Heroes: the Army
"...He told me I was the lowest form of soldier, a soldier who would shoot defenseless pigeons, a disgrace to the uniform, a disgrace to the U.S. Army. My response was "YES SIR, YES SIR, YES SIR' etc..."
Edwin R. Merritt
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. B., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942-1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC, Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Medford, Mass.
One Angry Lieutenant
by Ed Merritt, 405-B
Have you ever seen an infantry man who wasn't hungry? There were two fat pigeons on the peak of the house across the street. I figured I could hit the pigeons in the head, and a fellow GI said "Merritt, you hit that bird in the head and I'll clean and cook it for you."
Using the windowsill as a steady rest, I creased the rear pigeon's head enough to kill it. My second shot blew the head off the second bird. I verified my shots when I finally found them.
I went to the other side of the house and there were no pigeons lying there. There was no roof on that side of the house. The birds had to have fallen into the attic.
I found the stairs and went up to find a very, very upset lieutenant artillery spotter sitting at a table with maps and binoculars. The pigeons, bleeding profusely, had landed on his maps and binoculars. Also, some of the blood was on his very clean uniform.
He told me I was the lowest form of soldier, a soldier who would shoot defenseless pigeons, a disgrace to the uniform, a disgrace to the U.S. Army. My response was "YES SIR, YES SIR, YES SIR' etc. Obviously he was not an infantry man. He wore a clean uniform and was not hungry. I was very proud of my shooting.
Those birds were very tough, but far better than C or K rations. I willingly shared them with the fellow who cleaned and cooked them. He did a good job.
----- Ed Merritt
(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, "One Angry Lieutenant", by Ed Merritt, 405th, Co. B., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 54, No. 2, Jan/March 2002, pp. 17.
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 28 October 2003.
Story added to website on 16 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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