We're not lost, Sergeant, We're in … France


First American Combat Jump: 70 years ago today
8 November 2012, 07:00
Filed under: 509th, Doyle Yardley, Edson Raff, Paratroopers | Tags: , , , ,

On the morning of the 8th of November, 1942, the first American combat jump occurred in North Africa. LTC Edson Raff and 555 paratroopers had departed England late on the 7th, traveling over 1500 miles in 39 C-47s. Their task was to sieze two French airfields at Tafaraoui and LaSenia to deny their use by enemy fighters during Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa.

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Weekend Wanderings: Bataan Death March 69th Anniversary
10 April 2011, 11:30
Filed under: Leadership, Normandy, POWs, Veterans, Weekend Wanderings | Tags: , ,

One of the most tragic events for Americans in World War II unfolded 69 years ago. Approximately 75,000 Americans and Filipinos who had surrendered on Bataan were force-marched to prisoner of war camps. At least 6,000 to 11,000 never reached the camps. Another example of man’s inhumanity to man….



Du kannst zum Teufel gehen
23 December 2010, 15:35
Filed under: 101st, 327th, 401st, Battle of the Bulge, Medics | Tags: ,

A few years ago, while I was looking for information of Joseph H. “Bud” Harper, I found an interview in the St Petersburg Times of Ernie Premetz. During the Battle of the Bulge, Harper commanded the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment and when the Germans came to demand the surrender of Bastogne, they came into the 327th’s sector.

Everyone knows the basics of the story, about “Nuts”, but Ernie Premetz can say “I know what happened. I was there.” You see, Ernie was a medic at the time, and, based on his post-war profession, marine biologist, probably one of the smarter men standing in the snow on the 22nd of December. Ernie also spoke German, so when the two German officers and two German enlisted men approached American lines, Premetz walked out with a sergeant to find out what they wanted. After GEN McAuliffe responded “To the German Commander, NUTS!, The American Commander”, Harper was accompanied by Premetz to deliver the note to the Germans.

Needless to say, the Germans couldn’t quite figure out what it meant. To quote from Jeanne Malmgren’s interview with Premetz….

Harper and Premetz discussed how else to convey the message.

“You can tell them to take a flying s—,” Harper said to Premetz.

Premetz thought a minute. He knew he had to be clear.

He straightened up and faced the Germans.

“Du kannst zum Teufel gehen,” he said.

You can go to hell.

Those boys had some brass ones. If you talk to any veteran who was in Bastogne, Patton didn’t rescue them in Bastogne. They had the enemy right where they wanted them.

The Germans’ faces darkened.

“We will kill many Americans,” one of the officers said in English.

“We will kill many Germans,” Harper responded.



Colmar Pocket Seminar

From the energetic folks who put on the annual Operation Dragoon Commemoration, this year they will hold a Battle of the Colmar Pocket Commemoration and Seminar. There will be a number of Colmar Pocket veterans attending, including GEN (ret.) Frederick J. Kroesen who will discuss his experience as a platoon leader and company commander in the 254th Infantry Regiment during the battle, and MG (ret.) Lloyd B. Ramsey who served as 3/7th Infantry Regiment battalion commander. They have invited veterans of the 3rd Infantry Division, 28th ID, 36th ID, 75th ID, 12th AD of the XXIst Corps of the US Army and the First French Army.

The event is open to the public, with a $30 registration fee (waived for Colmar Pocket veterans, of course).  It will be held at the Hyatt Arlington (1325 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22209) and provide ample opportunities to interact with the veterans as well as for oral history during the sessions. The schedule is as follows:

3 December 2010

1300 — 1600   Registration (fee $30)

1800 — 2030   Seminar

 4 December 2010

0900 — 1130    Seminar

1130 — 1300    Lunch (OWN)

1300 — en route to Arlington National Cemetery

1400 — Memorial Service at Amphitheater

1515 — Wreath laying at Tomb of the Unknowns

1830 — Banquet ($35)

5 December 2010

0900–1100     Seminar — Closing session

For further info, contact Monika Stoy, President, Association of the 3rd Infantry Division, Outpost Europe

monikastoy@yahoo.com, PH: 001 703 912 4218



Happy 235th, Devil Dogs!
10 November 2010, 15:50
Filed under: Books, Korea, Marines, Veterans | Tags: , ,

Today is the 235th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs!

Private Hector Cafferata, awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Fox Hill during the Korean War, has so much respect for the process of becoming a Marine and is so proud of being able to call himself a Marine, humbly says, “…even though I didn’t go to boot camp, I can call myself a Marine.”

Later this month, we reach the 60th anniversary of the Chosin Reservoir campaign. I just read Last Stand of Fox Company and read good articles about it in both American Rifleman (Arms of the Chosin Few) and Naval History (70 Miles of Cold, Hard Road and The Snowy Battle for Hill 1304). What those Marines accomplished in atrocious conditions, against insurmountable odds is simply beyond belief.

My sincere thanks and wishes that this may be the happiest of birthdays for the Corps, with special thanks to my own favorite Marines: Alex Apple, Joe Muccia, Frank Zamarippa, Fernando Castelli and Carl Kime.




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