"Headquarters" Company History
Haniel L. Thomas
Lyle L. Fought
Transferred XXIX T.A.C.
Carl A. Forsland
Claude L. Wielenga
A short time after the Battalion was activated at Indiantown Gap in July, 1941, there came an influx of
men from Camp Wheeler and Camp Bragg into Headquarters Company. When you speak of these men, the "old
timers", the names Andros, Booth, Haupt, Kapitan, Karwoski, Kirschbaum, Mayer, Rosien, Rothman, Reed,
Stein, Schultz, Schumacker, Wielanga, Wagner and Vervaet come to mind. Major Patalive, then Lieutenant,
was the Commanding Officer of Headquarters Company. From Indiantown Gap the unit moved to AP Hill, Va.,
where the Headquarters Company remained for a period of some seven weeks. The stay there was best
remembered for the epidemic of the GI's that besieged the company. A return trip by the Company to the
Gap followed. While there, one Pvt. Saviola went home on pass and niether hide nor hair has been seen
of him since. Headquarters Company left the Gap in mid-September, 1941, and moved to North Carolina for
the ten weeks of maneuvers that ensued. On December 7, 1941, the unit packed up and moved back to the
Gap. While enroute at South Boston, Va., the fateful news came through that Pearl Harbor had been attacked.
The company arrived at the Gap on December 8th. It was during mid-December that the Battalion was
officially designated as the 628th Tank Destroyer Battalion. After the brief furlough that followed, 2 1/2
ton trucks were transferred from "D" and "E" Batteries to Headquarters Company. It was during this time
that the names Campbell, Foyuth, Haggar, Regelski, and Todorow were added to the company roster. The company
next moved to Camp Livingston, La., and after a ten day trip arrived at Livingston on January 19, 1942.
During the time that the campany was at Livingston, Lieutenants Scott and Pattalive each held the Company
Commander's reins at different times. While here the company underwent routine training. The first batch
of recruits received by the company were trained here. Bigi, Strahler, Weir, Volsko and Zanis were among
these recruits. It was here too that the first men left the company to go to Officer's Candidate School.
The names of Blozitis, Downs, Fisher, Kamien, Mountz and Tobin now graced the company roster. The memories
of standing reveille in shorts, the sweltering heat, the then in vogue twenty five miles hikes, and Col.
Peterson's school for non-commissioned officers still bless and burn.
In early September, the company arrived at Camp Hood, Texas, to undergo intensive training in Tank Destroyer
tactics and commando training. While here the company lost several of its member to Officer's Candidate
School, while others went out as a cadre. The "Class of '42" recruits were trained here. Coleman, Day,
English, Faulk, Hamlin, Mathews, Malphurs, Richards, Schultz and Tishler were among this group. Remember
the football game against North Texas State Teacher's College, when our pride and joy, the football
team received a bottle of beer through the courtesy of the "Promotor" Ryan in payment for participating
in the game? On November 20, 1942, the unit moved to Camp Bowie,
Texas, Captain MacPherran, then Lieutenant, came in as Company Commander in early December. While at Camp
Bower, the unit successfully underwent the Army Ground Force test. Here too, another cadre was sent out.
Barking dogs and blisters gave mute evidence of the fifteen mile hike accomplished in three hours and twelve
minutes. The first week in January, 1943, found the company entraining for Camp Gordon Johnston, Fla. At
Gordon Johnston the unit underwent amphibious and combined operations training. There were unnumerable
hikes through the sand, an invasion of Dog Island, and to top things off, a hurricane made its appearance
to mar the final combined operations.
The unit moved to Camp Rucker, Alabama, in early May, 1943, and here underwent further training. The story
goes that one morning the entire company reported for "Sick Call" and complained of seeing nightmares in
the form of one "Major Midnight", the result of an 18 hour training grind conducted under the surveillance
of this same person. During the latter portion of its stay in Rucker, the unit prepared its equipment for
the coming Tennessee maneuvers. The maneuvers lasted eight weeks, from early July to late August. During
this period, Captain Reeves, then Lieutenant, took over as Company Commander. A fifteen day furlough
followed maneuvers. The unit returned to Camp Rucker, Alabama, and for the next three weeks underwent a
physical hardening program. Camp Pickett, Virginia,
was next on schedule and during the stay here, the company completed the firing scores necessary for
overseas qualifications. October, 1943, saw the unit in Bradford, Virginia, to undergo a week of amphibious
training. The next move was back to Pickett to prepare for winter maneuvers in West Virginia. The snow
and cold in November, 1943, saw the unit taking mountain and winter training in Tank Destroyer tactics.
