Heroes: the Army
"...detective bureau advertised that on their local radio, and even had someone check a gun fair the following weekend since two signed Nazi flags were among the missing items..."
John D. Emerich
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. I., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC, Bronze Star Medal
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Hershey, PA
TOO SOON OLD, TOO LATE SMART
That's a Pennsylvania Dutch expression which has a good bit of merit. The historian's wife even uses the last part as her license plate -- 2L8 SMRT.
So why did the historian and his wife get so dumb on their way home from the San Antonio reunion? We'll never know. However, we do know that we woke up the third morning of our trip home to find that person or persons unknown had broken the driver's window on our van and hit the release button on the dash which unlocked the rear tailgate. That accomplished, they proceeded to help themselves to all our suitcases, including the one we were using for dirty laundry! Shoes, coats, and the historian's briefcase were still there but our camera was not, and it wasn't until we got home and unpacked the van that we realized that some of the Ozark things were no longer with us.
First we discovered there was a box of Ozark caps missing; then we found that the smaller box with unit photos was gone (62 of them) and finally we realized that some of the artifacts we've displayed were missing as well.
We called Ralph, our treasurer, and he gave his blessing to offering a reward for the unit photos and artifacts. The Bessimer, AL detective bureau advertised that on their local radio, and even had someone check a gun fair the following weekend since two signed Nazi flags* the Stolen Nazi Flag were among the missing items. So far, no luck, but when called recently they said they would keep trying. It was all we could ask.
For obvious reasons, a box of unmarked WWII snapshots that had been in the History Room for others to identify had been dropped among the broken glass beside the car which came from the broken window. There doesn't seem to be much resale value to 55 year old black and whites.
Obviously, those Ozarks who left their name on a now missing unit photo will not be getting their copy right away. We need replacements for those we have lost. There is a list included on page two of the photos we need. If you have such a photo, we recommend that you take it to your local copying store and have them copy it on their colored copier. A copy made of a black and white photo on a colored copier comes out almost -- sometimes exactly -- as good at the original. You can send us the copy in a mailing tube and we will mat and shrink wrap it for Cherry Hill and those reunions beyond that. We are mainly interested in replacing those photographs taken at Maxey, Swift or Fort Dix of the individual units.
Since our camera was among the items taken from our van, we will be delighted to receive copies from those shutterbugs who were at the reunion. Several people who knew of our loss have already sent copies of everything they took. That is no longer necessary, but we would be particularly interested in group photos taken of members of a special unit or battery who gathered at San Antonio. And for those who have sent us copies of all you took, bless you for your thoughtfulness.
Oh, yes, the historian's wife bought a new van complete with an alarm if someone breaks a window! And from now on we will insist on a room at the front of the motel. Enough is enough!
[Note: As of the placement of this article on our web site, we are not certain as to which of the following items are still in need of replacement...So we are including the entire list that was on page 2 of the Ozark Notes.]
These are the photos we need to replace. Your help will be appreciated.
Regimental Headquarters Co. 405th at Swift
2nd Btn Hq. 405 at Maxey
Cannon Co 405th at Maxey
Cannon Co. 405
Co. B - 405
Co. E. 405
Co. F. 405
Co. G. 405
Co. G. survivors (Krefeld)
408 Hq. Co. survivors
Cannon Co. 406
Reg. Hq. 406 at Maxey
Reg. Hq. 406 at Swift
Regimental Hq. 406
Antitank Co. 406 at Maxey
Service Co. 406
Co. A - 406
Co. B - 406 at Maxey
2nd Btn. staff -408
2nd Btn Hq. - Krefeld
Co. F -406
Co. G - 406
Co. I - 406
Co. L -406
Co. M 408 at Maxey
Hq. Co. 1st Brn. 407 at Maxey
Service Co. 407
Cannon Co. 407
Co. B - 407 at Maxey
Co. B. 407 at Swift
Co. I 407 at Maxey
407th Dance Band
Original Officer Cadre of Division at Maxey
102nd Div. Field Artillery Hq.
802 Ord. at Maxey
Hq. 327 Engineers
Co. B - 327 Eng.
Co. C - 327 Eng.
Co. B - 381st Eng.
Co. A - 327 Medics
Co. B 327 Medics
Hq. Co. 327 Eng.
Btry A - 379th FA
Hq. Btry 380 FA
Btry A - 380 FA
Btry B - 380 FA
Btry C - 380 FA
Hq. Btry 381 FA at Maxey
Service Btry 381st FA
Btry A 381st FA
Btry B - 381st in ODs
Btry C. 381st FA
927th FA - A Btry
927th FA - B Btry
927th FA - C Btry
927th FA Service Btry
----- John Emerich
*One of the two stolen Nazi flags mentioned in this Ozark Notes article was one that was donated to the 102nd Division Association by Edward L. Souder of Minneapolis, MN. The flag was a flag that had hung over the front of the biggest bank in Geilenkirchen, Germany. It was taken down and presented to Ed Souder after his being wounded on the outskirts of Geronsweiller on November 28, 1944. The flag contained a number of signatures of his comrads in Co. F., 405th Regiment. You can read the article about this flag by clicking on the link in the article above or the link here. To date, the flag has not been recovered: the Stolen Nazi Flag
(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, "TOO SOON OLD, TOO LATE SMART", by John D. Emerich, Col I., 407th Regiment, was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 51, No. 2, Jan/Mar. 1999, pp. 1-2.
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 March 2004.
Story added to website on 3 April 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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Updated on 17 February 2012...1446:05 CST
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