Medics: A History of Company A,
110th Medical Battalion in WWII 
with Related Materials of Interest

Their Story

TABLE OF CONTENTS

   Phil Cohen's FOREWORD  

Rich Brodfuehrer's Foreword 
Why This  Was Done Their Story

FOREWORD

          I would be remiss, I think, if I did not make mention of why I felt compelled to assemble the work that you are reading now. Suffice to say that the curiosity I felt as a child when my father briefly spoke of what he had done and where he had been aroused my curiosity, and upon delving into the subject, I felt a need to honor those who served their fellow man in time of war.
          I was very fortunate in that an anonymous source on America Online put me in touch with the late Ralph Schmidt of Company C and Monroe, Nebraska, who turned me on to the existence of the first history of the 110th Medical Battalion, entitled JOURNAL OF MASTER SERGEANT FERDINAND BRODFUEHRER, which his son Richard Brodfuehrer had produced in 1990. This is an invaluable reference tool, and simply a wonderful piece of work. Upon completion of another project which I had been working on, I resolved to expand Mr. Brodfuehrer's work to cover more of the time overseas, to include more comments and anecdotes of my father and fellow veterans.... basically just to add to the story. I also came in came into contact with John Harakal, the nephew of Private Joe Toth (killed in action on "Bloody Sunday"), who was doing similar research as mine. His dedication and work proved invaluable, and is worthy of considerable praise.
          Being a medic or a litter-bearer was no soft position, these men were basically right alongside the combat troops from their landing in France in July of 1944 through VE-Day. The Red Crosses on their helmets and arms were no protection, and many casualties were taken. 100 men of the 538 who were on the roster of the 110th Medical Battalion between July 1944 and VE-Day were honored with either Silver or Bronze Stars. However, there is, I think, still a need to recognize the heroism of these men, every bit as much as we recognize the heroism of those who bore arms. That, then, is the purpose behind this effort.
                                               
                                        Phil Cohen, 1997


Rich Brodfuehrer's Foreword

        We don't know when my father wrote his journal of the 110th Medical Battalion. It is apparent looking at it that it was not written bit by bit throughout the period it covers. Since I didn't know about the journal until after his death, I didn't have a chance to question him about it. But it seems to have been written substantially just at the end of the war in Europe, perhaps while the battalion was on occupation duty and he was waiting to return to the states.

Master Sergeant 
Ferdinand G. Brodfuehrer, 
Spring 1944

        Ferd Brodfuehrer was a charter member of the Columbus, Nebraska National Guard unit, having enlisted on June 8, 1924, while the company was being formed. He was promoted through the ranks and became First Sergeant on July 29, 1929. He was promoted to Master Sergeant and named Sergeant Major of the 110th Medical Battalion on July 4, 1942 while on active duty. He was 40 years old when the battalion landed on Omaha Beach on July 7, 1944. He was discharged from the U.S. Army and retired from Nebraska National Guard on August 1, 1945.

        The battalion had earned five major battle stars in the European Theater of Operations: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe; and was given a Meritorious Service Award for action while serving with Patton's Third Army from July 9 to December 31, 1944.

        This little booklet is published with love and respect for my father, one of the world's few truly fine gentlemen.

                Richard F. Brodfuehrer
                September 21, 1990


Why This Research Is Necessary-
A letter from Hank Zaleski to John Harakal, February 18, 1997

Dear John,
                My brother Ben and I would like to thank you and your wife for all the information you have given us about our brother Chester. After 50 years of wondering and searching in the American Legion and VFW magazines for information on the Normandy Invasion and all the pertinent battles up to July 30th, 1944, I know that you would also would know how much we appreciate what you have done for us and all that you have told us with your talks and conversations with your Uncle's and Chet's buddies. I talked with my brother Ben several times by phone and he told me about your conversations with him. He told me that you turned on the lights in the room after 50 years of darkness. I feel the same.
        On the book about the 35th Infantry, I made copies of about 10 pages that had history from training camps through August 1944 and sent them to my brother.
        Well John my brother and I again would like to thank you and your wife, (understanding wife) from the bottom of our hearts and may God bless you and your wife with good health and hold both of you in His hands.

      Maybe we will get together sometimes,
                                                                Henry (Hank) Zaleski


Their Story

        The following is an account of events as told to me by my father, Leon B. Cohen, several other members of Company A, 110th Medical Battalion, other sources, and documented from several further sources. Any additions and/or corrections are gladly accepted. PMC
             
         The 110th Medical Battalion was attached to the 35th Infantry Division during WWII. The battalion was organized as such, a Headquarters Company, three Collecting Companies, which under ordinary circumstances were attached to the three Infantry Regiments of the Division, and a Clearing Company.
          "According to Hoyle" as the saying goes, the Infantry Company aid men were to carry casualties back to the battalion aid station, the Collecting  Company personnel were to assist and transport casualties to the Clearing Company station hospital further back. In the 35th Division, the rules of the game were much different. Due to the heavy volume of casualties, the litter bearers of the collecting companies spent much of their time on the firing line as it were, shutting between the front and the battalion aid station, and often serving in the roll as combat medics. They were not considered eligible for the Combat Medics Badge, this is an oversight that really needs to be corrected. However the number of Bronze and Silver Stars awarded attests to the reality of the service of Collecting Company personnel in the 35th Infantry Division    
  

         Robert Roden-  "More often than not we were used as front line medics rather than litter bearers."

PPFC Robert Roden

        As stated above, this is reflected in the high number of decorations awarded personnel of the 110th Medical Battalion, and also in the high rate of casualties suffered by its personnel. As noted by Richard Brodfuehrer (son of Master Sergeant Ferdinand G. Brodfuehrer), of the 538 men who served at one time or another with the 110th Medical Battalion from July 1944 through VE Day, 112 casualties were recorded, including 11 men killed in the line of duty, and 2 missing in action. There were 92 Bronze Stars awarded, and 8 Silver Stars. The commanding officer of the Battalion, Lt. Col. Millard W. Hall, was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

ORGANIZATION & EQUIPMENT

        Companies A, B, & C were Collecting Companies. Company D was the clearing company. The collecting companies were commanded by a Captain from the Medical Corps. Each had two Station sections, which included doctors and medical personnel, a mess section, a motor pool, a headquarters section, an ambulance platoon and a litter platoon. The platoons were each commanded by a Medical Administrative Corp 1st Lieutenant.
        The collecting companies were equipped with various vehicles. The ambulance platoon had 10 ambulances, their drivers,  and litter bearers. The mess section had it's kitchen truck and a 250 gallon water trailer. The CO and platoon leaders each had jeeps, the Supply Sergeant had truck, and the station sections and motor pool all had trucks as well. There were 17 total vehicles in each company. They were identified by company and number on the bumper. For instance, vehicles A-8 through A-17 were ambulances.... A-1 was more than likely the commanding officer's jeep.
        As stated above, the Ambulance Platoon was equipped with a jeep and 10 ambulances. Beside the commanding officer and his driver, there were 20 men, an ambulance driver and his assistant for each vehicle. The Litter Platoon consisted of its commanding officer, his driver, and 10 litter squads of 4 men each.
        The mess section had 5 men, commanded by a Staff Sergeant. The Station sections, commanded by a TEC3, would each have a records clerk, who was responsible for recording all information about identity, wounds, treatment and disposition of casualties that passed through the company, and other medical personnel.
        The Motor Pool, also commanded by a Staff Sergeant, had it's mechanics. They were responsible for maintaining the companies vehicles.
        There also were Company personnel who had assorted duties. Besides the First Sergeant, there was an intelligence sergeant, company clerk, a mail orderly, a latrine orderly, and a supply sergeant. The Supply Sergeant was responsible for clothing, personal property, equipment, and the like. The Latrine Orderly' responsibility was to establish latrine facilities whenever the company moved to a new location. The mail orderly's job would be to properly distribute incoming mail, and post outgoing mail after it had been censored. Due to the nature of the job at hand, and also due to casualties within the collecting company itself, men often did "double duty". The latrine orderly and mail orderly, and other personnel often would serve as litter bearers or help on the ambulances when the needs of their fellow soldiers dictated. In all, the Collecting Companies Table of organization called for 98 enlisted men and 5 officers.
        In Company A, two men from the New York City area commanded the platoons. 1st Lt. Herman Weisman of Long Beach commanding the ambulances, and 1st Lt. John Barber of Staten Island the litter bearers. Later in the was William Schwader of Nebraska was awarded a battlefield promotion and he commanded the ambulance platoon. Many of the non-commissioned officers were from Nebraska, as the 110th Medical Battalion was originally a Nebraska National Guard unit, and several of the officers at both battalion and company levels were Nebraska men as well.    
        
        The 110th Medical Battalion descended from the 110th Medical Regiment, a Nebraska National Guard Unit. Many of the officers and non-coms had been pre-war members. For a more complete pre-1943 history of the unit, please refer to the section HISTORY OF THE 110th MEDICAL BATTALION, written by Richard Brodfuehrer. The unit had been mobilized in 1941, and between 1941 and the fall of 1943, had trained at several locations, and personnel had been transferred out to form other medical units for the new divisions that were being organized. In the fall of 1943, the 35th Division including the 110th Medical Battalion was at Fort Rucker in Alabama. Many of the privates who went to Europe began arriving at this time.

