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980th FA Bn / SS soldier photos found

Discussion in 'Military Service Records & Genealogical Research' started by 980th, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. 980th

    980th Member

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    Grandpa was in the 980th FA Bn. He was a parts man. Somewhere in France he found some film. He sent it home and had his mom develope the film. When he got home from the war she gave him his pictures. In them he found these photo's of German SS soldiers and some of Hitler's civil service workers. Which later in the war when Germany started losing so many soldiers, he replaced them with these untrained workers. Thought you might enjoy the photo's. Don't ask me who they are because I have no idea.
     

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  2. 980th

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    Grandpa Carter's War Experiences Part 1

    I grew up in Glenbar, Az. My twin brother and I were born in 1920. We are the oldest of four brothers and three sisters. All four brothers served in WWII. First, Morris joined the air guard, then I was drafted into the Army, Jay joined the Marines and Art was in the Navy. Dad and mom were left with two girls. Baby Reba was born in 1942, a year after I was drafted. When I got out of the Army she was three years old. All of us boys came home from the war without any permanent injuries. Unlike some mothers who lost all her boys.

    My dad mostly made a living off the farm. Dad had a hay baler all the time but we were to young to work on it. In 1938 he bought what we call a traveling baler, one that we all worked on. We had our own crew, dad and the four boys, and we did custom baling up and down the valley. In 1939, Dad bought another baler. He and Art and Jay worked on one with the man they hired and I and Morris and some of the kids our age ran the other one. We did this up until the time Morris volunteered to go with the National Guard before WWII.

    Shortly after that I went to Los Angeles to go to an aircraft shcool. I graduated from the school and worked for six months at Fort Lockheed Aircraft where they were building the P38. I worked in the experimental stage for the first eighteen P38's, then they put it into production. I decided to go home. They said if you go home you will be drafted and they was pretty close.

    In November of 1941, I was drafted into the army. I was inducted in Phoenix. We wnet to Fort Bliss, TX where they were supposed to decide what they were going to do with us. They gave us various tests and since I'd beenworking in the aircraft factory, why, they gave me one for aircraft repair. I got 98% on the test. They told me that if I would sign up for four years, they would send me directly to Lowery Field, Colorado. I told them I was in for one yrar. They knew more than I did 'cause I got out about four years later.
     

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  3. 980th

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    Part 2

    From Fort Bliss we went to Camp Roberts, California where we were supposed to get our basic training. That was in November, just a month before war was declared. I was on K.P. duty listening to the radio when war was declared. All of a sudden we had a different out look on life. (Insert from grandpas diary that he kept during the early part of the army. December 7, 1941 Honalulu attacked by Japs. All leaves and passes cancelled. December 8, 1941 War formally declared at 4:10. Some real training in store now.

    We were part of a field artillery unit, but hadn't been given our specific jobs yet, because we were still doing our basic training. That came to an end when war was declared. (Diary Insert December 9, 1941 Wires and communication training not bad.)We were put on 24 hour alert and assigned to our different sections. I was in the communications section. We laid wire nets to the field artillery guns to where they would fire. Then we would take that net up and come back to the outfit, turn right around and go out with another outfit and lay another wire net. We did this until they called us to go to Fort Lewis, Washington. (Diary insert- December 12, 1941 Sent to Fort Lewis, Washingon. Leave Dickey, Corney, and McGriff behind.)

    When we got to Fort Lewis I went into the 144th field artillery battalion. I was just driving truck and doing odd jobs until one day they come out and told me to come in and that I was going to take a class. I asked them what kind of a class. They said machine gun class and I told them, "Well, I seen one one time as we drove by where they was firing but that was as close as I've been to a machine gun." They said, "Well your MOS shows that you're a qualified expert machine gunner." ANd so, we went back and got a book and we started learnin'. (Diary insert- February 9, 1942 Steady guard as machine gunner. I never knwe I was a gunner before. February 12, 1942 Gad, what a life. If this is the army I don't like it. It's not so hot. February 22, 1942 Hate the steady guard and is it tiresome.)

