by Jack W. Mills
Another boy named McDaniel and I was walking along inland from the Omaha beach landing, it was late in the evening and not much light, this was about D+1 and we were about 3 feet apart, when we heard a zzzz past our heads and then the sound of a gun. I ask Mac if he heard that go by our heads and he said "yes I did". We turned and looked toward where we thought it came from but no more shots came. It was a sniper and they most usually don't shoot more than once, for fear of giving away their hiding place, unless their target is worth the risk.
We went on for aways and finally made camp and started digging in for the night. Usually you tried to team up with a buddy because some had shovels and some had hatchets or some had picks and at times you may need all three to dig a hole. There was trucks coming by and looked like they were hauling boxes of K-Rations. We hadn't had anything to eat since before we landed the day before and I stopped the truck and took a box off of it that I thought was a box of K-Rations but it turned out to be a carton of 24 Army .45 automatics and we just kept them and passed them around to the guys and everyone that wanted them took one. I carried mine all the way to Antwerp, Belgium and finally traded it to an Air Force guy for a Sheep lined coat, it was miserably cold there and at time the coat meant more to me than the gun.
I stopped another truck and this time it was K-Rations and I took a case off of the truck. One of our Sergeants, a Sgt. Smith from New York, came along when we were digging our fox hole and he started to take the K-Rations. I was in the hole, cutting some roots and a boy named McDaniel was sitting on the case of K- rations and Sgt. Smith pushed McDaniel off of them and said that he was going to take them and pass them around. I came out of that hole and told him in no uncertain terms of Army talk that he fully understood, that I intended to split his dam head with that hatchet, if he took them. He threatened me with a courtmartial and I told him that if he did that I would kill him before morning. He believed me because he set the K-rations back down and took off running, and that was the last trouble I ever had with him. In combat they turn into pretty regular fellows. I seen the helmet that belonged to a Colonel Smith that was shot and killed and the bullet had gone in the back of his helmet. Knowing him no one wondered who had got him, it wasn't Germans. In England just before we loaded on the boat, 2 horseshit Sergeants found a bullet on each of their beds with their names scratched on them and they suddenly decided that a change was in order.
We were sleeping in an old barn one night and I was suddenly shook awake by one of our Sergeants, he had woke me up to tell me that he wanted to go home and he was crying and said "I want to go home". I told him to shut up and get to sleep that we all wanted to go home and he just kept on crying and saying, "I want to go home and see my wife and kids". I told him again to go to sleep and shut up so we could all get some sleep. I don't remember how long it went on but he cost us some precious sleep. This same Sergeant, in Paris, was laying out all night drinking and carousing with them girls, and then jumped up at 6:00 o'Clock in the morning and said that he had to go to mass. I ask him why he went to mass and he said that the Father would make him alright again and forgive him of his sins. He would come back and say that he was good for another night now. He wasn't missing his wife and kids then very much.
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Document Last Modified: Saturday, 01-Nov-1997 18:27:37 UTC