          Henry Desmarais, after being inducted at Fort Devens, Massachusetts and receiving basic and medical training at Camp Pickett (near Blackstone VA), spent a month at Camp Grant near Chicago IL before being assigned to the 35th Division.
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "I was trained as a corpsman in the medical corps assigned to a combat area. The training consisted of knowing the names and locations of the bones and arteries, how to administer medication by mouth or injection and how to apply bandages."                               

        Robert Roden and John "Red" Cadamatre entered the battalion after training at Camp Barkley in Texas, joining at Camp Rucker. Alabama.   
                
                Robert Roden-
                        "'Red' liked to play with the galloping dominos (dice).... I do know 'Red' usually won".
                   
           Bertis L. Pratt joined the 110th Medical Battalion right after he graduated from the University of Maine. He had graduated from the University of Maine with top honors, and had been sent to Fort Benning GA for Officers Candidate School. Two weeks before graduation, he was called before a board of officers, along with 40 other men.
                
          Bert Pratt-    "They told us we had failed the course! I was horrified, I'd never failed a course before anywhere! 

Cpl Bertis Pratt

        Then two of us, myself, and another fellow who coincidentally was from the University of Maine, and told us we could repeat the course, which was 17 weeks. I told them no thanks, that my nerves couldn't take another 17 weeks. They told me I would be sent directly to an infantry division that was going to Europe. I said that it was alright with me."
        
        Bert's recollection of the Tennessee maneuvers are as follows:
        
                Bert Pratt-
                        "I do remember being on maneuvers in Tennessee during the Christmas season. We dug foxholes for training and I remember waking up Christmas night with a stream of water rushing over me. Sometime later we were sent to West Virginia for mountain training. Supposedly they thought we would be sent to Italy to invade Germany across the Alps. I remember that as we trained to remove a litter patient down the side of a cliff, the rope broke and the patient was killed."

                        Other accounts refer to the man having his back broken, serious enough, and other injuries occurring here. The mountain training was both physically difficult and hazardous.
        
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "...it was off to the mountains of West Virginia. The mountains were located near Wheeling WV. We trained with arctic gear, climbed the face of the cliffs 300 to 400 feet, had special arctic clothing, shoes, and tents. The exercises lasted 3 to 4 weeks and then it was back to Camp Butner."  
                
         Leon Cohen, then of Brooklyn, NY, after completing basic training at Camp Pickett, went into the ASTP program at William & Mary College in Virginia, and graduated from it in January of 1944. At graduation, General Kilpatrick spoke at length about what a bright future the graduates had. They got a week's furlough, and then reported to there units, Cohen and several others including Morris Rubenstein of Philadelphia PA were assigned to the 110th Medical Battalion, Cohen going to Company A.

      Leon Cohen:  "We were waiting outside. The first guy goes in and here we had been told by Gen. Kilpatrick that

PFC Leon B. Cohen

big things were waiting. The guy comes out and says ‘They offered me the MPs, so I turned them down'. The next guy goes in and we're saying ‘What the hell's going on? This is a big deal?' The next guy comes out and same thing. By the time we got there were, no offers, you go here, one guy went to ordnance. In any event they said this is where you are and this is where you were."

        Company A was a collecting company, and they went to West Virginia to train (see above). After the initial mountain training, several men from the battalion went back into the mountains for advanced training in the use of mules. Several pictures from the West Virginia training periods are included within this site, illustrating the training and weather encountered during this time. The division participated in other training at Fort Butner in North Carolina, and then headed north, to prepare to embark for England.
        In May of 1944, the 35th Division was at Camp Kilmer NJ, preparing to ship out for England. Many of the east coast men had a last opportunity to visit home before going overseas.

         John Harakal:      "Apparently before you guys shipped out my uncle [Pvt. Joe Toth] went back to the Bronx with Tony Gengo. From what my Aunt says, my uncle did not want to get his mother all

Pvt Joseph Tothe Joseph Toth

 worried that they were shipping out so he didn't come home when you guys were in Camp Kilmer.
                        I'll tell you a funny story about Tony.
                        He says ‘When we were gonna ship out we didn't know where we were going and I was scared silly of snakes. I'll tell you if we going to the Pacific, I didn't care what happened to me I was going over the side of that ship. I was not going to the Pacific with snakes I was going over the side of that ship I was gonna swim home.'
        
                Robert Roden-
                        "Tony we called "Ack Ack" he tried to talk so fast he stammered."
        
        Leon Cohen went home to Brooklyn to visit. Upon returning to base, he was very sick, and went to the infirmary. With a very high fever, he was diagnosed as having meningitis.  Fortunately, the doctors treated him in time, and he was sufficiently recovered to board ship with his unit and sail for England on the USS Edmund B Alexander.
        
                Leon Cohen-
                          "I visited with my family briefly, then saw my girlfriend at the time, Blossom, she lived in the neighborhood. To get home from Kilmer I had to take a bus to NY and then the train back to Brooklyn. When I got home I knew I was sick, but I visited with the family. On the trip back I felt lousy. When I got to back to the base I told them
                                ‘I'm not feeling well'
                                ‘You don't want to go overseas'
                                ‘No, I'm not feeling well'
                                ‘Alright I'll take your temperature'
                        It was over 104, so 'down to earth'.... he [The doctor] gets a wheelchair, he props me into it and they take me up to the hospital. A day or two goes by, I start to feel better..... I start to wonder what's going to happen to me, I'm kind of feeling better. The aide says     
                                ‘Well you're not going..."
                        With my allocation of medication I was discharged from the hospital and boarded a ship. That was the fastest drop in temperature! The diagnosis was meningitis, I think it was three or maximum four days."

                Bert Pratt-
                        "We zigzagged back and forth to avoid enemy subs. It's my memory that it took 8-9 days. We landed near Liverpool and motored down to Bodmin."
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "The convoy consisted of 40 or more ships. The German subs sunk 3 or 4 merchant ships. We had abandon ship drills every time someone would start singing MY BODY LIES OVER THE OCEAN."
        

BODMIN

Upon arrival in England, the unit was stationed at Bodmin, in Cornwall, at the Poor Law Institute. Equipment was unpacked, checked, and preparations were made for action in Europe.
        
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "Our quarters were an old building, an abandoned poor house. We slept on straw mattresses with a 2" x 4" frame and a 1" wide steel strap in both directions forming the mattress support."

                Robert Roden-
                        "I didn't even know where I was and guess I never really cared as I found the English a very stiff necked group of people (Which I am ½ English, Ha!)." 

                Leon Cohen-
                        "We were in a County Poor House in Bodmin England. It was on an incline above the road. On the other side of the road was a brick wall. Somebody, I don't know who it was, made an arrangement for us to go bike riding with a couple of girls. So the bicycles were brought in for us, they drove the bicycles onto the camp grounds where we were bivouacked. We got ready to leave the station. The bikes I had ridden at home ,the brakes were in the pedals, not so the English bikes! Here I'm coming down, and it's not a smooth paved road, 'What the hell is going on, I can't stop this thing', and Whammo! Right into the wall! So I got up, went back up to the aid station and got patched up a little bit, and went bike riding! That wasn't going to stop me."

        Bert Pratt-
                        "When we were in Bodmin, England, I asked a Bobbie [Local police officer- PMC] for a certain direction. His reply "Go twice as far as you can see, and deny yourself one left turn and there you are."
                        "The hedgerows in England made driving very dangerous since you never knew who might come around the corner. In England they had removed all the road signs- in case the country was invaded, the enemy would have few clues.
                        "Once we arrived in Bodmin, before crossing the channel, I was directed to serve as a reporter (since I could type) and send public relations stories to Communications Zone (Com Z) in Paris about the 110th. They would send the stories to hometown papers back in the States to bolster their spirit."
                        "I interviewed nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, etc. I was permitted to go any place where the 110th served. They even changed my rank from Corporal to Tech/Sgt. Not bad! I was always assigned to Company A." 

For more about BODMIN and the 110th Medical Bn., click here

                On July 6, 1944, the 35th Division landed in France at Omaha Beach. Dad, being in Company A of the 110th Medical Battalion, was attached to the 134th Infantry Division. Within days of arrival in France, they were engaged outside of St. Lo, with the immediate objective being Hill 122 and the city beyond.       
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "We were on our way to the ships at the docks of South Hampton and boarded an LST [Henry was with the vehicles, some elements came in on an LCI]. Our ambulances and other vehicles were equipped for a complete submerging. The exhaust pipe extended about 6 feet above the roof of the vehicle. The channel was rough, the screw of the boat would rise out of the water and the ship would crack when the screw hit the water. The excitement was playing craps with French Invasion money. We landed about 55 feet from shore, the ships bow opened and 110th Medical Battalion vehicles rolled down the ramp. The only person in the vehicles was the driver. The remaining personnel walked down the ramp into 10 feet of water with a temperature of no more than 45 degrees. I carried a litter and had a medical pouch slung over my shoulder and bandages of various sizes stuffed under my shirt and jacket. I dropped the litter, the helmet strap nearly choked me, but I managed to swim to shore. We were told to open the doors of the ambulances to let the water out and walk alongside and push them if they got stuck in the sand. I finally made it to the top of the ridge and was able to ride in our medical supply vehicle. We were told, dig your foxhole. The hedgerows surrounded the plot of land and I dug my foxhole away from the hedgerow.... At sunrise I looked around and realized that I had slept 15 to 20 feet away from an ammunition truck loaded with shells for the artillery company's howitzers. We remained there til our infantry started marching to St. Lo."

