entered the US Army in April 1944 at the
age of 18, had basic infantry training at
Camp Roberts, California, was then assigned
to the ASTP unit at Bowdoin College, Brunswick,
Maine, and in February 1944 joined Company
C of the 101st Infantry Regiment of the 26th "Yankee" Infantry
Division. Following additional training at
Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the Division
left for overseas and landed in France in
early September 1944.
My Regiment first went
into combat in early October 944 in an
area of Lorraine about 15 miles east of
Nancy. We discovered that our main opponents
at that time were the 11th Panzer Division
and the 361st and 559th Volksgrenadier
Divisions. Fighting was bitter and intense
and made more difficult by the cold, rain
and mud. The German forces contested every
meter of ground. Our casualties mounted
and in one period between November 8 and
11, 1944, my Regiment suffered nearly 500
losses in killed, wounded, and missing.
I was wounded twice in
this first period of combat as we fought
our way through Dieuze, Saare-Union, and
Sarrguemines to the German border. What
was then to have been a time of rest and
refitting at Metz was interrupted by the
Battle of the Bulge. However, I missed
most of that since I did not return to
my Company from the hospitall in the UK
until late January 1945 in Wiltz, Luxembourg,
just in time for the battle at Saarlautern.
My Regiment participated
in the clearing of the Saar Basin, crossed
the Rhine, and then raced on through Germany
to northern Austria and Czechoslovakia.
And then the war was over. I went through
the rather carefree days opf occupation
in Czechoslovakia and later Enns, Austria.
We left Austria in late 1945 to return
to the US from Marseilles. My ship, the
SS CHAPEL HILL VICTORY, arrived at Newport
News, Virginia, and I was sent to Camp
McCoy, Wisconsin for discharge which occurred
on January 10, 1946.
I can say that of my
decorations, I am most proud of the Combat
Infantry Badge. This story is dedicated
to all those battered infantrymen of all
divisions without whom the war could not
have been won.
James has just published a 436-page book
titled "The Command is Forward" which
is the unofficial motto of my Regiment.
It contains in part the complete War Diary
of the 101st Infantry Regiment from August
1944 to May 1945 which has never been published
up to now.
You can learn more about
the book and how to order it by visiting
my web site at http://www.jameshaahr.com