    The FA was the 155mm Long Tom. They decided they were going ot use them for coastal defense in Washington and Oregon. They set up an ammunition dump there at Fort Lewis and we being the artillery outfit, we had to furnish guards for the ammunition dump. They set up a machin gun guard ans so we were 8 on and 16 off for the next five or six months. By the end of that time why we knew how to take apart a machine gun.
     

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  4. 980th

    980th Member

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    Part 3

    (Diary insert- April 18, 1942 I bet my paycheck against Voyles that the war was over in a year. May 15, 1942 Off for Yakima) Soon they sent us to Yakima, Washington where we wento out to do field training. I worked in different parts of the service battery. Sometimes in supply or wherever I was needed. While we were out there, we had some extra time on our hands and I started foolin' around down to the motor pool helping they guys to pack wheels and stuff like that. So when an opening came for a parts man, why, they put me in as the parts man. That is where I stayed until I got out of the army.

    We had 2 1/2 ton GMC trucks, 14 ton jeeps, 34 ton Dodge personnel carriers and command cars, four ton Diamond T's, and 7 1/2 ton Indianas used for the gun batteries to haul ammunition and to pull the guns.

    We trained there for quite awhile and then that summer they sent us down to the Desert Center for training in desert maneuvers. (Diary May 27, 1942 22 years old, in the army at Yakima. Done nothing and didn't care.) We would set up the imaginary gun placements. The service battery would have to go to the main depot and haul the ammunition out to the guns. We worked day and night that way. While we was doing this, I was driving the ammunition truck one night. When we got back in they said we could all go to the showers. So I took my truck and started for the showers. When I got part way there, I went around the corner and another truck coming around the corner was on my side of the road. I tried to get out of the way but couldn't and we had a head on collision. Three of us in my truck went to the hospital and the driver of the other truck. I went to the hospital in Needles and from there to Palm Springs where they converted one of the hotels into a hospital. I stayed there for a few weeks until they decided I was fit enough to go back.
     

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  5. 980th

    980th Member

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    Part 4

    (Diary insert August 15, 1943 Left at 5:00 for MO. Hope for good trip-top bunk. August 19, 1943 Missouri isn't so hot, but may be ok. Low hills and lots of trees.) When I got back to the outfit, they was all packed up and ready to move to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. While there the Captian pulled me into his office and wanted to know what I was doing. I told him I was driving a garbage truck, there wasn't nothing else to do (Still to this day grandpa hates to just sit around). He said, "Well, you can't drive that truck, you haven't got a driver's license." I said, "Sure I have. I've got a driver's license for any wheeled vehicle in this outfit or any track outfit up to the size of a medium tank." He said, "Let me see it." So I showed it to him. He proceeded to tear it up and said, "You don't know it but you've been court martialed. The Colonel was going to make you pay for the truck that was wrecked and so to stop this, I court martialed you. You're confined to the area for two weeks and your driver's license is revoked." I told him, "Well, if that's it I guess that's all there is to it." He said he'd make up for it a little bit, so he gave me a two week furlough to come home.

    After I got back from that, we shipped out from there to Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts, where they prepared us to go overseas. The last part of December, the 29th, we shipped out of Boston. We went from there up to NY and picked up more troops. The convoy we were in made a big S plumb down in the South someplace, it was real warm at that time. Next thing we do, we are going back North and we go so far that the water would freeze on the boats when the waves went over them. They didn't go over ours, but they went over the tankers and some of the destroyers.

    We made it to England without any troyubles. We went to a little town called Basinstoke where they set us up. It was somewhere near Bournemouth and our supply center for ordinance was Southampton. I was in the automotive supply van and so I chased parts all over England. We had to waterproof all the outfits when they came down for the invasion. We had to waterproof all the trucks and automotive section was responsible for getting all the materials and then showing the different batteries how to work with the trucks and vehicles.
     