                Bert Pratt-
                        "We entered France after D-Day near St. Lo. Everything had been blown to bits. When our outfit landed, we were told to immediately dig our fox-hole. Enemy planes came over every night but we were not permitted to show any lights. The planes circled around before leaving, they always dropped bombs- hoping they would hit something."
                        "Looking back, I think my foxhole was 10 feet deep and there were two Lieutenants digging below me. Of course I was petrified!"
                        "A few civilians wandered to our area bringing us a wonderful Roast pork. They wanted ‘Bon Bon' and said "Cigarettes for PaPa"
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "The afternoon of June 14th, 1944 , we were told ‘Dig your Foxhole'. The hedgerows surrounded the plot of land and I dug my foxhole away from the hedgerow. The mess was ready and everyone ate. I was behind the mess truck when shots were fired and I can't remember his name but he was killed while at the water tank trailer [This may have been TEC5 Arnold Hosted, who was only wounded, NOT killed, that day]. The Captain requested firepower from the infantry. They arrived with a machine gun on a turret and sprayed the trees. Leaves, branches were falling, and three German snipers were shot and left hanging in their harnesses.
                        At sunrise I looked around and realized that I slept 15 to 20 feet away from an ammunition truck loaded with shells for the artillery company's howitzers. We remained their until our infantry started marching to St. Lo."

        Co. A of the 110th had been commanded stateside and in England by Capt. Brillhart, an older man and a steady hand on the mostly younger men. Almost immediately after arrival in France, the Battalion reorganized, and Captain Frederick Webster was given command of the company. Leon Cohen recalls Webster as being slight of build and very youthful in appearance, and the first time he ran up on him in France, Webster was taking a bath.


                Leon Cohen-
                        "Most of the younger men thought 'How is this guy going to lead us' but he turned out to absolutely fearless".
                        "The guy who was the company commander, A Company, Captain Brillhart was a disciplinarian, an older guy. The thought was, if you're going to war, you want someone who's been around, or knew more about it. It wasn't days after we got to France, we still hadn't been formally committed to action yet that we learn that Freddy Webster had replaced Brillhart. Brillhart was transferred and Freddy Webster has become Company Commander. He was younger guy, almost youthful, a real nice looking guy. The first impression I had of him, that I see him, literally, is that he's taking a sponge bath with water from his helmet, he's washing himself...
                                'THIS is the guy whose going to lead us My God we're....

     ......The upshot of the thing is that Freddy Webster turned out to be more than just Freddy Webster. You know the history of the 35th Division, the geography of the route it took? To get to Nancy you had to go through a large forest. The question was what are the Germans going to do, where are they going to defend? So Webster took off, dressed as woman, to check it out. I think he did that at least once before.... He was wounded once or twice.... just a remarkable little guy."

                Bert Pratt-
                        "This is the article I wrote about our C.O. Captain Webster in 1944.
                        "‘Just a word about our C.O. Words can't describe his ability to cope with any situation. His medical talents are being wasted. In war, his chief contribution is his reconnaissance work. He belongs with a reckon group or the infantry. He spends his time on the front lines... Sometimes looking for aid station locations or for buildings for his men. He brings back wines, champagne, etc. He looks around for comfortable places... not too dangerous, yet in the right spot. He once dressed as a Frenchman to look over a bridge. He saw Germans nearby and saw a mortar crew in action. When our outfit was cut off with sixty casualties, he led the men in and supervised the rescue of the wounded. For the rescue of those sixty three men, Capt. Webster was awarded the Bronze Star. He is young and is a C.O. that could fit into any unit. He once gave a good set of O.D.'s to a man who had gotten soaked. He takes his turn on night duty when ever he happens to be in the area. How he stands it is a question. He has already worn out several drivers. We hope he doesn't get yanked out by some higher up command.'"
        
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "I remember that you [Leon Cohen] went with the Captain several times looking for a good location for the aid station."

        The collecting companies went right into action as soon as elements of the 35th Division were committed. Even though the 134th Infantry Regiment, which Company was attached to, had been held in Divisional reserve, German artillery was able to reach far enough back into American lines that 65 casualties were suffered immediately. The 134th began its first attack on the night of the 14th, advancing up the road that ran through Villiers-Fossard and Emelie, up Hill 122 and down that same hill into St. Lo. Company A made its headquarters 1 mile NE of Villiers-Fossard on the 14th, an remained there three days, moving 1 mile NW of Villiers-Fossard on the 17th.

                Henry Desmarais-
                        "We had an aid station on the road to St. Lo. [This would be either at Villiers-Fossard from the 14th through 16th of July, or possibly outside of St. Lo just after it fell- PMC] I remember a cemetery across the road from our location. The 134th Regiment was marching to the front and we were providing medical assistance to the GIs and also providing aid to some wounded German soldiers. The GIs marching said ‘Shoot them now'. The Germans claimed they were Poles, Hungarians, but not Germans. We were told to check under the arm pits for a tattoo of their blood type. The tattoo meant they were SS troopers..."

                Joe Zebrowski, as related to John Harakal-
                         Zeb, he got captured and the "German" soldier was a Polish conscript. "Colonel Zeb" he speaks Polish. The German soldier, [that is] the polish guy says
                                "You got cigarette"?
                         Joe said he never smoked but he had the cigarettes from the ration. He says
                                "Yeah I got cigarettes, I'll tell you what you let me go I'll give you the whole pack" in Polish. The Polish soldier, he didn't give two hoots for the Germans or anybody else. He says 'You got a deal'.
                         Joe turned around and beat feet back. Joe says ‘I never smoked but I thank God for cigarettes.':
        
        On July 14th, TEC5 Arnold Hosted of White Pigeon MI became Co A's first casualty, being wounded in action. He returned to the unit in late August. The next day PFC James Fritsch was also wounded. PVT Eugene Creekmore of Co B, who had been wounded on the 14th, was killed in action on July 17th, the first fatality experienced by the 110th Medical Battalion in Europe. On July 20th, SGT Cesario Diosdado of Company A was awarded the Silver Star for actions near St. Lo, as was Private Norbert Bartch, while Privates John Cadamatre, Henry Lubbers, Chester Zaleski, and Joseph Toth were awarded Bronze Stars. Private Bartch was wounded that same day, while Sgt Diosdado was wounded on the 22nd.
        On the 16th of July the 35th Division continued its advance on St. Lo. In the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Lt. Halley Dickey, already wounded once, was wounded while trying to rescue on of his men from a minefield. A Major Weyand heard of Dickey's plight and immediately got some medical men with a litter and went over to where Dickey lay. They put him on the litter, the previously wounded soldier having already been evacuated, and began walking back to their own lines, Major Weyand alongside. It was then when a terrible explosion occurred, one of the litter bearers had tripped an S-mine, the deadly "Bouncing Betty". Only the Major walked away, Lt. Dickey and one of the medics (a 134th Infantry medic) were killed.
        That day, around twilight, word came back to the Battalion Aid station that there were some wounded men in a knocked-out tank about a thousand yards from the front. The tank was still exposed to enemy fire. Immediately Edward Thill, a technician with the 3rd Battalion Medical Detachment, volunteered to go get them. Without allowing time for any refusal he jumped into his jeep and "took off". Once a Milwaukee taxicab driver, "Mouse" Thill now drove his jeep with as much disregard to mines and enemy fire as he would have given to yellow traffic lights. Two consideration demanded speed: to get the wounded men back to the aid station as quickly as possible and to limit the time of exposure to enemy fire. Thill felt no reluctance to apply speed. Flying a Red Cross over the hood, the jeep sped down the road until it neared the tank. Thill raced to the tank and was able to extract the two wounded men. He got them into the jeep, and half-standing, half-sitting on the back of the seat he came roaring back with his precious cargo. This feat won a Silver Star for Thill. His work was typical of the medics. All of them had won a high regard for themselves from the doughboys. This regard was especially high for the company aid men- one for each rifle platoon when they were fortunate enough to be at full strength- who, unarmed, went along with the rifle platoons and crawled from one wounded man to another to administer first aid; and for the litter teams who came up to carry the wounded to safety.
        In the first weeks of combat, the collecting companies usually operated  four-man litter teams, going out and retrieving the seriously wounded. The hedgerows presented great difficulty, as the stretcher-borne patient had to be lifted over the hedgerows, with the parameters of being under fire from the enemy and trying to be careful not to further injure the already wounded man all the while. As casualties mounted, situations dictated that it wasn't always a four-man team that would go out. One did whatever one had to do, in order to get the job done. The GIs had arrived in France wearing long underwear (in July, for whatever reason), and between the heat and exertion, most had lost a good deal of weight. Leon Cohen has commented that it was awfully tough to carry a stretcher over a hedgerow while trying to hold one's pants up! The collecting companies also operated ambulances, each company had ten ambulances when they arrived in France in July 1944.

