Heroes: the Army
"...At the Camden rail station I was placed on a subway train and told to keep the peace - what - ever that meant. All the troops were armed with live ammo..."
Alfred H. Richley
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. H., 406th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Buffalo, NY
Philadelphia Transit Strike
by Al Richley, 406-H
On August 5 I was returning to Ft. Dix from a ten day furlough. As I walked to the company street I saw the men boarding trucks. They said to get my web equipment and weapons and climb into the back of the 3rd platoon truck. We raced to Philadelphia via Camden. At the Camden rail station I was placed on a subway train and told to keep the peace - what - ever that meant. All the troops were armed with live ammo.
The train ran from Camden to the center of Philly and back to Camden twenty four hours a day, with no relief on my part for sleep, food, sanitation or latrine time.
Two Hershey bars from my web equipment helped on the early food problem. The newspapers in Philly told the people that a lot of us had no access to food. On my train I think every passenger felt they had to feed me. I had enough cakes for every man in the platoon, at least a case of oranges, hundreds of sandwiches and milk.
My biggest problem was a latrine call. This was solved by going between cars as the train crossed the bridge, and I added a little more water to the Delaware River. On the more serious latrine call, I removed the operating key from the motorman and visited the station's men's room. This created a big problem as it threw the train off schedule. I didn't care and told them I was in charge. The subway changed its schedule after this incident.
After seven days on that train with no clean up, I was a mess returning to Ft. Dix. It wouldn't surprise me if there are still Ozarks running around Philly.
----- Albert "Al" Richley
(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, "Philadelphia Transit Strike", by Al Richley, Co. H, 406th, was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 54, No. 4, July/Sept., 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 25 March 2005.
Story added to website on 26 March 2005.
September 5, 2002.
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