  6. 980th

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    Part 5

    We prepared all the vehicles and when it came time for the invasion, we were supposed to go in (part of us) on D-day and then the others to follow. "D" battery went in on D-day, they were the only Long Toms to land on D-day. We were on the LST service battery, you had to go on the LST yourselves, and when we went to land, from the end of the plank to the ramp that went down, the captain went out and measured and it was a 12 foot drop off, so they left us sitting there until the storm got down a little bit and the waves went down. Then they brought in bulldozers and built a ramp and we never got a tire wet while we drove off. When we hit Omaha Beach, I asked them where the 980th FA was and they said, "Right down that road." So I started down that road as fast as that old truck would go. I got a little ways and a guy stepped out with a rifle across his chest and said, "Where to you think you're going?" I told him I was going to find the 980th FA and he said, "Well, that's the front line right there so maybe you want to turn around". So we turned around and headed the other direction.

    We finally found the outfit and we got organized and was just a waiting. They called and told us to load everything up and get ready to move out. (Grandpa said he hit the beaches D+6 I think. It was a sad site for all who came in after the first waves. Soldiers were still in the water, and the beaches were a mess. They just wanted to get off the beach.)

    We started a major drive and as we started to go up the Cherbourg peninsula there was a little town called St. Mere Eglise. We were to close for triangulation on the big guns so they would just bor-sight them, just look through the tubes, see what they wanted to hi and put in the projectile and powder and just shoot straight flat and level her out. The projectiles on these guns weighted 96 pounds and they used anywhere from 96 to 110 pounds of powder behind them and they would shoot 21 miles. They could get real accurate with that. They could knock the door out of a pillbox at that distance. That was with an airplane for observation so they could use triangulation.

    As we started to go up the peninsula, the day that we went for the break out, there were airplanes that just darkened the skies. I wouldn't even venture to guess how many there were. But they started dropping their bombs and I found out later that they were supposed to drop their bombs according to where a highway run. The first line of planes dropped their bombs on that road. The second line of planes couldn't see it for all the smoke, so they dropped their bombs back and forth. They didn't know wath was happening and were dropping bombs on their own troops. So part of the troops were coming back and part of us were going forward. There were so many carters we had to have a bulldozer to make a road for us through where they had bombed.
     

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  7. 980th

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    Part 6

    We bypassed St. Mere Eglise and went up and they broke through and so we had a straight run for several days there. We bypassed Paris and went plumb through to Mons, and Belgium. When we got to Mons, we stopped for awhile to let the supply lines catch up. While they were catching up, I was left behind with my jeep to guide the supply trucks in to where we were going to be. When they got there, we had neither food nor gas and neither did the trucks, so we just kind of foraged around for our eats while we waited for the trucks to make another trip back to us. In a couple of days they came back with gas and some supplies from the outfit and took us back up to where the outfit was. We went on through to Eupen, Germany (Belgium). When we got to Eupen, why they was settin' there waiting for the Ruhr River to run down. The Germans let the dams loose on the Ruhr and so we couldn't get across there. While we were waiting there it was mostly maintenance on all the vehicles and all the guns, getting ready to go again. I got to go from there back to the coast where we had landed at Cherbourg and pick up a generator for the Colonel's command post. I got to know the roads in that part of the country and so whenever a gun had to go back to ordinance or anything, why, I got to lead them back. I put 30,000 miles on the jeep I drove while on the continent.

    After we crossed the Ruhr, we got up to Aachen, Germany and the germans started their counter drive, what everybody called "The Battle of the Bulge". We pulled out from Aachen and headed back for Belgium. We drove all night and I had the parts truck and we had the big 12 ton wrecker and the maintenance mechanics truck.

    While we were going back that night, we could use neither lights and we had all the windshields straight out. It was just wind and sleet. That night we turned 14 trucks back up on their wheels. We had to count the trucks. One of them stopped and the truck behind it run its radiator over the tube of one of the big guns We were two and two with the big guns and trucks behind the maintenance truck and the wrecker and we made it on back. When we got back to approximately Ciney, Belgium they called in and wanted to know where we were. We said, "Well, we are behind enemy lines". They told us to sit tight, pull off the road, camouflage everything that we could, and that night they would bring somebody in to get us out. That night, just across the river, was the prettiest gun battle you ever did see. The Panzers were having a tank battle over there. The next morning we were all clear so we went to Ciney, Belgium and stayed there until the Battle of the Bulge was over.
     