                Bert Pratt-
                        "During the St. Lo affair, one of our ambulance drivers earned a well deserved decoration. During an intense 88 barrage at the aid station, a medic had his leg blown off and was bleeding very severely. Our boy went over to this man- even out in the open- and by holding the artery saved the boy's life."
                
        This may have been Sergeant Cesario Diosdado, a litter squad sergeant. See the decorations page below.       
        While Company A as a rule trailed the 134th Infantry Regiment, which initially was held back in Divisional Reserve during the first days in France, the high rate of casualties inflicted by the Germans dictated that Company A's personnel step in and assist the other two Collecting Companies.

                Henry Desmarais-
                        "St. Lo was to be our first exposure to combat. The medics were assigned in squads of four. Corporal Lvoncek, ________ [Possible Pvt Eugene Creekmore of Co B], Cadamatre and I were heading to the front lines. Corporal Lvoncek suggested that we walk in the ditch. ________ ran in first and the rest followed. We came to an intersection, and since he was first, he crossed the road and was crouching with his head just below the hedgerow. Shelling began, we remained in the ditch till the shelling stopped. We were about to cross the road when another shell hit the hedgerow and killed ____."
The Corporal said
                        ‘We're returning to our Company Headquarters and report the incident.'
                                
                Joe Zebrowski {written on a photograph}-
                        "Harry Moran and I lost five ambulances like this in combat with Co A. 110th Med. Bn."

                Henry Desmarais-
                        "In the area of St. Lo there were cow pastures with cows laying dead on their backs. I recall jumping a hedgerow and running from cow to cow to get across. I heard shots, and then a hissing sound and then the odor. I had no choice but to get away from that, I couldn't breathe."
                                                
                Leon Cohen:
                        "St. Lo- I remember vividly, it was in the center, I don't mean in the center of town but in the road that we would have had to traverse to evacuate people. What had happened was that may have been done by ambulance because of the road but a bomb had just blown out the whole road. We had to carry the guy on a wooden plank that they kind of set up to get him from the front to where he could be evacuated. I remember every time hoofing across the plank ‘Are we gonna be able to get the guy across?" It was no more than a narrow thing It was a two man operation, there was no room for four One guy is walking with his hands behind looking ahead."
                
        On July 19, 1944 St. Lo finally fell. Company A was headquartered up the road at Emelie, about a mile from town. St. Lo itself was 95% destroyed. There would be little or no time to rest, as the Division moved on to it's next objective.
        On the 25th of July, the was a dramatic 2500 bomber air strike on German lines behind the St. Lo-Marigny road in preparation for a breakthrough. Some of the bombs were sadly dropped onto American troops, and Company A personnel were involved in treating and evacuating these men.

                Warren West-  ".. The aid station set up after the Infantry entered St. Lo. {This was at a winery}... the 

Tec5 Warren West

winery {was} at the bottom of a hill.... the 3rd Battalion of the 134th Infantry had its CP there. It was a steep walk up the hill in the rain the next day when we left St. Lo, not to re-enter until about July 25th or 26th after the 3000 plane bombing raid.
                        "At that time we rode as far as the cemetery in our ambulances and carried for the mile or so from the west side of the Vire River back to the cemetery where the ambulances took the wounded to "A" Collecting Company".

        On the 27th a series of attacks commenced that took the Division in the direction of Torigni-sur-Vire.
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "We were told that the Air Force would boom them if they didn't surrender. The next day at 8:00 AM the first vee formation of planes were overhead bombing the area. The bombing started at 8:00 and continued till 4:00 PM."
                        "Some German soldiers with rifles and grenades surrendered. Most of them were not wounded but were shell shocked. You could see blood come from their ears because of concussion."

                Robert Roden-
                        "I met [my] brother after St. Lo fell. He was with the 28th Division, A whole story here. I was put in for a silver star at St. Lo along with [Steven] Tippy Vasil. It isn't any wonder they started shooting medics, those of us that went up to Hill 122 carried B.A.R.s wrapped up in litters."
        By Saturday, July 29th, Company A had moved itself to a site 1/4 mile NE of a village called Gosville.          
        For the first weeks, the young men of Co A operated under a false sense of security, wearing the Red Cross painted on their helmets and arm-bands, as the Germans they encountered did not fire directly on medical personnel, the main hazards were mortar fire and artillery.  This all changed one Sun-day in July, BLOODY SUNDAY, as those in Company A came to refer to it, outside of a town called Torigni-sur-Vire.

                Leon Cohen:     
                        There's a guy out there, you gotta go and get them, that's what we're here for. And we just went up and walked out there, and the idea was RED CROSS and we're gonna be safe. I didn't think about that I was thinking about getting the guy. And we walked out there the litter team four guys straight up and we brought ‘em back, next case. Then there was Bloody Sunday. We were operating before that, at least I was, with the delusion that ‘Hey, look we got arm-bands, we got Red Cross  helmets, they can't touch us. It's a horrible thing, war is terrible, we got a job to do, let's get on with it'. The first thing was ‘Mortars Don't Have Eyes'. Right after that ‘Snipers Do'. Off went the went the Red Crosses.

        Leon Cohen and three other men had been out all day, bringing in the wounded. On the last trip they made, a German sniper took a shot at their team, fortunately missing them. Upon returning to the aid station, he report-ed the incident. There was one more casualty that had to be brought in, how-ever. As Cohen's team was obviously all in, another stretcher team was sent out, sadly never to return. They had taken a direct hit from an 88 or a mortar shell, and apparently the Germans had started shooting at the aid-men in earnest, because an order was sent out and all the aid-men in the Division painted over the red crosses on their helmets and discarded with their arm bands.  As far as I've been able to determine, this is the only Division in the ETO to have done this. Company A lost 2 men killed (Privates Joseph Toth and Chester Zaleski, both from NJ) and 5 wounded that day. For a further account of "Bloody Sunday", look to the excerpt from Captain James A. Huston's book BIOGRAPHY OF A BATTALION, which has been included.
                
                Leon Cohen-
                        "On Bloody Sunday, that sunken road I don't think it was as wide as this room and they were lobbing those shells.... they were able to lob those things with phenomenal accuracy.

     Arthur Debowe-   "I was an ambulance driver. They sent us towards a little town to pick up four casualties. It was 

PFC Arthur DeBowe

behind a hill. We backed up on the road and a shell hit next to the truck. The assistant ambulance driver, Charlie Thomas, was hit by shrapnel in the heel, and I was hit in the shoulder and the side. We had been loading the casualties onto the truck when it happened."         

        Also wounded that day from Company A were PFC Joe Potash and Private Charles Mastin.

 Leon Cohen-    "With regard to the issue of Bloody Sunday, and the Red Cross on our helmets, the order came down to remove them about a day after or shortly after Bloody Sunday....... We were just worn out, were hauling casualties... the troops had advanced ahead of us and were obliged to retreat.. And they pulled back but there were wounded a couple of hedgerows up and we had to go up and we were haling them back. The guys who were with me on this thought it was going to be our last trip as we had cleaned up the whole area. There were two casualties left, we were walking and stooping low, shielded by the hedgerow. We still believed that we were invulnerable that the Germans honored the Geneva Convention as we were walking I had the sense that a bullet whizzed by...
                        "I had an experience like that before. The first or second day we were out in the field. I asked the next morning "Did you hear that?" and everybody around said they heard it. My feeling was that it was difficult to localize where it came, how close it was, but it sure sounded like it whizzed by...
                        "On this day I experienced the same thing. We go out and get the next to the last casualty, these guys had both been machine gunned in the legs and couldn't move. We bring the one guy down, and we were just worn out. The regimental aid station sent a couple of people who worked there, actually 3 to pick up the last casualty. I told them where, how to get where this casualty was, and told them when you get to this place I thought I heard a bullet, watch yourself. We get back, those three guys took off, we got into the station ambulance with the next to the last casualty and we are there just a short time we hear that a mortar shell had hit a litter with 4 of our guys and it rocked us. The idea was
                                ‘Hey you could get killed up here.'       

"Up to this point what the excitation was ‘Hell's bells, it's a hard job, but they respected the Geneva Convention'. We'd go out there, there was a job to be done, you go out, you walk straight out right in the middle....  they could have spat on us and killed us it was that kind of thing. In the hedgerow business, they were there, we are back here, so you walk out and get the guy. That sort of reinforced the notion that we were OK. This episode really rocked us. I don't know who it was... four of our people were killed, we were really traumatized. Apparently it was only two, but the news we got, it was that it was four. We get back, and we're really shook up, crying and so on. Two of the three guys come back, the third guy to whom I talked apparently had been shot by the sniper, the other two had the front of the litter. After that, the next day, off went the Red Crosses.
                
