I enlisted into the paratroops and was send to
Taccoa Georgia where the 506 Parachute Infantry Regiment was being
organized. This was the first regiment ever to train as a regiment
so we all started out in the same pace and time. Out training was
basic physical with daily obstacle course, Judo and other forms
of hand to hand combat. We ran a mountain that was about three and
one half miles high and down again. We did the every day except
Sunday and sometime then when we goofed up. After several months
we marched from Camp Taccoa to Atlanta and then was trucked to Ft.
Benning where we had more physical training and mock jumps from
a plane and practiced landing on a pulley that carried us to the
We then practiced going up a two hundred and fifty
foot tower in a opened chute and was dropped sometimes vertical
and sometimes horizontal. This was done many times. We double-time
every place we went. We learned to pack our own chutes and the jumped
the five times to get our wings. From there we went on maneuvers in several camps
and then to Camp Shanks at New York where we boarded a boat and
sailed to England. I was stationed at Hungerford at the Sir Wills
estate. More training and jumps until we were sent to the marshlands
grounds where we were isolated no one could come in or out.
We boarded the planes ready to go and it was called
off because of the bad weather but the next day we were back on
the planes and took off for Normandy, France. When we got near the coast line the enemy fire
started and we could hear the shells and ack-ack going through the
fuselage it had a pinging sound. I jumped into Normandy at about
2 AM on June 6 and landed near St. Come Du Mont. Enemy fire could
be heard going through the chute. I hit hard and climbed out of my chute looking
for any companions. I reached down to see what was the matter, I
had blood on both knees, it felt sticky so I put a bandage over
both on the outside of my jump suit and keep on going. It didn't
take long for me to realize that someone was shooting at me.
I didn't understand this as I couldn't see anyone
until I looked down and seen the white edge of the bandage showing.
I immediately dropped my pants after removing the bandages and put
them over the knees, still too dark to see any damage. I pulled
my pants back up and then realized the it would be very interesting
if I was put down then with my pants down.I found a comrade that was a Pathfinder that had
a broken leg. I set it as best I could and wrapped him up in his
chute and then ran into a German that had been hit pretty hard and
tended to him and when I was almost done I looked up and there was
another German holding his gun on me. The man that I was tending
to said something in German and he turned away and left. The hair
on the back of my neck was standing upright. Two other occasions
similar to that occurred before daylight came.
I ran into some of our outfit and made forward
movement with Colonel Sink and several others. We set up a regimental
aid station in a church in St. Come du Mont and treated wounded
until we moved up into Carentan. There were many wounded and as
General Eisenhower said they anticipated 82% casualties, we didnt
miss it by far. We took Carentan after a bloody battle and was taken
off the line and returned to England to get ready for the next jump. We returned to England after Normandy and started
to resupply all of our needs including recruiting most anyone that
would jump from a plane five times to fill our loses in Normandy.
Some of the men that were wounded and had been in the hospital went
AWOL and came back to the 506 and Col. Sink was put to task having
them removed from the AWOL status to on duty in the 506.
Discipline was at a low and the order came out that a jeep would
be going through the compound with an officer, personnel and driver.
Anyone who failed to salute the officer was given a summary on the
spot. First Sgt. Miller was put to the task by an officer and was
about to be given a summary but he requested a general court marshall.
He was and old time career mad and a personal friend of the Colonel
Sink it was dismissed and there was no more jeep touring the compound. We where ordered into the airport marshaling area
and boarded the planes to go in again. We were ordered off and was
told the planes were needed to haul fuel to Gen. Patton in France.
Later we were bordered onto the planes and jumped into Holland.
My jump and objective was the town of Eindhoven which was secured
after a brief run in with some of the die hard Germans.
We expected to see General Montgomery come through
with his tanks but he failed to show up on schedule, this resulted
in a fight all the way up to the Arnhem and Nijmegen bridges. The
British Paratroopers lost a lot of men due to the foul-up of the
General. We came back to a rest area and then hauled by trucks into
Bastogne where we were surrounded by German tanks and infantry.
It was recorded that this was the coldest that winter that was ever
recorded. Fox holes were almost impossible to dig as you shovel
hit the ground and bounced back. The tiny moisture in the air froze
and it was so light it floated to the ground and looked like tiny
diamonds in the air.
There were many casualties not only by enemy fire
but from the cold which many developed frozen toes and fingers.
In our aid station the dead were piled up like woodpiles one on
top of the other. I gave plasma as fast as two aid men could mix
it and as long as our supplies lasted. I raided the medical unit
that was there and secured all IV material that was in their warehouse
to be used until that also was almost diminished. When we heard that three German's was coming into
the Hdqrs we were ordered to move the dead to the cemetery. So the
Germans would not see them. Our aide station was only 100 yards
from Gen McCaulif so we had a good view for the procession. Only
the extreme cold could account for the saving of many lives of the
wounded as it appeared to stop infections.
When the Germans ran out of fuel the battle started
to move back into Germany. We were not removed from the line and
continued to chase the Germans until relieved.
We then moved toward Austria and on the way liberated a German concentrationcamp
near Lewisburg. What an awful sight. The people in the town claimed
they knew nothing about it. They soon found out about when they
was ordered into the camp and made to help with the prisoners alive
and dead. From there we went to Berchtesgaden and up the mountain
and took Hitler's Eagles Nest and liberated Goering's stolen art
collection and of course the liquor cave.
The war ended soon after that and I with enough points was on my
way to a ship bound for home when the surrender came.I was awarded all the medals that the 506 received
plus the Purple Heart and three Bronze stars.
Paul R. Miller