Heroes: the Army
"...Hello, room service? Are you there? We have a couple of guys here who are very hungry. Will you please bring down dinners for two? T-bone steaks, potatoes and gravy, salad with vinegar and oil, rolls and butter and a nice bottle of wine. And hurry, these guys can't wait long..."
David G. Parshall
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. I., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Pontiac, MI
by Dave Parshall - 405 - I
Here we were in the dark, on a village street in Germany and the truck that had brought us was driving away. We were both extremely anxious and apprehensive. We were replacement riflemen who had just finished a long and rugged trip from Normandy. We had been shipped like cattle, without orientation or instruction, and we didn't know where we were or where we were going. The signs of war as we approached the front were unnerving. Shell flashes, tracers, and flares added to our distress. I felt that we were going to be fed to the wolves.
"Halt, who's there?" a muted voice asked.
"Replacements" we shouted in unison.
"Shut up and follow me," the sentry said, still in a muted voice.
He led us down the steps into the basement of a destroyed house. A carpet over the doorway at the bottom of the stairs kept the light in. This was headquarters of I Company, 405th.
"Hello, and welcome to I Company," said a sergeant stepping forward. "I'm the platoon leader and you're in my platoon. I guess you guys are hungry. You've had a long trip. Sit down at the table and help yourself to some food."
We took our packs off and leaned our rifles against the basement wall. Feeling tired and bewildered, we sat down. The table was large and covered with a clean white table cloth. An assortment of chairs ringed the table and at each place were settings of silverware and china plates. Lighted candles completed the elegant setting. Everything looked exquisite except for the boxes of K-rations scattered about.
"I'm sorry sergeant, I'm not hungry," I said. I was too upset to eat and the army's unpalatable K-rations were not appealing.
The sergeant was very sympathetic and concerned. "Maybe you don't like our menu. Tired of K-rations are you? I can fix that."
He went to the corner of the basement and loudly called out "Hello, room service? Are you there? We have a couple of guys here who are very hungry. Will you please bring down dinners for two? T-bone steaks, potatoes and gravy, salad with vinegar and oil, rolls and butter and a nice bottle of wine. And hurry, these guys can't wait long." He turned to us. "They said it'll be right down, but they're usually slow, and while you're waiting you might want to try some of the K-rations for an appetizer."
His performance got a laugh from the other noncoms and relieved some of the tension. We relaxed a little and did eat some of the available rations.
Unfortunately, before the room service arrived, the sergeant led us out into the dark night and installed us in separate foxholes on the front line. It was a long time before we had room service again.
----- Dave Parshall
(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, "Room Service", by Dave Parshall, Co.I., 405th, was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 53, No. 4, July/Sept. 2001, pp. 8.
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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