                Bert Pratt-   In my notes I have a story about PFC Cohen. Snipers were on the lookout for officers and high ranking non-coms. Consequently officers avoided "salutes" and removed their bars. Once in the field one of our officers was hailed by one of the boys, "Lt. Barber, Lt. Barber."      
                The Lieutenant replied, "You know better than to call me that out here."
                Cohen, thinking he meant lack of respect, shouted, "But I did call you 'lieutenant', sir."
                The Lieutenant whispered, "Sh, Sh. Don't call me ‘lieutenant'."
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "I remember ...... Lt. Barber. I saluted him one time, in the field, like you [Leon Cohen] did and he stayed away from me after that.

                John Cadamatre-
                        "Roden (Robert Roden of Corry PA) and I volunteered to go into ‘no-man's land' to bring someone out. This is before we really knew better. A bullet hit me in the canteen and passed right through it. I didn't know it till later when I went to get some water and it all came out."

                John Harakal:
                        "Joe Ben Lilly says that at one point when they were in Normandy, Woodward got captured and then he managed to get back. The Germans used them, Woodward and somebody else I think to haul the German wounded. And there was a tank commander with a machine gun with a machine gun making sure they did what they were supposed to do. Woodward said that he had this big scar all the way down his face and he was the meanest looking individual he had ever seen in his life. Apparently they let them go or they managed to get away. Shortly after that I hear Woodward, and they had got into this house somewhere, I hear Woodward and he's going nuts. Apparently, this was the house where this tank commander had lived or stayed with his wife. And there on the wall is a picture of this tank commander, and I go in there and Woodward's got this picture and he's jumping up and down on it ‘You no good this-that'.

                Joe Zebrowski-  
                        ‘The last time I was wounded was when a mine blew up under the ambulance I was in. It was a pressure mine, we were following a tank, and the tank ran over it, but when we went over it went off. It blew the back of the jeep off, if it had gone off up front I would have been killed for sure. The wounded in the back were wounded again"
        
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "I also recall that we had a fire at the rear of one the aid stations. Some Kraut lit the fire to give our location for the German artillery. Shells came in and someone said there's smoke coming in from somewhere and they discovered the fire, It was behind a barn, with the fire out the shelling stopped." 

German 75 mm Artillery

        After Torigni-sur-Vire fell, the 35th Division was assigned to General Patton's Third Army. They were on their way toward Avranches when they were "thumbed off the road" to Mortain and to relieve the 30th Infantry Division, where a Battalion of its 120th Infantry Regiment had become surrounded. On August 9th, replacements came to Company A from Company D, the Clearing Company. The new men were TEC5 Edward Milhouse, TEC5 Glenn Crowder, PFCs William Cook, Archie Johnson, Stanley Peterson and Manuel Ynigo.
        Captain Frederick Webster was awarded the Bronze Star for actions on August 8th, 1944 as well.
        Patton's Third Army, with the 35th Division covering it's southern flank, crossed France sometimes at the rate of 70 miles a day, giving the Germans a taste of blitzkrieg- American style. The order was to keep going until all gas was expended, and that was just what they did, coming to a halt near Verdun and the Meuse River.  Company A passed through Le Mans on the 14th of August, and reached Aix-en-Othe on the 29th. They stayed in that vicinity for about 10 days. While there, Captain Evans Hornberger joined Company A, having transferred from Company C on September 1st. There was a visit from the Red Cross, a chance to see a movie for some, but it was not to last, of course. During the drive TEC5 Grover Beck was wounded, on the 20th, near Jaunville. He returned to duty on September 1st.
        Crossing France after the breakout, the men of the 110th met with enthusiastic greetings from the French civilian population.  
        
                Bert Pratt-
                        "It was customary for the French in the small villages to wave greetings to our vehicles and yell the names on the side of them.
                                'Vive la Lorraine
                                Vive la Mary
                                Vive la Mabel'
                        Soon a vehicle went by with the customary antifreeze container, Prestone 44, on the side. As usual the crowd yelled
                                'Vive la Prestone!'"    
        
        There is a picture of medics from the 70th Infantry Division driving a jeep named "The Penis Machinist". One can only imagine how the French handled that one!                                  
        Leon Cohen had a pretty good command of his high school French, and a working knowledge of German, as his parents and neighbors spoke mostly in Yiddish. He often served as an interpreter, along with a fellow aid-man from Massachusetts, Henry Desmarais. Two PFCs from the mess section, John Fetzer, a naturalized citizen of German extraction, and Joe Potash, who had come to the US from Poland in 1939, also served as interpreters.
        On August 24th, the 35th Division took Montargis, and their was a brief respite in the fighting, Privates Cohen and Desmarais had a few hours to take in the town. This was their first opportunity to really interact with the French people, which they did by wandering into a tavern and singing Les Marseillaise with the citizenry, in French, of course!

                Leon Cohen-
                        "In Montargis we [Henry and I] got a pass. We walk around and are led by a couple of Frenchman into a bar and we sang Le Marseillaise with them. It was a tremendously moving experience."
                  
                        "We were out after Montargis in a rural area and we see two farmers. Henry goes over and Henry said ‘Cherchon de femme por nettez las pisset da la cu". These guys broke up. It was so funny to them. What he was saying in his patois French literally ‘We are looking some women to put the penis in the vagina". They broke up, it must have been the funniest thing these farmers had ever heard..... (Henry sort of forgot about this)... you don't learn those words in French in school so I didn't know them."

        The next time Privates Cohen and Desmarais went wandering off might not have had such a happy ending.

                Leon Cohen-
                        "I could tell you about me and Desmarais [in Nancy]. We end up in a hospital, that had been evacuated. That night, Henry and I, I don't know if it was authorized, we took off and we were looking for cherchez la femme, we were looking for girls! Henry spoke patois, dialectical French, his parents were French-Canadian, and I spoke French I learned in school, Parisian French. What had occurred was that the Germans had withdrawn from the western side of Nancy to the eastern side, we strolled over to the eastern side and it got a little too hot for us.
                        It was a tremendous experience, riding into Nancy and the people were on the street cheering and saying ‘You've done it again'. We were thinking ‘What have we done?"
         [The US Army and the 35th Division had liberated Nancy in WWI].
        
        While Nancy fell on the 15th of September, mostly without a fight, their were casualties. Sergeant Michael Crispi was wounded that day, but was able to return to active duty on the 18th. Prior to getting there, however, the 35th Division had to fight its way across the Moselle River. On the 9th of September, 2nd Battalion of the 134th Infantry crossed the then intact bridge at Flavigny. The Germans counterattacked in strength, the Headquarters group of 2nd Battalion was operating in a culvert beneath the approach to the bridge, aid-men working along with them. At 1:30 AM on the 10th, a shell perhaps caused a pre-planted charge to explode, and the bridge for most purposes went up. The Second Battalion was cut off, and casualties were very high.
        The next few days were spent trying to get across the Moselle. Nancy fell on the 15th of September.
        After Nancy, the fighting was very hard, as the Germans put up strong resistance. Company A was in St. Max on the 18th, and on the move again. There was heavy fighting at the Pain de Sucre, known as Sugarloaf Hill.  PFC Robert Roden was wounded on the 20th, but was able to return the same day. Company A was in Lay St. Christophe on the 23rd, Bouxieres on the 24th, and on 27th they reached the town of Bioncourt.

Bioncourt Buggy Ride- From left to right; Cyril Tworek, Louis Beelart, 
Riding in the buggy, left to right: Joe Ben Lilly, George Pickett, Wilburn Bryant

 The 35th was heavily involved again, in the Foret de Gremercy. PFC Joseph Forte was wounded on the 30th of September, and was also awarded the Bronze Star for actions that day, along with PFC Raymond Wittman. Sgt Louis Beelart was also wounded that day. The Germans made several strong counter-attacks that day and the 134th Infantry Regiment took many casualties. A tank attack by forces from the 6th Armor Division saved the day, and then the division went into a static position for the next few days.
        Company A remained headquartered in Bioncourt till the 9th of October, and by the 18th of October had reached Pettoncourt. On the 10th of October Captain Stephen Peabody transferred to joined Company A from Company D. The Division went on the defensive for a spell, while the Third Army rebuilt its supplies of gasoline, men and materials. This would last until the 9th of November.
        During this period of intense fighting, there were many events and sights that left impressions that have lasted a lifetime, and in my opinion, should be passed on to future generations.
                
                Robert Roden-
                        "The first night [In France] someone had brought back three prisoners. A [GI] paratrooper came and shot them down. He said he did it for ‘Jack' [His buddy.... the Germans had killed and mutilated his body]."

                Leon Cohen-
                        "One was upon coming across the body of a dead GI, and finding that his person had been looted. A picture lay beside his body of his wife and child, and a thought passed that someone was waiting for this fellow who would never come back. That personalized the war for me. Another is of when the Hitler Youth attempted a final attack across the Elbe River at the end of the war, and these children were cut to pieces by our fire."
                          "There were times when we were so worn out that we would plop down wherever and I had a corpse for a pillow. I had my head elevated and so it was a dead GI, ok? That kind of thing, what on one hand might be understood as fearless, if that's the definition, on the other hand may be how I kind of approach things. There was a job to be done, you got to rest, ok so look you get your rest, this is there, you press your head on it, so you get on with it."       