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  8. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This is really good stuff. You have so much more information about your grandfather than many of us do. The photos are a treasure. What was your grandfather's name? Which of the pictures is he in?

    Please keep posting, but if the diary is long enough, you might want to consider self-publishing it.
     
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  9. 980th

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    Part 7

    At this time they gave us a two week rest period. At which time they decided to replace all the tubes on the guns because the ones we had was wore out of shape until they was breaking the rotating bags. After they got part of the guns changed, they moved the outfit back to Aachen, Germany. During this time, I took two of the 1/2 ton trucks and part of the personnel and went to Liege. We took a little side trip up to Maastricht, Holland, and back to Aachen in a round about way. (My mother in law has a little pair of wooden shoes that grandpa bought while in Holland.) The captain said he was a dumb S.O.B. because he didn't think of that. We had a good trip. After we were in Aachen awhile, why, they made a break through across the Rhine River when the Remagen Bridge wasn't bombed as it should have been. The engeniers came and set up some pontoon bridges. We went across to a little town and I don't remember it's name. We set up there for a while and we would go back to ordinance across the Rhine and back into Germany and Belgium to get our parts.

    That's the first place we got the closest to artillery fire. We were sittin' eating lunch on day in front of th eparts truck and we could hear the shell coming in and we all laid flat on the ground. Things shook and dirt poured down. We couldn't find where the shell had hit. It had hit just under my trailer on my parts truck. Just the angle it went it missed the trailer but it went in the ground underneath. There was a hole under there about six foot deep and six foot across. You couldn't touch the sides with a stick by reaching down in there. We stayed there for a short while. I'm not sure how many rounds we traveled in and out of Germany, but the resistance was light. We didn't have to much troubles except for sometimes we got ahead of the infantry 'cause the Colonel was kind of a hot shot. He was called on the floor by the Corp Commander, who told him the field artillery was behind the lines, they wasn't ahead of the lines-if he wanted to be a lieutenant in the infantry to get ahead of the lines once more. We never had no more trouble after that. We ended up in Nordhausen, Germany. It was a short distance from where the Russians finally came up. They pulled us out and put the fighting 89th in to go up and meet the Russians. We always kind of resented that because we could have went on up there without any trouble.

    I have read grandpa's story several times and I have always noticed that after his "Bulge" story he doesn't have much to say.

    The Remagen Bridge was captured on March 7-8, 1945. On April 23rd the combat activity of the VII Corps effectively ceased, their long mission accomplished. But grandpa says nothing about his last two months of active combat. I'm sure that has to do with the horrors they found once inside Germany.

    Can anyone fill in the gaps that gramps has left out. What were the activities of the 980th FA during the last 2 months of the war?
     

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  10. 980th

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    Grandpa's name is Horace Carter. He is always the short soldier with no chin. His diary entries were just one or two lines and he stopped writing once he went to England. His mother saved most of the letters he wrote home. He let me take them last year and I read them all and put them in order by date. I am almost finished with his account. I'm glad you are enjoying his story. I'm hoping maybe relatives of some of his buddies will recognize the story. Grandpa is still alive, but he is not sure how many others of his unit are.
     
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  11. 980th

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    My family has Grandpa Carter's war stories because his nephew Rusty Draper sat him down with a tape recorder and asked him to tell his story. After grandpa was finished, Rusty had a few more questions for him. I'm going to include this part of the interveiw as well.

    Rusty: "Do you have any special memories of anything that you did, or how you felt about anything you did in your unit"?

    Grandpa Carter: Our unit service battery was at one time 120 some odd guys. Before we went overseas, they broke it down with a new rate and we only had about 40 guys in our service battery. Our job was in service all the vehicles and all the rations-that was about the main deal.

