My Father's War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers

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Following is a section of a detailed letter shared with me for the book, "My Father's War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers". These amazing brave men finally shared photos and stories not discussed in 7 decades. You're about to find out why.

“However, it wasn’t 24 hours before we jumped off. I will never forget it. The [Heinies] spotted us coming around the hill and started picking us off. Shells were landing everywhere as close as 5 yards from me. I was dazed but prayed like mad. I then spotted a hole in the ground, which probably saved my life, as three men behind me were hit. We took a beating that day. We dug in that night under fire. At 4 the next morning we took off or jumped off into the attack once again minus anything to eat or drink and minus sleep. That day we advanced 5 miles into the woods, flanking our objective, while other companies came in on the other sides. Again we were shelled continuously, one of my buddies was killed, two more wounded, all in my platoon. Soon we ran out of ammunition, had no water or food. There we dug in for two days hoping that Jerry didn’t see us, in the meantime one platoon of I Company [to] which we were attached started back for what we needed.
We were 3 days without food or water, our squad or rather what was left four out of seven drank water from the water jacket of our gun. Incidentally I’m still a machine gunner. I was assistant gunner at the time. But 18 hours later we heard our platoon coming back with rations and water. Soon after that we were relieved by another battalion. Whew, what a relief. They continued on the attack while we drew back a mile or so, dug in, and rested up for 2 days.

We lost a lot of men here; it was rough. Then we pulled out again to dig in and hold our lines while divisions on our right and left caught up to us. Now the bulge started and we transferred from the Seventh Army to the Third. Then we took off for the bulge, a day later we jumped off into the attack and drove the Jerry back after he had counterattacked on New Year’s Eve. We lost more of our buddies here out of my platoon, again I escaped. We took a major part in the bulge and were successful. It was rough in the Ardennes Forest attacking in the snow, digging in and sleeping there but we came out OK still pounding the [Heinies’] back.

The bulge being nearly over we took off for Luxembourg. There we felt the Jerry out for a week, trying to find out what he had across the river. Now we were relieved by [a] new division and sent back into what was left of the bulge. We jumped off again to town after town and drove into Germany, being under constant fire of Jerry. Lost a few men.
Now came the hard part, cracking the Siegfried Line. Our battalion spearheaded this drive and we pushed on. It was rough, we were shelled and fired upon continuously. We lost more men here. Our Second Platoon [was] practically wiped out. Our platoon lost a few men. Our squad was still in fair shape. Sergeant Paul DeVeccho, Frank and I, and Chuck Kovinsky were left. Here Paul was put in for the Silver Star for dragging “Red,” a kid in our squad, to safety after he was hit. Frank and I had many close ones again but escaped. Others weren’t as fortunate.
Now came the town I despise, Neundorf…”

Submitted by:
Charley Valera

About the author:
Charley Valera is the award-winning Author of "My Father's War: Memories from Our Honored WWII Soldiers". Valera and his 3 brothers knew their dad was a WWII veteran, but he never talked about it. Years after he died, Valera found out about his father's plights. Inspired knowing the Greatest Generation lived through their battles once, but kept them secret for decades, Valera set out to interview dozens of veterans to get "their stories". Their first-hand stories and rare photos are finally available for us to honor.

Web site:
http://www.charleyvalera.com

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