Here too, the unit took further Army Ground Force tests. The towns of Parson, Thomas, Davis, and Elkins
recall pleasant memories to the men in the company. The hospitality and friendliness displayed by the
people of West Virginia made our stay here one of the most pleasant stops the company made on its journey.
It was the staging area at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in early December 1943, where the unit picked up its
T/O equipment. In response to their requests, Santa presented the men in the company with furloughs over
the Christmas Holidays. However, those in camp on Christmas Day were surprised when they received word that
the Battalion had been alerted for the defense of a nearby airport. Prior to shipping overseas, the unit
moved to Camp Shanks, New York. Still remembered is the then seemingly never ending climb up the Palisades
with the horseshoe pack strapped onto the back. There are rumors to the effect that the men received a
physical while here, but these rumors have never been confirmed. On December 31, 1944. Lt. Johad, Butya
and Kapitan left on the advance detail overseas. The company followed them into New York harbor and went
up the gangplank of the "Aquitania" on January 28, 1943.
There were two memorable things about the journey overseas. First, there was the food which would never have
won the seal of approval of the "Good Housekeeping Institute", secondly, there was Wentworth. The first thing
Wentworth did upon getting aboard ship was to lean over the rail. The story has it that he did not leave the
rail until the boat docked. The company was at sea seven days and landed at Greenock, Scottland, on February
6, 1944. In the midst of a drizzling rain, the company entrained for Packington Park, which was located
between Coventry and Birmingham. The unit remained here six weeks. The men learned that everything they had
heard about the English rain and fog was true. The retreat formations, the dark and dusky nights, the English
type barracks are still clear to the mind's eye. Before moving to Wales, the unit underwent a series of Platoon
and Company tests. The company arrived in Wales during early March, 1944 and spent a pleasant two week stay.
While in Wales, the company trained with the Battalion on indirect fire missions. The company then returned
to packington Park for a week and from this point moved to Dorchester, England in mid-April, 1944. The
Headquarters Company less Motor Maintenance, combined with Company "B". The work was marshalling troops in
D-7, Marabout, and the servicing of these troops that had been selected to take part in the invasion across
the Channel. Motor Maintenance assisted Company "A" at D-7, Poundbury, in the marshalling of troops. The calm
and quiet of the days, the air raids in the dark of night, and the picture presented by the gliders and the
paratroopers as they left to perform their part in the invasion armada made unforgettable scenes. During this
time Captain Reeves left to join the paratroops and was succeeded by Captain Scott, who was in turn succeeded
by Captain Wright. The company left Dorchester on July 4, 1944, and moved to D-2 Diddlehinton to be processed
and staged prior to landing in France. During these last days in England, the members of the company attended
the third anniversary Battalion banquet which was held in Bournemouth on July 10, 1944.
During the entire period of combat, Headquarters Company had two important functions to perform. The first was
the service function; the second was the task of providing local security. When the Battalion received its
first mission after landing in France, the entire Headquarters Company moved to Quellennes, France. From
this point on, the various individual sections comprising the Headquarters Company became, to all intents and
purposes, self-sustaining. Each secton performed its respective task in and of itself, so to speak. The Staff
Platoon which included the Administrative Section (S-1), the Intelligence Section (S-2), the Operations Section
(S-3) and the Supply Section (S-4) was detached from the Headquarters Company with the result that there were
often periods when considerable distance separated the two.
On August 14, 1944, the Commanding Officer's vehicle struck a mine. Driver Mike Flora was injured and had to
be evacuated, the first Headquarter's Company casualty. In late August, Captain Wright moved over to the S-2
section and Captain Thomas became Company Commander.
