close to Paris, but could not see. They decided at long last to pull
over to the edge of the rough, cobblestone road and wait until morning, and
both pulled his cap over his eyes and dozed off. When they awoke the next
morning the fog had lifted and they were right in front of the Arc de Triumph...
He and his comrades were marching through Belgium or France when they
happened upon a deserted factory. They discovered it had showers and running
water, so they wasted no time in taking advantage of a rare opportunity to
bathe. While they were standing under the showers they heard a noise behind
them on a balcony. Startled, they spun around to see about 10 Belgian women
coming down the steps into the shower stall from the little balcony; each with a
little basket in her hand. The women seemed to think nothing of the soldiers'
state of undress, but made it known that for an American nickel or dime, they
would wash a soldier's back and then give them a bar of soap.
He remembers that they entered a German town once with a German linguist.
The linguist turned on a megaphone and said "German people....We are the 75th
Infantry Division....We want you to surrender every firearm you have and put
them in this wheelbarrow...you will not be harmed if you perform this quickly"
(sic)...Shutters banged and doors flew open. People rushed and pushed to bring
out every ladies' purse pistol, derringer, broken-down shotgun, and pea-shooter
they had and frantically put them in the wheelbarrow. They were supposed to be
melted down, but my grandfather and his buddies would sometimes pick out the
nicer ones and mail them home in boxes marked "shoes" or mail rifles in tubes
marked "fishing rods"....many of them made it home!
When in Germany, his company would sometimes help with "clearing a factory"...(perhaps to make ready for the Allies to use these facilities?)...The Germans, knowing the Americans were not far off, would desert the factories, leaving everything intact...desks, offices, etc. My grandfather's company were told to go through the offices, clean them out, and throw all of these personal effects onto a bonfire. It seemed wasteful, so my grandfather would sometimes just rake everything on a desktop into a box....postcards, letters, stamps, coins, pencils, pens, photos, papers, etc....and mail the box home...
John E. Weed
European - African - Middle Eastern Ribbon with two Bronze Battle Stars. American Defense Ribbon. Good Conduct Medal. Inducted Jan. 14, 1941 - Fort Devens, Mass. Campaigns: Ardennes, Central Europe.
Robert J. Timbrook
289th Regiment - Company H
March 1943 to February 1946
Battles and campaigns-Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. S SGT. Infantry Mortar man
Corporal Clyde C. Cooper
291st Regiment - Company M - Third Platoon
This Remembrance was written by a high school age neighbor of Mr. Cooper as a high school project.
When I asked if I could come over and interview him he said, "Sure, hell, why not, but I don't know if I have anything I could tell you that would be very interesting." I definitely proved him wrong!
In order to describe my next door neighbor, Clyde, I would have to use these words: a gruff old man, an independent thinker with foul mouth and a sharp mind, and reliable friend. He is a master of all trades from electrician to butcher.
At the age of eighteen, Clyde was drafted into the Army. He went out of duty for his country. He had very extensive training in the U.S. that took him from Missouri to Kentucky, over to New York, and overseas by boat. Six thousand men boarded the E.B. Alexander, an Irish ship captured from the Germans in WWI. The first action that he saw was at the Belgium Bulge, where he fought for three months without a break. There, Clyde got frost bite and dysentery. "It was Winter and it was snowing really hard," he said, "all of your clothes were wet, you couldn't keep yourself dry." When he went it was the beginning of the end and your only concern was to get out alive.
Clyde's main responsibilities were to keep the guns working (81mm mortar) and to guard the German prisoners. "The prisoners were nice, I had some great conversations with them," he said. There was something new for Clyde to do every day, which made the time go by fast. Some days they would go on twenty-five mile hikes. "We would be thinking we were only going on a eleven mile hike and then we would really find out it was a twenty-five. Sometimes that would really piss us off, but it always gave us something to do."