                "I found myself back in the collecting company. I don't have many memories of this I was always up the other end up front, not back. I may have brought a guy back, and they bring in a guy who had been in the invasion of North Africa. He had what was called combat fatigue then and was returned to active duty and here he was now in Normandy and was just a done man. He was being groomed to go back, I think it was maybe the third or the fourth time, it had happened a couple of times before, he was waiting for transportation. Not far from where we were there was an artillery battalion, and they started firing. This guy just broke down again. At what point do you recognize that enough is enough. At least three and maybe even more times they ferried him back to the from lines. The notion was and there was a rationale for this that if a guy becomes emotionally.. That he can live with this that it provided a fertile ground for it to become a long term problem, and the idea was to get him back to the front so he can get caught up. This may have been a reasonable theory to operate on but in this instance this isn't the first time, second time, the third time, or the fourth time, how many times?  That's one memory."   
                        "As we kind of went on, in Hilfarth, the tank destroyer battalion that had been assigned to the division was replaced by a tank destroyer battalion that had been with the 91st Infantry [Division] in Italy, which was a Black outfit. There were casualties from stepping on these pencil mines. I was in the battalion. aid station, and we had brought in from a concentration camp Poles who had been liberated on stretchers. They were the living image of what you see as Holocaust Survivors, skeletons. We wind up in the station, and was talking to them when they bring in a black guy. So I went over and talked to him He told me that the GIs rode on the backs of the tanks. It had been pretty clear sailing. They came a town and hear sniper fire, and a GI is hit. They stopped and they looked and the only thing they see is a woman holding a baby in a bombed out ruins of this building. The gun carriage just blew the whole damned thing away. What was the role, was their any justification for this, the way he described this the woman was standing with a child in her arms, but they didn't know and it [the fire] came from that direction."
                "He told me also what life was going to be like when the war was going to be over and things had simmered down. They had some prisoners and they lined them up, and the guy comes around wheels the tank around and tests [his machine gun] on one. Those guys are lined up like this, and he fires on one, then the rest."
                     

        "I remember vividly I thought at the time ‘What the hell is going on. This is war it's horrible and so on but how the hell could you do something like that.'"

                Henry Desmarais-
                        "The GIs that were picked up by graves registration were always treated with respect. The German dead would be thrown in the truck and if a leg or arm hung over the side they would push it back into the truck.
                        I went to Graves registration once, it was December; it was cold and the German bodies were stacked in layers of 6 high in rows as far as the eye could see. A dirt road between the rows allowed trucks to pass through. We had row upon row of dead Germans. The GIs were laid on a litter and bagged for shipment."
 
                Robert Roden-
                        "We were also one of the first group at Gardalegen where the Germans had massacred thousands of Jews (Oh what a sight and smell I will never forget).

        These are pretty horrible things, but with pride and no small sense of wonder I can say that my father and the rest of the men of the 35th Division saw it through, and saw that "the job got done".                   

Sergeant Michael Crispi's response to all of this is in many ways quite understandable -        

Sgt. Michael Crispi

"I saw too many good young men die, and I don't ever want to talk about it  again".  

                Robert Roden-
                        "I also agree with Sgt. Mike Crispi who got his promotion on battlefield due to his outstanding leadership under stressful circumstances. However since our mission was to help, it helps me to talk about some of the happenings (I live a lot of them over).
                        "I came out of the war an alcoholic. _____ _____ and I used to drink 5 Star Cognac and keep going to see who could drink the most."
                        
        Robert Roden turned away from alcohol and tobacco on May 15, 1960. He later "received an audible call" to serve God and is today the Reverend Robert Roden. Much of his activity has been centered about serving Native American youth on the reservations, where alcoholism has taken a terrible toll over the years.

                Robert Roden            
                        "Everything that happened to me happened for a purpose"

                Leon Cohen-
                        "That's been my approach to this. It's a happening, it's out there I participated in this but I keep it at arms length. If you allow the stuff to get to you [it will] and its highly understandable why it should because its absolutely horrible."

        Besides combat, the men had to deal with conditions such as bad weather, monotonous food in the form of C and K rations, and a lack of sanitation, as they were in the field for weeks at a time. But with typical American ingenuity, our men found a way around, over, and through these circumstances.

                John Cadamatre-
                        "We didn't get anything but K rations for a while. We got to a place call Aix-en-Othe [This would be between 29 Aug 44 and 3 Sep 44 - PMC] and a shop was open, selling croissants. I was with Bob Roden, and when we went near the shop we could hear chickens cackling from behind the building. We decided to get a chicken.
                        I went into the shop and brought a croissant for $2.00, while Roden went around back and got two chickens. You should have seen them stuffed up under his field jacket just flapping away. We went down the road, got some water, and cooked them in our helmets. Ate them before the feathers came off, and it was the best chicken we had ever had"

                  Leon Cohen-
                        "At Bioncourt, Bud Hedden, who had been a cow puncher, caught and butchered a pig. We had roast pig that day....  A real feast!"   
                
                 Joe Zebrowski-
                        "We would catch wild rabbits, and Sgt. Tworek would cook them on the mess truck."
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "We were near Bastogne. Sergeant Tworek, our cook, said kill some deer and we'll feed everyone. They brought 3 deer, hung them from branches and he butchered and cooked them. I don't remember if was stew or whatever you call it, Company A cooks served meals to about 400 men.
                        "I remember a Frenchman with his horse about 30 feet away tie the rope around a dead German body and drag him to his farm. I think the hogs ate him. I don't eat pork to this day."
                
                Mrs. Ralph Schmidt (Ralph served in Co C)-
                        "...the roads were often blocked by trees, trucks, and carcasses of dead horses, from which the hungry French Civilians had cut chunks of flesh to eat. Very often Ralph and his buddies would get food from the French country-side, many times it was potatoes from which they made potato soup using cheese from their rations. Swede [David Q.] Johnson showed them how to make this. They used canned heat for their stove. If they couldn't swipe fresh eggs from a Frenchman's chicken coop they would get powdered eggs from the mess truck to cook with. One night they sent Lee Ligon out to steal some chickens from a French chicken house and he brought back old hens instead of young fryers- Ralph said you could tell he was from the city! He said that anything was better than their rations."

        On November 8th, 1944 the 35th Division began its drive through Lorraine and the Saar region.  The weather was very bad, and it made conditions for the medics of the 110th difficult. During the hedgerow fighting in July it took on the average 22 minutes to evacuate a casualty form the field to the battalion aid station. During the fighting in Lorraine this was increased six-fold. Because of the weather conditions and flooded low grounds it was impossible to keep supplies coming regularly. It was nearly impossible for the ambulances and medical jeeps to get near to the wounded. The litter haul was long and back-breaking.  
        There was hard fighting all the way. On the way towards a town called Bellange, Sgt Harley A Palmer won the Bronze Star. SGT Junior Spurrier of the 2nd Battalion, won the Congressional Medal of Honor at Achain, there was a terrific struggle to take the Rougemont, or Red Hill on Armistice Day, November 11th, known as "Blue Monday". PFC Richard Boyer was injured that day. After a very difficult fight, Morhange fell on the 16th of November. SGT Michael Crispi was wounded for the second time that day. During this period the weather was horrendous, and many soldiers suffered from trench foot and frostbite. Adequate footwear had not reached the front-line troops, for some reason an order had come down not to wear overshoes.... it was a bad situation. The proper solution, the ‘shoepacs' that had been available during the West Virginia mountain maneuvers, were nowhere to be found.
        The next objective would be Puttelange and the Saar River.
                
        On the 23rd the 110th Medical Bn was headquarters in Diffembach. Thanksgiving was spent their. Thanksgiving Dinner where possible was provided by Sgt Tworek and his mess truck, hot turkey, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, fruit cocktail, cookies and hard candy.

                Mrs. Ralph Schmidt-
                        "Ralph remembers eating their Thanksgiving dinner while sitting on a pile of manure while it was raining. They were thankful for even temporary things- they lived from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour."
        
        On November the 25th PFC Joe Zebrowski and TEC5 Harry Moran were wounded when their ambulance hit a mine. They both returned to duty promptly. On December 1st the 134th Infantry Regiment and Company A were in St. Jean Rohrbach. Where preparations were made for a new attack on Puttelange, and to cross the Saar River. The attack was made in the darkness across the swollen Maderbach River at 5:00 AM on the morning of December 4, 1944
                
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "It was in the early morning hours, with a bright moon shining that we were told no smoking, no talking, and no noise. No one knew  that the Germans had flooded the lowlands by damming a stream between us and them. The flooded area was about 200 feet wide. The bridge leading into the town was destroyed (we found that out after the battle). The infantry went on ahead, No shots were fired, we didn't know anything, we followed one another to the edge of the water and waded across. I remember the water was deep and I had difficulty trying to get a foot hold on the other side of the flooded brook edge. I had to swim about 30 feet. Luckily someone gave me a hand and I continued. We had no casualties, captured a German officer and all his men. I heard afterwards that bayonets were to used if necessary."
        