The company as a whole was together at Guerville, France, during late August, 1944; at Stegen, Luxembourg,
during mid-September, 1944; Headquarters Company entered Germany on September 16, 1944, and when the withdrawal
from Germany became necessary the Forward and Read Echelons moved with the trains of CCR. The various sections
rejoined the company at Stegen, Luxembourg. The entire company was next together at Faymonville, Belgium, in
early October, 1944; at Kalterherberg, Germany, mid-November, 1944; at Rotgen, Germany, during November 1944.
On December 8th, the company moved to Hahn, Germany. One day during mid-December, 1944 a thundering noise was
clearly heard throughout the company area. Buildings shook momentarily, doors became ajar, and windows in
the vicinity were shattered. The morning report of the following morning served as an explanation. Motivated
by reasons of security, Captain Thomas blew open a safe that had been found in one fo the buildings in which
the Headquarters Company was billeted. Unknown to Captain Thomas, the safe contained TNT so that no one, least
of all Captain Thomas was prepared for what followed. While the company was at Hahn, there were reports that
German paratroopers had been landed in the vicinity. Twenty-four hour security patrols were set up to guard
against any threat that might arise. After the Battle of the Belgium Bulge broke out, Headquarters Company
moved to Bomal, Belgium. While enroute a buzz bomb dropped some two hundred yards in front of the column.
Fortunately, no one was injured. Road blocks were set up at Bomal. The entire company was together again at
Spa, Belgium, the famous health center, during mid-January, 1945; at Herbesthal, Belgium, where the drone of
buzz bombs overhead could be frequently heard, during late January, 1945; at Voerendaal, Holland, throughout
most of February, 1945. While at Voerendaal, Lt. Fought transferred to the Air Corps and Lt. Forslund took
his place as Company Executive Officer. The company corssed the Roer River on February 26, 1945. It was while
the company was billeted for a brief period in Viersen, German, that many a GI's dream came true. An
abandoned distillery was located in the town, with the result that a sense of equilibrium was sacrificed in
the interests of wine, merriment and song. In early March the entire company moved into the twon of Vluynheille
a few hours after it had been taken by the American forces. During the time the company was here, it performed
military government duties, sent out searching parties, and doubled the security in the town. One evening when
most of the men of the company were attending a movie, a German plane dropped a bomb which landed a few
hundred yards away from the secen fo the movie. On the 31st of March the company left Osterath, Germany, and
crossed the Rhine at 1800 hours that day.
The company left Wittel, Germany, on April 8th and began the now famed march from the Weser to the Elbe. The
next day while billeted in Pattensen, Germany, the company was subjected to enemy artillery fire before
moving out. Three days later the Motor Maintenance section was cut off from the rest of the column by some
pocketed resistance in the vicinity of Nuendorf, Germany, and it became necessary for a platoon from the
Reconnaissance Company to lend a hand. The remainder of the march continued as planned.
THE STAFF PLATOON
Shortly before the landing in France, the Staff Platoon was detached from Headquarters Company. Generally speaking,
there was said to be four Sections within the Staff Platoon. The Administrative Section (S-1); the Intelligence
Section (S-2); the Operations Section (S-3); and the Supply Section (S-4). Captain Sparks and the Battalion
Sergeant Major Kirkpatrick, deftly performed and executed the numerous administrative data and detail that came
up during the entire course of combat. The Intelligence Section was headed by Captain Lloyd until 27 August
when the present S-2, Captain Wright took over, with T/Sgt. Feibel and Van Horn completing the section. The
Operations Section was headed by Major Patalive until September 27th, at which time the present incumbent, Major
Burgess, took over with T/Sgt. Haupt and Morley Cohen rounding out the Operations team.
During most of the combat period, the Staff Platoon was attached to the 5th Armored Divison Artillery. However,
during the initial penetration into the Seigfried Line in September, 1944, the Battalion Headquarters section
was attached to CCR, of the 5th Armored Division. In December 1944, when the Battle of the Belgium Bulge broke out,
the Commanding Officer and his vehicle, plus the S-2 and the S-3 sections left the Battalion Headquarters section
behind at Hahn, Germany and established a Forward S-1 section which moved down from Hahn. Later that month, a
Forward Command Post was established at Erezee, Belgium, within hearing distance of enemy small arms fire and it
was here that the Forward CP Group spent Christmas, 1944. Again in January, 1945, the Commanding Officer and his
driver, Baer, together with the S-2 and S-3 sections left the Battalion Headquarters Section at Chevron, Belgium, and
established a Forward Command Post at Gernechamps, Belgium.