During the war, Clyde went from 180 pounds to 140 pounds, eating K-rations that consisted of four cigarettes, cheese, four sheets of toilet paper, a chocolate bar and a couple crackers. He didn't smoke cigarettes so he sold them and sent the money home.
"I saw horrible things while I was there, dead peoples hands getting shot off for the rings they were wearing, my friend's head got shot off and having people blow up in front of you and having their loose limbs shoot in front of your face. But who wants to hear about that?" When asked if he would do it all over again with what he knows today his reply was, "HELL YES! Hitler was a crazy son of a bitch, he would have taken over everything, if we wouldn't of gotten our asses in there and fought. We would all be under German rule, the man was nuts, crazy."
After the war was over Clyde worked as a MP or Military Police. He spent time cleaning up and clearing out the French women (prostitutes). He said with a smile on his face, "the French women were a whole lot different than American women, they showed their feelings and emotion."
Pfc. Alfred M. Anzalone
291st Regiment - 1st Battalion Company A
1st Platoon, 1st Squad
1. I entered Army service on September 13, 1943 at Fort Dix, NJ. The day will always be fixed in my mind; first, because it was my mother's birthday and second because of the
hurricane that struck that evening. From Ft. Dix, I was sent to Camp Croft, SC for Infantry Replacement Training. During this sixteen week training course, I had pneumonia and almost had to repeat the course. My brother got married during this and I was not allowed to go home for the wedding. That Christmas Eve we were only permitted passes for 50 miles. About five of the guys in my barracks decided they would try to get home anyway. They went into Spartanburg and talked a cab-driver into renting his car. Pooling gas ration stamps they talked me into going.
We were short in ration stamps when we got to Washington, DC. The New York guys tried to talk a gas station attendant into giving us gas with no stamps. He threatened to call the MP's when a Major pulled into the station. When he saw what was going on he lit into the attendant. He told him that we were going overseas to fight for him and some of us probably wouldn't come back. Then he took out his ration book and gave us several stamps. We got home Christmas Eve and had to leave the next morning. We just missed roll call and had to appear befor the company commander who disciplined us by sending us out on the infiltration course for a double run.
2. Even though I had passed the V-12 program, I was not allowed to attend due to the great need for replacements. Also, I didn't get to attend OCS although I was tested. Before I could appeal, I was in Camp Shanks, NY POE embarking on the Queen Elizabeth for the ETO. I was lucky to be appointed as a news reporter to supply the local paper with stories and to post war news on the bulletin board. This gave me liberty to move around all parts of the ship. The ship was so fast that we were not assigned to any convoy and even though axis Sally knew approximately where we were, the German subs could not catch us. One morning I woke up to find that we had reached the harbor of Glasgow where we disembarked onto trains for Southampton. The Red Cross was on hand for coffee and what I thought were doughnuts. I soon found out that they were cold meat pies and I gave up the hoard to a hungrier guy. In Southampton, we boarded an LST. One of the sailors informed us that this was the first trip following one that they had been torpedoed. Adding the misery of laying in a hold designed to hold tanks we found out that a meal was to be served up on the galley deck.
Filling up my mess gear and still lugging much of my assigned gear I attempted to climb down the ladder to the hold since there wasn't any room for us to eat in the crew's quarters. Well, if any of you has ever crossed the channel in an LST you know how she rises and falls like a ton of bricks. In no time at all I lost my whole meal and decided that I wouldn't try again.
3. We landed in Le Havre and were assigned to a replacement depot. Shortly thereafter we were loaded onto a forty and eight type train that took us to where the 75th was resting after fighting a double header during the Battle of the Bulge and then moving on to help free the Alsace from the Germans by cleaning out the Colmar Pocket around Wolfgantzen.
4. Joining the 1st Platoon, A Company of the is 1st Batallion, 291st Regiment, I was assigned to the 1st Squad as 1st Scout. The reformed squad now consisted of Staff Seargent Lawrence Scardace (squad leader), Pfc Alfred Anzalone (1st Scout), Pfc Byrne (2nd scout)
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