Heroes: the Army
"...Sgt. Lorenz shouted to anyone still alive in the tent to surrender, throw out their weapons and come out with their hands up. We captured two Germans..."
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. E., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Long Island City, NY
I Remember My Adventures with Rogers Raiders
by Joseph Evangelista, 407-E
This story was accompanied by a letter saying that after more than fifty years of looking for history books that record more than what has been written, Joseph was pleased that the historian had written to all the officers and men who were with Rogers' Raiders to recall their experiences.
"I mention my friend, Barney Eberlin, in my recollection because he did volunteer with me. We were to finally meet at the Denver Reunion, where I found that he was deceased He and many others were part of this adventure with Rogers Raiders. This is my way of remembering for the remainder of my life Barney Eberlin and the other Raiders.
Although it is not an easy task to recall events that took place more than fifty years ago, I do specifically remember one of the experiences that I had with Rogers' Raiders.
I volunteered for a "Special Assignment" along with my friend, Barney Eberlin. We were told to report to Lt. Roy Rogers, which was, coincidently, the same name as my movie hero. Later we gave him the nickname "Buck" Rogers, another movie hero from my generation. There were fifteen to twenty volunteers from the various 407 Companies.
Lt. Rogers explained our assignment. A squad of twelve were to cross the Roer river under the cover of darkness, which would take us behind enemy lines and capture one or two German soldiers to be brought back to camp for questioning.
We started night training immediately. With dark clothes and muddied faces, we learned to creep, crawl and slither about silently. One night after having been on several raids, we were ordered to report to headquarters. We grouped around Lt. Rogers as he showed us a map of the terrain across the river. He indicated the area that we were to cover, cautioning us to quietly row across the rain swollen river.
Our patrol, led by Sgt. Christopher Lorenz, quietly crept down to the river, climbed into waiting boats, and bobbed and heaved across the river. Nauseated and shivering from the cold, we left the boats and walked in single file, carrying grenades and machine guns. After almost one hour of walking and creeping around the area we were covering, suddenly one of the men sidled over to Sgt. Lorenz, and pointed to a light &emdash; a pin prick of light. We began crawling toward the tiny beam of light and as we got closer we could hear the Germans. They were in a tent camouflaged with branches and leaves; a German communications tent.
Sgt. Lorenz signalled and motioned to three of us to prepare to fling our hand grenades at the tent. We hurled the grenades at the tent; with the explosion I thought surely other Germans, if they were nearby, would attack us. Luckily there were none. Sgt. Lorenz shouted to anyone still alive in the tent to surrender, throw out their weapons and come out with their hands up. We captured two Germans.
We quickly filed cautiously back to the river and our boats. Under protective fire cover we rowed back across the river. The capture of these prisoners was invaluable. "Buck" Rogers Night Raiders had accomplished their task.
----- Joseph Evangelista
(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.)
12 January 2005.
A photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment, 102nd Division. This image is on a page that is dedicated to Mr. Edward Marchelitis, Sr., by his daughter Carol. Most of the men in the photo taken on December 20, 1943 are identified on the back of the image.
To view the photo of Co. A., 2nd Platoon, 407th Regiment as well as other photos of Edward Marchelitis, click on the image above.
The family of Mr. Marchelitis is seeking information on his platoon.
A special Thank You is extended to the daughter of Edward Marchelitis, Sr., Carol Marchelitis Heppner.'
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The above story, "I Remember My Adventures with Rogers Raiders", by Joseph Evangelista, Co. E., 407th., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 53, No. 4, July/Sept. 2001, pp. 12-13.
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 26 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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