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Nothing concentrates the military mind so much as the discovery that you have walked into an ambush.-- Thomas Packenham
A cakewalk! That's what Captain K said it was going to be. Just a two day cakewalk through some islands in the rice paddies. All we had to do was link up with the Marines in Hue. Just load up on ammo, take extra grenades, and don't take too many C's because you're not going to be gone that long.
It was suggested to me that I give a talk or write a paper on my experiences last summer, experiences that to me were the most interesting and exciting I suppose I will ever have. As it was left to me to select the method, I have chosen this as the easier, not that I always choose the easier way when I have an alternative, but only when I think it is the better way.
I was born in Aalborg, Denmark on April 8, 1922 and immigrated to America with my mother and two older brothers Kaj and Poul in 1924. My father, Niels Christian, had come to America the previous year in 1923. After a two week sea and train journey through Ellis Island and Canada, we finally arrived in Chicago where we settled in a Danish neighborhood in the Humboldt Park area. Our family suffered greatly during the depression years but with the help of the Danish community we survived.
Note: by Erik Larsen, Battalion Surgeon, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division 13537 Reads
It was the fall of 1944. I was fresh out of USAC basic at Keesler Field and was assigned to B-29 gunnery training at Buckingham Field, Fort Myers, FL As a lot of good "cadets" did then, I chose this instead of "on the line" training. Within the first week at Buck Field, I was fitted with a parachute harness and "invited" to take an orientation ride in a funny-looking B-24.
Jan. 24th: I commenced keeping diary in Tom Sandle's book he being gone the Devil knows where. This morning inspection of arms weather cloudy and damp. No camp guards furnished by our Brigadier yesterday we were on pickett had the easiest duty our company ever done.
The date was the 25th of March 1945 and the target was the underground oil facilities at Buchen, Germany (about 6 miles east of Hamburg). The 448th could have easily stood down this day. Yesterday's costly mission took a toll of eight B--24's that were lost to ground fire when we dropped supplies to 40,000 British paratroopers that had just crossed the Rhine River at Wesel, Germany.
I, with about five hundred other prisoners of war, arrived at Elmira about the first of August, 1864, after a confinement of forty five days at Point Lookout. I spent the first day in a thorough examination of my new abode, and its advantages as a home until fortune would release me from its durance. It contained several acres of ground, enclosed by a plank fence about fourteen feet high; some three feet from the top on the outside ran a narrow footway, or parapet, of plank, supported by braces.
In June 1948, when I reached the age of 16, I enlisted in the Iowa National Guard. When I turned 17, I signed on with the United States Army. I took my basic training at Ft Riley, Kansas. In basic, some liked it, some hated it. I didn’t like KP, GI parties or inspections, but I figured the rest was just great. After basic I was sent to Leadership School.
Friday, Oct. 1st. - This morning the horses belonging to the officers of the brigade were forwarded to Wyoming. We also sent our cow which we had along with us the whole expedition, and to whom we are under infinite obligations for the great quantity of milk she afforded us, which rendered our situation very comfortable, and was no small addition to our half allowance.
Late November 1963, the day president Kennedy died, was the day on which I was going around John Adams high school in South Bend getting signatures allowing me to leave early in my senior year to join the Air Force. Vietnam was seldom mentioned on television in those days, but by then had already become what it eventually became. I was 17, fed up with school, seeking serious work for my country of whatever kind they might see fit to give.
One reason people born after World War II find it difficult to understand why the final days of the war were so destructive is that they do not realize how angry we Allied soldiers had become - and to some extent still are. Once our forces crossed the Rhine, it was clear that Germany was doomed. But Hitler, in his madness, vowed to fight on. Generals and admirals, whatever they thought, supported him. Soldiers and sailors continued to fight in the misguided belief that they were defending their fatherland.
I arrived in Vietnam on Jan. 16, 1966 with the 3rd. Bde. of the 25th. Inf. Div. 1bn. 14th. Inf. We had been on board the U.S.N.S. Walker for 12 days. All of us knew each other and had trained together for months in the jungles of the Big Island of Hawaii.
Since 1878, a group of people have left the shelter of land and rammed small boats into the angry sea with a single purpose: to save others from drowning. These rescuers have known full well they could die in the attempt. Over the years Americans have not given this group much thought. Yet the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard's small boat rescue stations Continue to push into gale-swept waters, asking only to help those "in peril on the sea."
France 16th June 1917.
Dear Mother & Father,
Please forgive me for making such a wide gap since I last wrote for truly it has been impossible. Since my last letter of the 2nd, our division has been through the fire and is now resting, resting as victors and as men who have done their bit. I feel at a loss to give an account of myself and of events generally during the past two weeks, for such a poor pen as mine cannot compass the tremendous events the awe-inspiring sights and the terrible ordeals which we have seen and gone through.
When I left our landing at McConnelsville some twelve months ago, accompanied by a gallant band of veterans, to rejoin the army of the South-West, I but little dreamed of all the vicissitudes through which I was to pass before I should have the pleasure of seeing the faces of my friends again. It is true, from an experience of nearly three years in the field, I was not insensible of the dangers from shot and shell.
1248: The city of Seville, France, surrenders to Ferdinand III of Castile after a two-year siege.
1863: Union forces win the Battle of Orchard Knob, Tennessee.
1863: The Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee, one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War, begins.
1934: The United States and Great Britain agree on a 5-5-3 naval ratio, with both countries allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan will denounce the treaty.
1940: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Admiral William D. Leahy as U.S. Ambassador to Vichy France to try to prevent the French fleet and naval bases from falling into German hands.
1940: Romania signs the Tripartite Pact, officially allying itself with Germany, Italy, and Japan.
1941: U.S. troops move into Dutch Guiana to guard the bauxite mines.
1943: U.S. Marines declare the island of Tarawa secure.
1950: A battalion from the Netherlands joined the U.N. forces in Korea. Better known as the "Dutch Battalion," it was attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division. The battalion first saw action on Feb. 12, 1951, in the major battle at Wonju, suffering more than 100 casualties and losing its commander.
1970: Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird discloses the November 21 U.S. raid on the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay. The raid was conducted almost flawlessly, but no prisoners of war were found in the camp.