    When we was in Europe one time, we took the motor pool, pulled out away from the battery and went out on our own. We stood guard every night for four hours. We had just enough men that we could just make it through the night with each of us taking four hour shifts. We did that for several months. The motor pool stuck together pretty well. We had more trouble really with raids then we did with enemy fire and stuff.

    Land mines was not to good. They run a command car into a mine field. The lieutenant that was in it had a broken leg and the driver was beat up a bit, but it didn't kill either one of them. They sent the motor pool out to get it but the engineers were supposed to have had swept the field before we took the wrecker in. When the wrecker backed in, they had missed one. It blew the big tires off the back duals. When them tires went up, they came right down over an old pine stump that was out there and it never broke the bead on that tire. Blowed it plumb off. They called the enginners again and they came back out. Tehy brought another wrecker in and pulled our wrecker out and backed theirs in. When they raised the command car up, there was a mine right under the engine of that car that hadn't went off.

    When I was in Belgium we had one little episode. The English planes lost track of where they was and they strafed our forward observation post and they also strafed the command car that some of our guys were in and killed one of them. So we just kind of all decided that if they was going to play that way, we would too. So the next day when they came over, everybody in the outfit that had a machine gun was firing on them. We got reprimanded. I don't know what kind of reprimand they got for firing at us. There was always times something like that was going on.
     

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  12. 980th

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    Interveiw with grandpa part 2

    Rusty: Were there any times you thought you might die?

    Grandpa: Rusty, when we first went in, we was to dumb to know what was going on, so we dug foxholes, but we didn't get in them. We pulled a tarp from the side of my truck down and threw the camouflage over it and slept there on top of the ground. I guess 30 or 40 feet from the foxholes. We did that for a few nights and one night Winegar woke us up and said we'd better do something. We said, "What's the matter"? He said, "Well, listen". It sounded like firecrackers was going off all over the country. They had personnel bombs that they was dropping. He said, "Well, what are we going to do"? I said, "I don't know what you're going to do, but I'm going to go in that foxhole". From then on, why, foxholes was religion. Every night you dug two foot wide by two to two and a half feet deep, whatever length we were - five to six feet.

    We didn't have sleeping bags. When we landed, why, they gave us two blankets each and after we were there for awhile they brought us mummy bags. They was the sorriest things there ever was. We all traded them back in and got us blankets. The warmest thing was a parachute that the paratroopers left behind when they landed. Those silk parachutes they was wonderful for bedding, man, they was warm. We just kind of scrounged and got whatever we thought was best and could pack along.

    One place in Belgium, we parked and got to looking around. There was a dugout up there and we went down in it and there was three 10,000 gallon vats of brandy. Somebody took a hammer and broke the bung hole off one and brandy went to flowing. I poured my water cans out and filled up two 5-gallon cans with brandy and put them on the front of my truck. Then everything went along fine.
     

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  13. JerryHayton

    JerryHayton recruit

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    My father was a gunner in A Btry, 144th FA ( National Guard unit from Santa Maria, CA) After training at Ft Lewis they became A Btry, 980th FA. I have a list of the units positions by date from Jun 44 through May 45. I would be happy to email the list to anyone who wants it.
     
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  14. 980th

    980th Member

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    I found some information today on the LST that took the rest of the 980th to shore after D-Day in a book called "Mosier's Raiders: The Story of LST-325 By David Bronson

    "11 June 44 Convoy EPL4-10 from Portland-Weymouth, England to Utah Beach (Sugar Red), Vehicles and personnel of 980th Field Artillery Captain A.J. Reid commanding. Returned on 13 June 44 carrying 68 German POW's, 4 US Army MP escorts."

    The search for information is tough, but as with all treasures well worth the digs!
     
  15. 980th

    980th Member

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    I should receive the Narrative History for the 980th FABN sometime in January. I'd be glad to post it if there is an interest.
     
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  16. 980th

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    I received the Narrative History for the 980th FA Bn in January. I'll start typing it's content for those who are interested.