The Battalion Personnel Section headed by WOJG Frank E. Gerlach, and the entire section consisting of T/Sgt. Wentworth,
Lowery, the Company Clerks, Desalle, Bell, Jones, Kutyla, Kronk and driver Bill Reed on August 2, 1944 proceeded to
the Rear Echelon of the 5th Armored Division where they remained during the entire period of combat doing an
excellent job in performing the many duties involved in handling the personnel records and the necessary reports
required from time to time by the higher Headquarters. It was while using the Personnel Section truck to bring up
the necessary gasoline and ammunition in the push from the Weser to the Elbe, that Bill Reed, in convoy with the
other Division trucks was fired upon by stray enemy elements with the result that elven of the trucks in the convoy
were destroyed. Reed's truck was captured and driven away by the enemy but was later recovered. In attempting to make
his way back to the Allied lines. Reed was fired upon several times by German civilians but managed to get back to
The job of maintaining liaison between the Battalion and Higher Headquarters was efficiently handled by Lt. Cook (S-3)
with drivers Kness and Biermeyer. In February, 1945, Lt. Cook left to join the 6th TD Group and Lt. Wing took over
the job of Liaison Officer.
THE SUPPLY SECTION
Had you been able to view the Supply Section of the Battalion as it landed in France, the picture would have been
something like this. Captain Travis, then Lieutenant, rode in the 3/4 ton command car and in the same vehicle was
Slavinski, the section NCO leader, and Lind was at the wheel. Stein, the section radio operator, was in the rear
of the vehicle. Kapitan, the assistant Battalion Supply Sergeant rode in the weapons carrier with Robinson at the
wheel. In the rear, if you looked behind the AR's the War Departement communiques and the mail bags you would have
seen Vazakas, the Battalion Supply Clerk, and Petrick, the ever reliable mail clerk. Tobin was placed in complete
charge of ammunition, Taggart was placed in charge of gas and oil, and Otto Schulz, the oldest man in the section
from the standpoint of service, bounced along with Tobin's ammunition section.
Upon arriving in Briquebec, the section began the numerous duties involved in supplying and resupplying the Battalion.
After a brief two day stay there the section moved out. Those who saw it still recall the humorous sight that Petrick
presented as the section started to move out, clutching stray rolls of maps and equipment as he tried to catch up with
the vehicle. After the rapid dash through France, the section's greatest obstacle from the standpoint of resupplying
the Battalion was distance. The trips for gas and oil, ammunition and rations often was a 50 to 100 miles drive one
way. The section crossed over into Germany arriving at the never to be forgotten town of Wallendorf, Germany. After the
withdrawal from Germany in September, 1944, the section returned to Luxembourg with the Battalion where the section began
anew to supply the needs and wants fo the organization. In addition to the normal duties, work was begun on a new T/O
and T/E for the 628th Tank Destoyer Battalion. The Battalion was next swung north and re-entered Germany in the
Rotgen sector. Trips for supply continued to involve time and distance. For the first time since landing on the continent
the section, as well as other units of the Battalion, was billeted in homes. Then followed the task of reconverting
the Battalion, the M-36 Tank Destroyer with the more potent 90 mm gun replacing the M-10 Tank Destroyer. Then came the
eventful Ardennes Campaign and the next four weeks found the section in Belgium, and it was in the town of Bomal that
the section spent Christmas and New Years. Late January and early February, 1945, found the section in Holland where
the section enjoyed a pleasant stay. After the crossing of the Roer, the section continued further work on the 8th,
543rd, and 762nd changes of T/O and T/E. The section welcomed a new addition in the person of Frank Mayer in January,
1945. It was during this time too that Petrick was reassigned to the Personnel Section operating with the Division
trains. After a brief stay in Osterath, the section together with the rest of the Battalion joined the march across the
Rhine and then began the memorable smash across Germany up to the Elbe River. It was while on this journey that Mayer
achieved everlasting fame as a fill-in for magicians. When V-E day came the S-4 section by way of celebrating fired
thousands of German flares into the air on V-E night illuminating the sky and turning night into day.