                Capt James F Huston 3rd Bn 134th Infantry-
                        "Quietly and without the benefit of artillery preparation, the attacking battalions moved out in the 5 o'clock darkness. Attacking across the left, the 2nd battalion waded across the abnormally deep river, and moved rapidly to capture the high ground on the northeast of the town. Achieving complete surprise, its men captured several Germans asleep in their foxholes, and suffered only one casualty; they were on their objective by 6 o'clock.
                        Meanwhile on the right, the first battalion improvised a foot bridge over a blown out flood control gate. Company A crossed and assaulted Puttelange from the south while Company C moved into the town from due west. The result was complete surprise: German officers were captured in bed, while others were shot while they fled from their quarters barefooted. The battalion had one officer and two men wounded, and one man killed. It speedily occupied Puttelange."

        It was on to the Saar River, and a town called Sarreguemines.           On the December the 8th the 134th Division attacked across the Saar River at a town called Sarreinsming. The crossing was accomplished and Sarreinsming was cleared of the enemy by noon. On the 9th the bridgehead was expanded. There were several German counterattacks. TEC4 Edward Milhouse, PFC Robert Roden and PFC Warren West were awarded the Bronze Star for their actions that day. Milhouse was wounded, and did not return to the Company until March of 1945. PFC Henry Lubbers was wounded the next day.
        On the 11th the 134th Regiment moved to the Blies River, opposite Habkirchen.

                Captain James F Huston-
                        "Dec. 12.... "Third Army troops crossed the Blies River into Germany and took Habkirchen, four miles northeast of Sarreguemines"- The World Almanac, 1945, page 104
                        Behind that statement lay one of the bitterest local battles of the war"

        Habkirchen was defended by fanatical SS troops of the 17th SS Division, and lay on the far side of the icy and fast moving Blies River, in pre-war Germany, ‘the Fatherland". Fierce resistance was expected, and received. An attack was launched using inflatable boats, this ran into difficulties, and several men drowned when there boats were swept away by the swift current. Only parts of a few companies of 1st Battalion were able to make it across, and these were badly cut up by a German counterattack. The Third Battalion was unable to cross at all, initially. At one point the Americans were down to 21 men led by Captain William Denney holed up in a large building with 65 German prisoners against of 300 SS infantry supported by tanks. American artillery pounded the Germans and preserved the fragile bridgehead. The 3rd Battalion was able to cross on the 13th of December. Bitter house to house fighting developed within Habkirchen, but little was being gained or lost except for men's lives.


                Capt James F Huston-
                        "At one point on the 13th, an informal truce developed, and there was a cessation of hostilities while German and American medical men worked side by side to pick up their wounded. Aid men would carry wounded of the 1st and 3rd Battalions to the river where others would put them on an engineer boat flying the Red Cross flag; litter teams would pick them up and carry them to the aid station."
        
        They would then be transported to the Clearing Company's aid station.
        The fighting was very costly, by the 16th the 3rd Battalion was down to 101 men and 7 officers. After a difficult 5 day fight the situation stabilized. SGT Michael Crispi was awarded the Bronze Star for actions on December 12, 1944. TEC3 William Colburn and PFC Frank Bonavita joined Company A on December 13rd, and PFC Edwin Konkol joined on the 15th.
        On the 21st  of December, 1944 Co A 110th Medical Battalion had pulled back and relocated to Puttelange along with other 35th Division elements. There would be no rest, however. The Germans had attacked in the Ardennes Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge was on.                      
        .
        Christmas 1944 was spent in Metz. Patton moved his entire army, and the Division covered 85 miles in 36 hours. John Cadamatre was injured and left the unit that night.
        Company A's litter squad was billeted at a chateau. There was a big wood or coal-fired stove in the room, and the heat in the room had become oppressive. John opened the stove and poured cold water into it. This was a mistake, as the steam came back out and burned him pretty badly. As the Clearing Company's station section as well as Company A's station section were closed and packed up for the move, PFC Cadamatre eventually ended up back in England, where he was in hospital for 3 months. Upon release from medical care, he was transferred to a 9th Air Force station hospital, where he served out the rest of the war.     

                Henry Desmarais-
                        "We attended the midnight Mass and we were on our way to the Battle of the Bulge. I remember that it was a few hours of driving and noticed large letters in a bridge abutment saying WELCOME 35th DIVISION. I also noticed the sign KILROY WS HERE. I think he was about everywhere in Europe."
        
        On the 27th the 35th attacked across the Sure River, advanced 4 miles and captured 3 towns. The 35th was stretched out between Lutrebois and Harlange, and were attacked time and again by tanks and infantry of the 1st SS Panzer Division. There was very heavy fighting at Villers-la-Bonne-Eau, Marvie, Lutrebois and Harlange. On the 28th the 35th helped break through to the encircled 101st Airborne at Bastogne. On January 8, 1945, Joe Zebrowski and Harry Moran had another ambulance blown out from under them and were both slightly wounded. During the course of the war Moran and Zebrowski 5 ambulances ... is that a record?
        The stress of being in combat for extended periods could be unbearable. As stated above, some men turned to alcohol. Others simply could not cope. At least one man was sent home due to combat exhaustion, now called post-traumatic stress syndrome. Whatever you determined to call it, it was and is a reality that people have an individual, limited capacity for coping, and some men simply reached their limits. One man, who had been a dark-haired 200 plus pound fellow when he landed in France, was a skinny grey haired man by the time St. Lo fell. It was just that bad. There would be incidents.


                Warren West-
                        "Wilburn Schnarr saved my life once. Our squad was asleep in this building, and _________ came in drunk and said,
                        ‘I'm gonna kill you, West.'
                        Schnarr came up from behind and grabbed his arms and stopped him"

        Many times it would be a one time thing. One man who served with distinction from the time of landing in France right through into Germany got drunk in Germany, near the end of the war, and said "I'm not going [any further]". After awhile, he calmed down and went on to further distinguish himself. Needless to say, it was a widespread problem that the Army and in the years after the war addressed by including psychological and psychiatric programs and personnel in their operations. Often a man was assigned other duties when it was determined that he'd had enough.
 
                Henry Desmarais-
                        "Bastogne, a large railroad center with the Germans about ½ mile away near the railroad station. Few shots were fired from them or by the infantry. They were as frozen as we were and trying to get away. The snow was deep and the temperature was below freezing. All I can remember is seeing burning German tanks, trucks, and other vehicles and dead Germans and GIs. I brought in several GIs with frozen feet. I carried them on my back until I could reach help. Most of the wounded GIs had frozen feet. The aid station was about 300 feet from the railroad station."
                        "I recall sleeping in a house used an aid station, I didn't know the room I was in was the morgue. I heard moaning and wondered who it was. I found out, and had the Sergeant help carry him to the exam room. They gave him plasma and he was talking and asked for a cigarette."

        The American forces launched their counterattack on the 9th of January and after a few days of bitter fighting the Germans were routed with heavy losses. There was bitter fighting in and near Lutrebois. The picture of 35th Division Medics Evacuating Casualties at Lutrebois was taken January 10th. The next day, TEC4 William Burstyne was wounded when his squad came under fire from German machine-gunners, while Company A was headquartered at Warnach. Where during the fighting in Normandy, Graves Registration recorded the percentage of German dead to American at roughly 5 to 1, after the fighting around Lutrebois in mid-January the percentage was almost 8 to 1. By the 17th of January the Battle of the Bulge was over.
        The 134th Infantry Regiment, and Co A of the 110th Medical Battalion in support, was attached to the 6th Armored Division. Advancing through waist-deep snow drifts, late January saw them advancing towards the Our River, and in a pre-dawn attack took the town of Kalborn on the 29th. This eliminated the last of the German gains made in their December attack,