    The 980th FA Bn was redesignated as a separate Bn at Ft. Lewis, Washington, from the old 1st Bn, 144th FA Regiment, be special orders no. 30, Headquarters, 144th FA , dated 18 Feb 1943, in accordance with General orders no. 2, headquarters, 76th FA Brigade, dated 17 Feb 1943 and pusuant to authority contained in War Department Letter, file no AG 320.2 (2-5-43) Subject "redesignation of FA Regiments". At that time the assigned strength of the bn was 37 officers, 1 Warrant officer and 746 enlisted men.

    The commanding officer was designated as Lieutenant Colonel Harold O. Welch. The unit was equipped with 155mm guns M1, tractor drawn and was undergoing reorganization, having over 300 recruits and about 70% recently added officer personnel as a result of understrength coupled with furnishing a cadre for Camp Maxey, Texas.

    The unit left the first week in March 1943 and marched over the Snoqualmee Pass to the IX Corps Artillery firing center at Yakima, Washington to help test fire the fuze M51A1 for Ordnance. 500 rounds were allotted for this period. Only one muzzle burst occurred (in the 497th round). The weather was cold and dusty. Heavy ice was encountered in the mountain passes on the march home in the 3rd week of March.

    Upon returning to Ft. Lewus, the Bn began preparation for a rail movement to the Desert Training Center in the Colorado Desert, California. Before leaving Fort Lewis, Capt. Smith and Wyatt, and Lts. Mahan, Richmond, Moe and McPherson had left the unit and 1st Lts. Nuttal S-2 and Ames C. O. Btry "B" and WOJG Jackson had joined the organization.

    The advance parties consisting of the Bn S-3 and a small work detail under Group S-4, arrived at Freda, California on April 1, 1943, setting up a camp 15 miles W. on the site of the old Iron Mountain Camp. of the 3rd Armored Div. In the next 3 weeks, Camp Granite was layed out on the opposite side of the Freda-Indio Highway.

    The main body of the bn arrived at the end of the 3 weeks and unloaded from the train in a sand storm. From this time until the 26th of June 43, the Bn spent the time getting acclimated to the heat and experimenting with the terrain obstacles of the desert.

    Pg. 1 of 46
     
  17. 980th

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    The Bn was motorized (given 7 1/2 ton Mack trucks, 6x6 prime movers) just as they left Fort Lewis for the Desert. However, all through the desert maneuvers, the Bn was forced to use tractors to pull the guns over rough obstacles and through loose sand. During this period convoys were organized to take men into Los Angeles so that they might have a night, a day and a night in the metropolitan area. A muzzle-burts killed Private Arthur J. Bendizen, Battery "C". The entire Bn went through the Infiltration Course, including the Chaplain and the Medics. Only one casualty occurred. Pfc Nardini, Headquarters Battery was found on the course with a bullet hole through the center of his helmet. A board of investigation found it due to faulty ammunition and failed to establish any negligence on the part of the personnel conductiong the course.

    Before maneuvers Captain Nuttal, who was promoted while at Camp Granite, was transferred to the Air Corps, Captain Johnson and Major Stewart were transferred to other Artillery units, and Major Stevens form the 144th FA Group and Lts. McCrae, McCreight, Deppen and Furth from the 33rd Division joined the unit. On the 26th, the IX Corps. Maneuvers began, with the 144th FA Group reinforcing the 8th Div as Red Forces. The Blue Forces consisited of the 77th Inf Div, 7th Armored Div and the 76th FA Brigade less the 144th FA Group. The first phase was a holding defense of a forified pass (Palen Pass) from about 26th June to 2nd July, and the last part consisted of grouping the Red forces west of Needles and the Blue forces at the Mexican border and turning them loose for free maneuver. For this second phase the Blue forces again had the 7th Armored Div, 77th Inf Div and the 76th FA Brigade while the Red forces received additional Tank Destroyer and anti-aircraft units. The maneuver began July 5th and ended July 14th, with the surrounding of the red forces in the vicinity west of needles and the break through of blue tanks into the red rear areas by an ouflanking movement. The Battalion closed in camp the evening that maneuvers ended and remained there until it left the desert, 15 Aug 1943 on two trains, having sent an advanced detachment to the New Station(Tort Leonard Wood, Missouri). Before leaving the desert, Lt. Christie was transferred to the Air Corps and Lt. Cheek to the XV Corps.