From August, 1944 to mid-November, 1944, the Supply Section handled and delivered 11,378 rounds of 3 inch ammunition.
From mid-November, 1944, until the cessation of hostilities 17,992 rounds of 90mm ammunition was handled by the
section. From 1 August, 1944, to 30 April, 1945, the supply section procured and issued 108,000 rations. The turnover,
in percentage, of individual clothing and equipment during the entire course of combat was 300%.
The Battalion Motor Maintenance Section, throughout the entire period of combat, did much towards maintaining the
vehicles of the Battalion at a high level of performance and operating efficiency. Oft-times working under difficult
combat conditions, the Motor Maintenance Section under the leadership of Captain Bayer, took on jobs that should have
been handled by higher echelons, but the technical knowledge and skill of the men in the Motor Maintenance Section
enabled them to take on and complete these jobs. This was of fundamental importance because not only was the job done
well but valuable time, that ordinarily would have been lost had the vehicles been sent to a higher echelon for repair,
A short time after the landing in France, welders, Souders and Richards were assigned to assist a 3rd Army Ordinance
unit to install hedgerow cutters on the number one Destroyer in each platoon of the firing companies. This was the
first major piece of work accomplished on the continent.
During the operations that entailed the closing of the Falaise Gap, much work was performed on the track vehicles. In
one instance, a direct hit from an enemy 88 mm shell had punctured the fuel tank of a Destroyer, the shell passing
through without further damage to the Destroyer. It thus became necessary to obatin the fuel tanks from a Destroyer that
had been put out of action because of a faulty turret traversing mechanishm, and this was accomplished in a relatively
short period of time.
Before moving on to Paris, an incident took place within the Motor Maintenance Section that is still recalled by all the
crew. McAlpine dehorned a hand grenade one day, and not knowing that Hamlin and Van Antwerp were in the cab of the
parts truck getting out some dehydrated V-mails, McAlpine pulled the pin and threw the grenade into that part of the
vehicle occupied by the letter writing enthusiasts. Paper, pens and the other tools of the trade were scattered to the
four winds as Hamlin and Van Antwerp dove for the cover of a nearby brush. Van Antwerp showed up at the supper meal
that evening wearing the latest in nettle burns, while Hamlin sported a sheepish look on his beaming countenance. While
moving through France, Webster's knowledge of the French tongue enhanced the bill of fare on several occasions
providing choice additions to the "Ten in One" menu.
The Motor Maintenance crew was kept busy making motor changes and tune ups on the wheeled vehicles in Luxembourg prior
to the initial offensive into Germany in September, 1944. While in Germany, the section worked under artillery fire to
repair three Company "B" M-10 Tanks Destroyers which had been hit by shrapnel causing serious rediator leaks. Todorow,
Lenehan, Oleska, Verveat, Schultz and Moore worked on the radiators. Westphal and McAlpine began the necessary work on
the clutches. Howell, Mellring and Mailliard were recovering an M-20, belonging to the Forward Command Post Group, out of
a deep ditch. The work on all sides continued at high pitch. When the order came to prepare to move out, the three
radiator jobs had been completed. It became necessary to tow the Destroyer with the clutch difficulty, Westphal and
McAlpine continuing to work on the vehicle all the while.
During the fighting in the Hurtgen Forest sector, many casualties resulted from mortar fire and tree bursts and the open
turret tops on the M-36 Tank Destroyers afforded the crews inside the Destroyers little protection. Captain Bayer,
Kirschbau, Webster, McAlpine and Souders began drawing up plans and designs for an armored turret top. A plan was
designed which appeared to offer the maximum amount of protection and at the same time did not hamper the operations of
the crew within the Destroyers in carrying out their primary fuction. The installing of the turret tops began at once.
When the Battle of the Belgium Bulge broke out all Destroyers were needed on the line so that the work on the turret tops
was at a standstill during this time, of necessity. When the unit moved to Spa the work on the turret tops was continued.
As the unit moved from one area to another tops were installed and Schenheim, Germany, saw the completion of this task
just prior to the crossing of the Rhine River. The turret top proved itself and demonstrated that the work and toil
which had made it a reality had not been in vain.
