Heroes: the Army
"...Cpt. Hungate inquired as to how accurately the man was firing. The report was that it looked like he would be an Expert. Captain Hungate told them to let him qualify lefthanded..."
David E. Kettlewell
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. I., 406th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: S/Sgt.
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: MeMechen, WV
UNUSUAL MEN OF CO. I., 406TH
by David E. Kettlewell
Many times we are unaware of life changing opportunities that others decide in different ways that are not easily understood by some of us. Two such men were in Co. I, 406th.
In March 1944 tests to evaluate candidates for Medical School were given at Catholic University and other ASTP universities. At the same time ASTP was being disbanded for most to provide men for infantry divisions.
James Coleman was a successful candidate who could have gone to Medical or Dental School. Not James Coleman! Instead he decided to go with the men. Shortly after our first entry into combat Jim became 1st sergeant of Co. I.
After being discharged he went to Dental School and to help pay for that he returned to Service. While serving at a hospital in Denver, one day Jim recognized the 1st sergeant he had followed at Co. I.
Shortly after arriving at Camp Swift we went through Infantry Basic Training. When we were qualifying on the M1 it was required that left handed men learn to fire on the right. Our sergeant reported Robert C. Zimmerman to the Range Officer who, at that time, was Captain Hungate of Company K. Cpt. Hungate inquired as to how accurately the man was firing. The report was that it looked like he would be an Expert. Captain Hungate told them to let him qualify lefthanded.
Time passed. Sometime between Dec. 2-15, 1944 someone took a look at Bob's Medical Record and found that he was blind in his right eye. He was told that he could leave the "line" and go to the rear.
Very much like Jim Coleman, Bob decided to "remain with the men."
----- David E. Kettlewell
(Editor's note: Attempts were made throughout the text of the following story to place full names to the men listed in the story. For the most part, this is an educated guess and some names may very well be mistaken in their identy. The names were all taken from the division history book: With The 102d Infantry Division Through Germany, edited by Major Allen H. Mick. Using the text as a guide, associations with specific units were the basis for the name identifications. We are not attempting in any to rewrite the story. Any corrections are gladly welcomed.)
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
United States Army, 102nd Infantry Division
102 Infantry Division
History of the 102nd Infantry Division
Attack on Linnich, Flossdorf, Rurdorf - 29 Nov -- 4 Dec 1944
Gardelegen War Crime
Gardelegen: April 13, 1945:
Massacre at the Isenschnibbe Barn
American Battle Monuments Commission: WWII Honor Roll
National World War II Memorial
The above story, "Unusual Men of Co.I, 406th", by David E. Kettlewell, 406th, Co. I., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 51, No. 4, July/Sept., 1999, pp. 5.
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of the 102d Infantry Division Association, Ms. Hope Emerich, Historian. Our sincerest THANKS for the 102d Infantry Division Association allowing us to share some of their stories.
We would also like to extend our sincere THANKS to Mr. Edward L. Souder, former historian of Co. F., 405th Regiment. His collection of stories of the "Kitchen Histories Project" series entitled, Those Damn Doggies in F, were responsible for bringing the stories of the men of the 102nd Division to the forefront.
Original Story submitted on 1 July 2004.
Story added to website on 5 October 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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