recently returned from Europe and am now stationed at Hq. Army
Ground Forces in Washington. If you don't think the good ol'
USA is pleasant to the eye, you had better turn in to the nearest
Doc for a head examination.
Prior to my departure from Germany, I had planned a trip back
along the Spearhead route. However, due to the difficulty of
transportation outside the Occupied Zone, I couldn't make the
whole trip. I did, however, go back as far as Liege, Belgium.
My purpose was to bring back some word about the areas we fought
over, and to see the cemeteries in which so many Spearheaders
are buried. Previously I had been to Frankenburg and Korbach,
which were along the route to Paderborn when Mike Yeomans used
to radio back "The first team is on the objective. Where
is the rest of the Division?!"
Leaving Heisbaden I traveled generally north to Marburg, and
then west to Altenkirchen. The former is where we started the
race that enveloped the Ruhr after crossing the Dill, and the
latter is where Sammy Hogan took the wrong road for a while and
we had our Division CP. From there I went back to another CP
at Honnef, where we crossed the Rhine and then on up to Köln.
It was at Honnef that we occupied the Mauser estate and some
of our headquarters personnel did a little fishing in the Rhine
with hand grenades. From Köln I continued on west thru Duren,
Stolborg, Aachen and on to Liege. On the road from Köln
to Duren there are still some of our knocked-out tanks. I saw
two from "G" Co of the 32nd from Rich's
outfit, and took some pictures of them.
Köln has done a lot of work in cleaning up the rubble,
but very little reconstruction has started. The Cathedral shows
little change, and the Ludendorff bridge that blew up in the
face of CCA is still in the Rhine. However, another vehicular
bridge has been constructed and is called the Patton Bridge.
Duren shows little improvement since I saw it in March of
1945. It is still little more than a heap of bricks and mortar.
Stolberg and Aachen have cleaned up most of the debris but still
little rehabilitation. At the Prym Estate, where we had our Division
CP for so long, I was pleased to be recognized by our former
caretaker. The daughter, by the way, has married an American
and is now in the USA.
At Liege I nosed around a little to find out if anyone remembered
the 3rd Armored. From the barber, who did a poor job of a haircut
to the Bourgermeister, I found they all remember the day of their
liberation when CCA hit the place frontally and put over a bridge,
and CCB came in around the southern flank. The Bourgermeister
called a meeting of his city council and presented me with a
small plaque of the city. Previously there had been some articles
in the "B" Bag about the liberation of Liege by the
1st Infantry Division, but the citizens of Liege have no doubts
about who did the job.
Near Liege there are three of our large cemeteries, namely
Margraten, Henri Chapelle and Keuville en Condroz. Many of our
men are buried in those cemeteries. However, due to the
large numbers in each, I was unable to visit all of the graves
or find as many of our men as I had wished. In all I saw
almost fifty thousand graves. The ones I was able to locate included
General Rose, Lt. Quayle, Lt. Col. Mills, and Capt. Farrell.
The appearance of these cemeteries and the manner in which
they are kept was the most satisfying sight I experienced. Each
cemetery has been laid out and landscaped to suit the terrain.
All have planted flowers and shrubbery. The white crosses stretch
out in almost unending rows and the general care is wonderful.
At each cemetery is a small chapel and, continually watching
over our fallen comrades, is our national flag. The citizens
of the area have adopted certain graves and periodically visit
then and place flowers on them. As I walked thru some of the
rows, countless flower displays could be seen all over the cemeteries.
There are numerous other cemeteries in the allied and neutral
countries of Europe. All of our dead have been removed from German
soil. From the ones I saw, and from the fine performance by the
personnel and employees of the Graves Registration Service, I
can truthfully report our dead have acquired the answer to the
request "Requiescat in pace".