       On February 1st, the 134th Infantry Regiment moved to Holland to rejoin the 35th Division. Company A headquartered in Cadier, Holland until February 5th, when they moved to Gangelt, Germany. On the 10th  the Company was at Geilenkirchen, where it stayed till the 26th. On the 25th of February, Lt. Weisman, who commanded the Ambulance platoon, was transferred to 9th Army headquarters. His place was taken by Sergeant Schwader, who won a "battlefield promotion" to 2nd Lieutenant. This became official on 10 April 1945. Preparations were being made for an advance across the Roer River. The objective would be Hilfarth. Hilfarth was heavily fortified, it's defenses being a part of the Siegfried Line, included barbed wire, mine-fields, and pill boxes. Much of February was taken up in preparing for this assault. The Division had its Tank Battalion replaced at this point with a Black outfit, the 784th Tank Battalion.
        During this period the medical detachments gave special attention to the health of the command, as a few cases of jaundice, mumps, and measles developed. Their was additional training in the prevention of trench foot and venereal disease. A new foot ailment "shoepac foot" appeared, attributed to the failure of the men to daily change their felt inner soles. On February 24th the shoepacs where available were replaced by combat boots.
        Although their was no combat during this period, enemy artillery was still a factor, and the V1 "Buzz Bombs" made their appearance. PFC Joe Ben Lilly was wounded on February 19th.
          Then it was back into it. On the 25th, the attack on Hilfarth began. The Germans had time to prepare; the Associated Press report of February 26th (reprinted in the SANTA FE EXPRESS of May 1945) called it "the worst  nest of mines which the Americans have had to cross for two months."
        Included in this volume is a picture of a footbridge across the Roer. Company K of the 3rd Battalion started across at 8:00 AM and minutes later its men were cleaning out some scattered buildings on the opposite side. Just as Company L was starting across, the First Sergeant of Company K, ahead, was hit; immediately one of the medics with "L"- Corporal Almon N. Conger- rushed forward to help him. Too busy and excited to be mindful of the continuing fire, he continued to work with his patient- and presently a sniper's bullet wounded him; afterwards "at least nine doughs" told him that "they got him" (the sniper). Conger, from Tacoma WA,  received a Distinguished Service Cross for his heroism.
        While opposition was not absent, casualties were relatively light, and the advance was swift. On the 26th Hucklhoeven fell, on the 27th Wassenberg. Company A's headquarters moved accordingly. This phase of operations completed, the next move was to Venlo, Holland. Venlo was liberated on the 2nd of March, and the Dutch gave the 35th Division an enthusiastic reception,  waving orange flags. The 35th linked up with British troops for the first time that day. The Company moved to Stadt Straelen on the 3rd, and spent the next three days headquartered at Nieukirk.
        On March 7th, 1945 Company A was in Sevelen, Holland. ON this day Company Commander Frederick Webster was wounded for the second time, along with Captain Evans Z Hornberger Jr. To replace them, Captain James McDermott, who had been with the Company briefly, and Captain Ludwig Pyrtek were transferred in from the Clearing Company, Company D. Another tragedy struck Company A the next day when Private William Cook was accidentally shot to death while off duty. Fortunately, these would be the last casualties Company A would suffer during the war. The Wesel Pocket collapsed after 3 days of hard fighting, and March 10th found American troops on the Rhine River.
        There was a two week rest, during which time the Company was headquartered at Borholz. On March 24th, the Division jumped off, and rolled right across Germany, through towns such as Bergerhoff, Krevl, Hagenhof, Buer, and on April 2nd the Company was in Recklinghausen, Germany. This was urban fighting, and the resistance was fierce, although not always consistent. The Germans had spent their best in previous battles, and although they were defending "the Fatherland" now, the war had been won before the Rhine had been reached. It was time to mop up now.
        The Ruhr pocket was eliminated in fighting completed by the 12th of April. It was then that the Army learned of the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, a sad day. Besides dealing with the German Army, the duties of occupation were beginning to appear on the Army's agenda, also a great number of forced laborers from Russia and other countries were liberated, as well as many prisoners taken. On the April the 12th the 134th Infantry Regiment and its attached units were at Bochum, Germany, near Dortmund. The next three days would see them cover 230 miles and take their final position on the Elbe River, a scant 50 miles from Berlin. It is very arguable that had not political considerations been allowed, that the 35th Infantry Division and other American units could have very easily taken Berlin before the Russians. VE Day found the division closer to Berlin than any other American unit, along the Elbe River near Magdeburg.
        After hostilities ceased, the 35th Division went on occupation duty. The Medical Battalion was involved in supporting the infantry's mission, and also in helping the millions of civilian refugees, displaced persons, and concentration camp survivors. There was some time for recreation as well. Besides the opportunity for a pass and some sightseeing, the 110th had it's softball team. Managed by Ed McGrath, it included Tony Gengo, Leon Cohen, and Joe Zebrowski. Staff Sergeant Lawrence Friedlan was the catcher.
                                                                                                                   
                Ed McGrath-       "I took that team down to Coblenz and we lost 2-1. Friedlan used to catch and we had a 

Tec3 Edward E McGrath

snap-ball pitcher from Nebraska [TEC SGT Donald Prohaska according to Joe Zebrowski] who held them down pretty good. Your Dad [Leon Cohen] got our only run".
                
        The level of competition was pretty good, as that lone run came on a home run off of longtime major league pitcher Murray Dickson, who had a 20 year career in major league baseball.. The Army had a ballpark built in Coblenz, and their were also drill competitions as well. Several of the men were decorated with the Bronze Star for meritorious service over a period of time while in combat in June of 1945.

 Leon Cohen-  "I finally learned to drive while on occupation duty. I prevailed on somebody to let me get behind the wheel of a jeep. I remember making a turn too wide and smashing right into a German vehicle!"

        In July the Division moved to Rheims, France. The base was Camp Norfolk, more popularly known as Camp Lucky Strike, where the men were processed for the return to the USA. On the 18th of August it was on to England through the port of LeHavre.
                                
        The 35th Division returned home with on the Queen Mary, sailing from Southampton on September 5, 1945. They arrived in New York on the 10th, to crowds, photographers, and the press.

                Jack Schwab-
                        "Probably the most pleasant moment that I can remember was the morning of September 10th, 1945! It was about 8:00 AM and we were all standing on the decks of the Queen Mary coming into New York Harbor. As we approached the Statue of Liberty, Kate Smith sang "God Bless America" like it was coming up from her shoes! When we were right in front of it, the ships captain announced, "The Statue of Liberty!"
                        "There had to be 10,000 or more men standing there shoulder to shoulder and for a full 60 seconds you could have heard a pin drop!"

        Leon Cohen, Joe Zebrowski and many others were processed and discharged at Fort Dix, NJ. Joe & Leon took the train north, Joe getting off at Newark, Leon going on to Brooklyn. They shook hands and said good-bye.

        After the war, many of the men returned to their hometowns and stayed there. Others moved around the country, and pursued different careers paths. Having won a battlefield commission, Lt. William Schwader, made a career in the Army, retiring a Lieutenant Colonel. 1st Sergeant. Charles Putnam remained in the army, and several of the Nebraska men stayed on in the National Guard after the war, including Harley Palmer.
        Leon Cohen attended Brooklyn College and the  University of Michigan on the GI Bill.  His service to his fellow soldiers did not stop as he was employed for 30 years as a clinical psychologist at the Veterans Administration Hospitals in Topeka KS, Boston MA, and Philadelphia PA.
        Robert Roden went back to Corry PA and became a Reverend.
        Henry Desmarais went on to have a long and successful career as an engineer and designer for Raytheon Corporation.
        Bert Pratt returned to the University of Maine, and worked as an admissions officer for 27 years. He still resides near the school, in Bangor Maine.
        John Cadamatre, an accomplished musician on the accordion, led a dance band in North Jersey for many years, and now resides in Hackensack NJ
        Tony Gengo now lives in Islip Terrace NY..
        Warren West lives in Independence MO.
        Joe Zebrowski lives in Old Bridge, NJ, where he his very active in Veterans affairs. He retired as a maintenance worker for Sherwin-Williams Paint Co., and still works part time at St. Thomas Church in Old Bridge. A few years ago, he went back and visited Normandy beach and St. Lo.
        Michael Crispi lived in Sea Girt, NJ until his passing in the late 90's.
        Ed McGrath was a clothing buyer for a Minneapolis firm for many years, and lives in Minneapolis MN.
        Edwin Konkol returned to South Bend, IN, where he passed away a few years ago.
        Charles Putnam remained in the army, retiring after 30 years as a Master Sergeant. He passed away a few years ago.
        Merten Gruchow moved to California, where he still lives.
        Frank Bonavita returned to Roselle Park, NJ. He worked in the carpet business and in the construction business, before retiring and passing away a few months ago.
        Cyril Tworek, the mess sergeant, made a career out of "feeding the boys", working at Father Flanagan's BOYS TOWN, in Nebraska. He now lives in Omaha NE.
        Thomas Casto lives in Spokane, WA.
        Emil Kuck still resides in California.
        Arthur Debowe now lives in Nevada.
        Warren Schladenhauffen returned to his home in Indiana, where he still lives.
        Edward Milhouse became a Reverend and now lives in Illinois.
        Robert Washko now lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
        William Schwader remained in the Army, and retired as a Lt. Colonel. He lived for many years in Germany, near Stuttgart, before returning to the US in 1994 due to ill health. He passed away in North Carolina in 1996.
        Everett Brillhart set up a medical practice in Columbus, Nebraska in January of 1946.
        Jack Schwab returned to Red Wing MN, where he still resides.
        Frank Hebda settled in Santa Barbara CA after the war.
        Morris Selkow lived in Philadelphia and was in show business for many years before passing in the late 1980's.
        Fred Webster lost a foot when he was wounded in 1945. He left the Army a Major, practiced orthopedic medicine in Nebraska and engaged in cross country skiing on a competitive level till well into his 80's. He retired to Breckenridge CO where he can fish, hunt, and continues at age 85 to participate in competitive sports.
        Evans Hornberger passed away in December of 2000.
        
        On April 25th, 1997 in Freehold NJ, John Cadamatre, Leon Cohen, and Joe Zebrowski met again after over 50 years at the dedication of a Purple Heart Monument. Also in attendance were Henry Zaleski (brother of Chet Zaleski), John Harakal (nephew of Joe Toth), and Phil Cohen (son of Leon Cohen). Words cannot accurately describe the emotion of the day. Suffice to say that the bonds formed among these men in the 1940s are every bit as deep and strong today as they were then.
        See the photo section for pictures from that day.
                        (Yet to be published)