Throughout the entire course of combat, welding was always in demand. Major repair jobs such as the replacement of
transfer cases, transmissions and engine overhaul jobs were numerous. Tire and tube repair constituted another important
item in the contribution of the section to the success of the Battalion. Up to the Roer River, parts of every type and
description were easily obtained but from the Roer River on a scarcity of all parts existed. From the standpoint of
statistics, the following engine changes were made during the course of combat: Six M-10 Diesel engines, ten M-36 Ford
engines, fourteen Ford (jeep) engines, eight GMC engines, ten Dodge engines, eleven JSC M-8, M20 eingines, one Heavy
Wrecker and one Radial (T-2) engine.
Upon debarking in France, it did not take long for the Transportation Platoon to learn of the rigors of combat. Lt. Wing
was then in command of the Transportation section. The Platoon received its frist mission upon landing. 800 rounds of
ammunition were sorely needed by the 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The Transportation Platoon set out on this mission
that first night. German planes were out in numbers strafing the American columns but before the evening was over the men
in Transportation got the ammunition through to its destination and made the mental notation "mission accomplished."
Upon returning to the Battalion area the next morning, they learned the Battalion was preparing to hop off. They loaded
their trucks and began the historic movement across France. When they reached Mantes, France, it became necessary to
change tracks on all tanks. The job of hauling the tracks the necessary 300 miles fell to the Transportation platoon.
This accomplished, the men loaded up and began the movement towards the Belgian border. Upon reaching the border, the
Platoon refueled the Battalion. The men in the section, seven GMC's plus a platoon from the Reconnaissance Company for
security reasons, made a 200 mile journey for fuel. Upon learning that there was no fuel available the platoon returned
to rejoin the Battalion. In the interim, the Battalion had moved to Luxembourg so the Transportation section moved on in
order to catch up with the remainder of the Battalion. After rejoining the Battalion, the section again took off for fuel
and travelled to Laon, Belgium, some 150 miles distant. The men waited here some four days before they were able to obtain
the necessary fuel and when this had been accomplished they returned to refuel the Battalion. Then came the initial
offensive into Germany. On the fourth day, after entering Germany, word reached the section that Company "B" was in dire
need of ammunition. Despite a heavy artillery barrage, Tibbets and Salvatore started out to attempt to get the
ammunition through to the company. In the midst of the journey, the fan belt on Tibbet's vehicle broke. The men dismounted
and working under artillery fire proceeded to put their extra fan belt on the vehicle, enabling them to continue their
journey and to accomplish their mission. At this same time, word came down that a platoon of Company "A" was trapped and
needed ammunition. Williams and Otto Schulz set out to attempt to get the ammunition through to the trapped platoon.
Despite the heavy enemy artillery barrage, they too were able to get through to the platoon and deliver the ammunition.
When the Battle of the Belgium Bulge broke out, S/Sgt. Abee, Campbell, Vosko, Blozitis, Walls and Langford took three
GMC's with them and set out for Bastogne, Belgium, to pick up the duffle bags and Val Pacs that the Battalion had stored
there. Upon arriving in the vicinity that had now become a battle ground, the men were told that it would be impossible
for them to get into Bastogne. The heavy artillery barrage that could be heard coming into the city reaffirmed these words,
so that the men had to return without the supplies.
During February, 1945, in Voerendaal, Holland, S/Sgt. Abee received a battlefield commision and took command of the
Transportation Platoon, Lt. Wing taking over command of one of the firing companies.
It was after the crossing of the Rhine, that two of the members of the platoon were captured by the Germans and held
prisoners for forty-eight hours. Williams and Wallace, attached to Company "A", were sent out to pick up fuel. On the
return trip, they ran into a German road block and were taken prisoners. Their vehicle, fuel and all, was burned. For two
days Wallace and Williams moved with their German captors not knowing what their fate would be. On several occasions
they were able to identify American machine gun fire. On another occasion, they, together with their captors, hit the
ground when American planes appeared overhead. After two days of captivity, Williams and Wallace were released and told
that they were free to return to the Allied lines in the prophetic lines of the German interpreter, "Go now! You are
prisoners today; tomorrow we shall be yours!"
THE COMMUNICATIONS SECTION
Radio communication was one of the things that made possible the rapid movement of the Allied armored columns. It was radio
that enabled us to visualize our own movements as well as the movements of those units located on our flanks.
