by Jack W. Mills
The 82nd Airborne had taken the town and were on the west bank of the town and they had found a wine cellar, now that is a sight to see, I had never see so much bottled stuff in my life and it wasn't all wine, cherry schnapps, vodka and about half of the 82nd Airborne were about half drunk and they showed us where it was. You know what, a person can't carry more than 6 or 7 bottles without a sack but we took enough to light up a bunch of guys and really tied one on. I was never so drunk in my life and I was to go on guard at midnite.
I was taken out to a remote area and they had made a little shack out of tin and around the back and side had strung up barbwire around it and had C-ration cans hanging on it with gravels in the can to make a noise if any one came around it, you might have heard them but I couldn't have heard nothing that night and if they had cut my throat I would have bled 90 proof, maybe that is one of the reasons that I can't remember as much as I should but I never done that again. When my relief came the next morning, I luckily heard the Jeep in time to come out stretching and cussing that I thought they would never get there.
There is so much that I can't remember that this might not make much sense to a reader and I wish that I could remember it because it seems like it is just jumping around and I know there will be things that I think of later that I should have put in, after I have gone on, but "c'est le guerre".
From Cologne we went on up the Rhine river to Remagen. This was where the Germans failed to knock out the big bridge. That was a major screw up for them because our troop were able to use it. On up the river our engineers built a Pontoon bridge on up aways from it.
Some where along here we were in a town called Solingen and another town called Wuppertal and about this time we heard about the death camps that the Jews were all killed in and I never went to see them but I seen some of the things that were made from human skin, like lampshades and billfolds. It looks like real smooth leather. Some of the guys said that it was horrible to see them ovens and gas chambers. My memory is real fuzzy about where we were at this time. I had some razors from Solingen but I let them get away from me in Arizona. I let a barber, named Denvon Rogers take them to sharpen for me and he never returned them and I forgot about them until to late. He died in the meantime and I knew there was no use trying to lay claim to again.
Then we eventually went on up to Bonn and became attached to the 15th Army headquarters after the war was over. General George S. Patton, Jr. was the head of it and he was one human being that I mortally despised. He was the most egotistical, self centered, arrogant to the point of being contemptible, man that I have ever seen and I thoroughly despised him and sometimes wonder yet if that truck that hit his car and killed him was an accident. He had plenty of people that would just as soon see him dead. He was a hero to people that never was around him or knew him and only knew him from his news releases, which he put out. He put an article in the Army Paper called "Stars and Stripes" that was a quote of his that said, " to take care of the equipment and that the men were expendable". That never was the way that I looked at it, its self preservation that makes the American soldier stand out. Just tell him what to do and get out of the way.
He had commandeered a big old brown Cadillac about a 1937 or 38 model and rode around in it with his driver honking the horn so that the GI's that were in sight had to turn and salute the car, whether he was in it or not, that was his orders. When he was walking around he wore that pearl handled 45 colt revolver like a cowboy, he used to wear two of them but he gave one to some Movie star that came over, to entertain the troops. I guess she entertained him pretty good. He put out this salute order because no one would salute him, when he passed by, everyone would turn and be window shopping or something and pretend not see him. He was the Commanding General of the 15th Army. I think that when they put him in command of the occupation army, it was below him and hurt his dignity, because it had no glory attached to it. All he had left to do was throw his weight around and make things as miserable as possible for the troops.
We were in church one Sunday and it was warm weather and the church had double doors in the end of it and had an aisle running down the middle from the back to the front of it and the doors were open. He was coming down the side walk with 3 or 4 of his flunkies, he came striding past the church to the other end and came in a door there walked and over to the middle of the church in front of the pulpit and walked all the way back to the back before he sat down. The minster had to just stop and wait for him to get settled before he went on with the services. He could have came in the back door and sat down with out disturbing the services but no not him, he had to be noticed. He sounded like he weighed a ton when he walked because of his hard heeled boots.
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Document Last Modified: Saturday, 01-Nov-1997 18:27:33 UTC