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

Captain Reginald Augustine answers his last tattoo
7 July 2011, 21:13
Filed under: Officers, Veterans, WWII | Tags: , ,

On occasion, I read the obituaries in the Washington Post and I always find someone interesting. The sad thing is, if they’re commemorated there, I’ll never get to meet them. Today’s obituary for Reginald Augustine made me wish that I had met him.

Augustine served as a Captain in the US Army at the end of World War II, racing around France and Germany, securing both scientists and nuclear materials. While searching a warehouse near Toulouse in southern France, Augustine found 31 tons that made the Geiger counter spike. He participated in Operation Epsilon, escorting several German physicists seized near Stuttgart to American territory. After the war, he had a career in operations for CIA, including time in Germany and a post in Saigon in 1968.

What makes Augustine truly interesting is his adventurous youth. After he garduated from Northwestern with a degree in Latin (minoring in German and studying Greek), he spent 16 months touring Europe on a Harley. That included ‘a Nazi party rally in Heidelberg that he later described as akin to a “Fourth of July” celebration with scarlet swastika banners and leather-booted storm troopers.’ While Augustine may not have been able to talk about his post-war career, I’m guessing there were a barrel of stories about traveling footloose and fancy-free in mid-1930s Europe. One wonders if he crossed paths with Hemingway.

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