When the Battalion jumped off from Avranches, France, after the breakthrough at St. Lo in August, 1944, the Communications
section under the command of Lt. Edward V. Jahoda began the task which kept each member of the section on the job until
V-E day. During the drives through France and Germany it was necessary for all the operators to stay constantly on their
sets so that communications with higher echelons would be maintained at all times. Any hour of the day or night would find
Ellis in the Commanding Officer's vehicle working at his N.C.S. job. By the same token, the subordinate stations in the net
were well manned by McLain and Rothman in the S-2, M-20 vehicles, Buchko in the Executive Officer's vehicle, Hayhow operating
in the S-3 command car, Stein at the controls of his "506" in the S-4 vehicle and Jones at the "193".
From time to time radio silence would be invoked for security reasons. When this proved to be the case, the entire burden
of seeing that all messages were expedited quickly and efficiently rested on the shoulders of the "bike" riders, Elton, Davis,
Baylor, and Baer all of whom did their job and did it well. Electrical and mechanical radio troubles were capably handled by
Boswell and Keller.
The section suffered its first casualty in Luxembourg when Reese, the S-3 liason operator, was injured in a vehicular accident
shortly after the armored drive had taken the unit through France. The Battalion lost a respected individual and expert
radio electrician when Boswell was killed in Wallendorf, Germany, during September, 1944. Elmer, the Communication Officer's
radio operator was wounded in the same action.
Message Center was an important cog in the communications wheel with the task of handling all messages by messanger and
radio. When conditions became more stabilized, Message Center assumed the extra burdern of maintaing a
swtich-board which necessitated the use of Baylor's and Mrogan's talents as linemen. Fisher, Kolc, Jago, and Zilaunes
were the men responsible for seeing that the Message Center functioned smoothly.
Meranda, in his capacity as Battalion Communications Chief, and Buchko, in his capacity as Headquarters Communications
Sergeant, both deserve considerable credit for jobs well done. However, the section's top priority assignment was carried
out successfully not by a few of the men but by the combined and sustained efforts of all the men in communications,
working as a team.
Upon landing in France, the kitchen served its first of 643 combat meals in the early evening in an apple orchard near the
town of Briquebec. When the company started its movement through France, Torres, Patterson, Salvatore, and Nanna were
attached to the Transportation Section and moved with the company. Mountz and Frauenpreis remained behind with the 5th Armored
Division trains where they guarded various supplies. These latter men rejoined the company at St. James, France, and
remained with the company until Quellennes, France, where they were again assigned to guard various supplies. They remained
here some three weeks and it was during this time that the name "Kitchen Commandos" became part and parcel of the kitchen
crew. The cooks rejoined the company at Buerville, France, The company next moved on through Paris, the kitchen staff
remaining behind at Guerville, France, not rejoining the company until Luxembourg prior to the initial offensive into the
Siegfried Line. The kichen crew did not move with the company on this offensive and later moved back to Bastogne, Belgium.
The entire crew rejoined the company at Faymonville, Belgium, in mid-October and remained with the company from that point on.
It was while the company was located at Faymonville, that the cooks woke up one morning to find that the wind had blown
their make-shift kitchen away. Nor were the cooks immune to artillery fire. While at Rotgen, Germany, the cooks were baking
a cake one afternoon in preparation for the Thanksgiving Day meal. The booming of the big artillery guns could be plainly
heard. The rumbling of the guns caused pieces of plaster to fall spasmodically into the cake resuling in a flavoring that
brought forth moans and groans at the evening meal that day. The kitchen crew received its first replacement in the person
of Carlisle at Harze, Belgium, in January, 1945. Best remembered among the exploits of the "Kitchen Commandos" is the alcoholic
inspired meal that was the result of an accidental mistake. Rather than using water, the usual ingredient used in the making
of gravy, on this particular occassion one of the inventive minds among the kitchen crew used a ten gallon pot of beer as
the principal ingredient, the beer having been placed in the pot by mistake.
From the time the unit approached the Elbe until V-E day, the company performed military government duties. The company was
in Wendezelle, Germany, when the news was officially announced to the effect that the was against Germany had ended. On May
10, 1945 the entire company moved to the town of Heiligenstadt, Germany.