    The bn arrived at ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri on the 18th of Aug, where it was met by the advance party and put into barracks. The bn and t144th FA Group at this time passed from IX Corps to IV Armored Corps control (later the IV armored corps was redesignated as XX corps). Here the bn continued its 14 day furlough policy and prepared to take the GHQ Test no. 2 and 3, which were passed on the first trail with scores of 82.6 and 95.4 respectively. Lt. Rosenbaum was transferred tot he air corps and lt. thomas H. Evans was assigned as Liasion Pilot.

    On 29th Sept 1943 the Bn was reorganized on the new T/O 6-55, dated 31 july 1943, by general orders no. 1, this headquarters, to 26 officers, 2 WO and 530 enlisted men, but did not loose its overstrength personnel until 18th nov 1943.
     
  18. 980th

    980th Member

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    Page 3,
    The Bn spent the remainder of its stay at Fort Leonard Wood, preparing for overseas movement. It qualified 99.4% of the Bn as marksman with 30 cal. carbines at this time. On the 19 Nov the Bn left for Camp Myles Standish, Mass. in two trains composed completely of day coaches. One pullman was added at St. Louis. Maj. George W. Stevens left the Bn for 144th FA Group and Maj Henry Morrow joined the Bn as Bn S-3. Lts. Wood, Terry and Andre were transferred into the Bn by 144th FA Gr. The Bn officers were assigned at this time, all other officers had been reassigned by XX Corps when Bn left for staging area.

    Two days later, the morning of the 21st Nov, the Bn arrived at the staging area, Camp Myles Standis, Mass., and was quickly housed in area 1 and processed. By noon the 25th the bn was processed, repacked and ready for embarkation. The bn had been stripped of equipment for shipment to the ETO. It carried only the minimum house keeping equipment necessary. All else was to be supplied upon arrival in Britain. The bn was alerted but did not move out as the assigned transport, upon arrival, was found to need dry dock repairs and the bn waited in the staging area for the next convoy on the 27th of Dec. While waiting, one and three day absences were authorized the bn and battery parties were taken advantage of by everyone.

    The bn was designated to be the advance party on the ship. It arrived by train the night of the 27th of Dec in the Boston harbor and boarded the US Army Transport, Edmond B. Alexander, 24 hrs before the other troops embarked. Col. C>B> Cole, 144th FA Gr was the ships troop commander. The feeding from the central kitchen was under the supervision of Maj. Henry Morrow of the Bn, and the police and guard of the ship was under Maj. Burdett E. Haessly also of the Bn. The guard and MP personnel of the ship were drawn exclusively from the two bn of the 144th FA Gr. The guard each day required 150 men. Men of the bn also were used to help man the ships 20mm and 3 inch guns. Over 5000 men were fed twice daily form the central kitchen. The food was excellent.

    The troops consisted of three general hospitals, (1st, 16th and 50th personnel complete), a replacement bn of infantry, the 144th FA Gr (980th and 981st bn) and other miscellaneous groups. The troops made an orderly trip. No liquor or gambling was allowed, motion pictures and church services were held twice daily in the common recreation room for groups of about 300 enlisted men. The crossing was uneventful, the sea calm and weather very warm for this time of the yr. There was only one alert, which turned out to be a British Surface Craft.

    New Years Eve passed without incident other than a small dance for the officers and nuses after the last movie for the enlisted men. The convoy first saw land (Ireland) on the 7th day of Jan 1944 about 1130 hrs.
     
  19. Victor Gomez

    Victor Gomez Ace

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    Thanks for sharing this special treasure of stories and memories....it was great to read this and hear this special perspective.
     
  20. VET76

    VET76 Member

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    Thank you for posting, it was very interesting.
     

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