Heroes: the Army
"...Carrying Stamirowski on his back, Miswald tried to cart him to safety. Before he died, Stamirowski sadly talked about his loving family back in the States..."
Grant W. Miswald, Jr.
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. L., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1923
- Entered Service: Milwaukee, WI
Memories of Grant Miswald, Jr.
"My dad's name was Grant Miswald Jr, and his story is written on your site. I was thrilled to see it. I saw that there is no picture of him. My family has pictures of dad in his uniform, I would love for his picture to be added to your site. I wrote a few lines about my dad in your guest book, he took care of my mom for years while she was sick with a brain tumor. He was truly a dear person that took care of his family.
Both of them are gone now. My mom passed after a 14 year battle with brain cancer. My dad passed after turn of century. My dad mentioned little about the war. He was a person who loved humor, he passed this wonderful gift to his seven children. I would like this to be added.
My Dad really had a sense of humor, and I have a few of his anecdotes I'd like to share.
Dad had a huge scar on his stomach, he told us young kids that a Japanese soldier took a bayonet to him during WWII. I told that one at the school show-n-tell for years. Later when I was an adult I found out that he had his appendix removed.
At the family reunions Dad would wear his name tag upside down. When this was pointed out, he peered down stating that he can read it better this way.
Our active nephew Charlie attempted to hog-tie his uncle at a family cookout. The uncle struggled to get loose. Dad called out "Hold still!".
In his old age, he because forgetful and the doctor said it may be Alzheimer's. Dad jokingly told everyone that he has 'old-timers'."
Daughter of the late Grant W. Miswald, Jr.,
Co. L., 407th Regiment, 102nd Division
Just Rewards - WWII Combat Experiences of Grant Miswald
By Grant Miswald/Robert W. "Bob" Lally
(As told to or witnessed by Bob Lally, a foxhole buddy)
Like many lowly riflemen during World War II, Grant Miswald's exceptional heroic achievements were never officially recognized, nor was he ever rightfully cited for bravery, or awarded earned medals.
But in the words of his squad leader, S/Sgt. Richard Smith, for Miswald and his few surviving comrades, just being alive was glory enough. Smith was shot through the head by an enemy machine gun, given up for dead when he couldn't answer shouts, and abandoned when attempts to reach him failed. After being miraculously rescued, and spending four months in the hospital in England having the roof of his mouth rebuilt. Smith was callously returned to the front for more action. The bullet had entered just below his left eye and exited behind his right ear.
Of the six ASTP men in Miswald's squad, three: Long, [Arthur T.] Kubler [Joseph E.] and Orzekowski, [Leonard W.] were killed in action. Two: Miswald and Reynolds, [Lloyd W.]were seriously wounded. Only Lally escaped with minor wounds.
ASTP, which stands for the controversial Army Specialized Training Program, was terminated early in the year 1944, and the men sent involuntarily to the infantry. Fooled by enticing army promises, Miswald and his friends briefly attended Purdue University for specialized engineering training. Probably never before in history, or since, has a nation so wantonly wasted its best, brightest and bravest men on the field of battle as ordinary soldiers. Orzekowski wanted to be a priest, after first serving his beloved country. Another KIA friend, Krumiauf, [Joel W.] wanted to be a minister, like his father.
One November 30, 1944 Miswald's Ozark Division attacked a formidable enemy deeply entrenched in the midst of the German Siegfried Line. They met stiff resistance.
Incredibly, Miswald was the only member of the decimated 200 man, L Company 407th Infantry, to reach the company objective, which was to encircle the Rhineland village of Welz. Covered with blood (not his own) and nearly exhausted, after dark he alone managed to enter the village from the rear and contact the frontal assault troops, with whom he spent the night.
Earlier that day, when his lead platoon encountered heavy machine gun fire from the front, Lt. Morris [Joseph B.] sent Miswald's squad on a flanking maneuver, attacking up the wooded hill on their unprotected right flank. Surprisingly, they successfully managed to reach the ridge, which opened up onto a broad, flat, open plain leading to the villages tucked along the Roer River, less than a mile away.
Miswald and three others then followed along the high ridge toward the company objective. As they crept along the ridge, they were fired upon from below by their own troops,-- who mistook them for enemy soldiers. They kept going until a concealed enemy machine gun opened up on the from short range, killing Long and Kubler and mortally wounding Stamirowski, [Theodore] a day old replacement.
Carrying Stamirowski on his back, Miswald tried to cart him to safety. Before he died, Stamirowski sadly talked about his loving family back in the States. It was two days later before Miswald was able to wash Stamirowski's blood from his hands and clothing.
The next day after the failed attack, the remnants of Miswald's platoon - about a dozen men - attacked again, and managed to secure the ridge and a long, deep tank trap a hundred yards beyond, but most of the enemy had already retreated.
Then, according to Miswald, going back over the battlefield of the previous day and examining the dead, Lt, Morris, the platoon leader, remarked to Miswald, "What in the hell were you guys doing way up here?"
In mid-December, scheduled to lead the attack across the Roer River, Miswald's battalion was back in Holland for a practice crossing of the Maas River near Masstrichtwhen the Germans counterattacked south of them. During the following cold, miserable, lonely winter days of the Battle of the Bulge, Miswald's outfit froze defending the exposed northern flank of the American Army.
During their brief stay in a brick factory in Holland, Miswald, Reynolds and Lally befriended some young Dutch boys, who managed to get them a haircut, have their pictures taken by a professional photographer, and arranged for them to sleep in their house in beds with white sheets and down comforters. This incident was one of the few brighter moments in a brutal war.
In late January, 1945, when returning at night through the town of Linnich from a mission in the bottomlands along the raging Roer River, the enemy attacked with mortars in the center of town near the church plaza. Three rounds dropped in on Miswald's squad which was strung out single file. Miswald was hit with fragments from all three rounds, Reynolds from two, and McLemore, [Arthur J., Jr.] from one.
A bloody mess, Miswald was helped to a busy aid station located nearby in a brick barn (now the police station and museum) and deposited on straw in the big arched doorway. When Lally tried to comfort him while awaiting medical attention, Miswald said 'Don't worry about me. I'm going home. You're the unlucky one." That's the kind of person he was, always concerned about others. His million dollar wounds, arm and head nerve injuries, won him a medical discharge and a life of suffering and pain.
Today Just outside the Rhineland town of Linnich, a huge memorial stone at the St. Hubertus Cross wayside shrine honors Miswald's spirit and memory. Erected by veterans and villagers, it proudly displays the Ozark Division insignia. In the town inside St. Martinus Church, a similar Peace Window memorial honors all victims of the war.
Surely, many just rewards must await Miswald in Heaven. He was more than a comrade, buddy, and friend. He was extended family, a brother, and will be dearly missed.
----- Grant Miswald/Bob Lally
Mr. Grant W. Miswald,Jr.
Date: January 2, 2000
Burial Site Location: Holy Cross Cemetery, Milwaukee, WI
Co. L., 407th Regiment, 102d Division, [3rd Btn]
World War II Veteran
United States Army
Holy Cross Cemetery in Milwaukee
(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, "Just Rewards - WWII Combat Experiences of Grant Miswald", by Grant Miswald/Bob Lally was published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 53, No. 1, October/December 2000, pp. 10-11.
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 wish also to extend a warm "Thank You" to Ron Miswald and Jeannie (Miswald) Thibodeau, children of the late Grant Miswald Jr., for their very kind contribution of the photo of their dad, Grant Miswald Jr. taken during World War II.
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 2 November 2004.
Story added to website on 5 November 2004.
Story updated on 27 December 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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