Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chronology of Bill in the War

Bill was born in Hamilton, Ohio on October 5, 1922. After completing high school on April 23, 1940 he got work in a nearby paper mill as a back tender until November, 1942. On November 7, 1942 he enlisted in the regular Army, but quite soon after he volunteered for the Airborne. He completed basic training at Camp Wheeler, Georgia and upon completion was transferred to attend paratrooper jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia. He graduated with his coveted silver ‘Jump Wings’ in February 1943.

Bill landed with the 82nd Airborne Division at Casablanca, French Morocco on May 10, 1943. He was transferred from his original company and assigned to Service Company 505 on May 26, 1943. He fought in the Sicily jump and invasion near Gela on July 9, 1943; the Salerno jump, near Paestum on the Italian mainland on September 13, 1943; the Normandy jump and invasion on June 6, 1944; and Operation Market Garden in Holland on September 17, 1944. Between December 1944 to February 1945, Bill served through numerous engagements and movements including among others: the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes; the Hürtgen forest; the Siegfried Line; and deep into northern Germany. His last engagement and one of the final assaults of the war was crossing the Elbe River on April 30, 1945. After victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945, the 82nd Airborne was reformed and sent to Berlin for occupation duty. During this time period, Bill was assigned to the 82nd Parachute Maintenance Company. The war was over, but not for Bill and his fellow paratroopers. In Berlin, he survived dangerous encounters with remnant Hitler Youth and out of control Russian troops. His occupation duty lasted from August 1 – November 1, 1945. He returned home on November 11, 1945 and was separated from the army on November 15 of the same year. After the war Bill made the difficult transition from a soldier to a civilian, taking his old job at the paper mill. Later he married and had a family.

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