Heroes: the Army
"...Finally, I caught a load of shrapnel in my rear end and foot. You can easily see what was sticking up out of the rubble. While I was hit bad enough that I couldn't walk, it wasn't close to life threatening. The Aid Man slapped a couple of bandages on me and Greenie helped me to a jeep equipped to carry casualties..."
Weldon C. "Creighton" Gallaway
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. F., 405th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942-1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: S/Sgt, Purple Heart, Bronze Star
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Duncan, OK
...The Glorious Day of February 23, 1945
I am going to take a shot at answering your e-mails (Edward L. Souder) about the glorious day of February 23,1945 and later as I remember it. Anything up to that time would only repeat Brophy's and Greenberg's Dairies.
First thing I did that morning was wake the Second Squad, hand out extra bandoliers and see that they knew how to inflate the Ring type life preservers we were given for the crossing of the Roer. After some breakfast we fell in with the rest of Co. F. As I recall the Second Battalion was the assault Battalion and F
Company was the second Company scheduled to cross right behind E Company. It was eerily quiet to begin with but the Artillery Barrage started shortly. It was enough to break ear drums. The Germans opened up shortly after that. I think all of us were well aware of the fact that the up river dams had been opened and there were very few places we could cross. The result was every Kraut gun for miles was concentrated on our position. E Company was getting ready to try to cross and we were finding cover wherever we could in the ruins of the small town at the crossing. E Company was easy meat and got badly shattered, it appeared to me.
I was prone trying to make myself shrink into the rubble. Shells coming in faster than you could count. Finally, I caught a load of shrapnel in my rear end and foot. You can easily see what was sticking up out of the rubble. While I was hit bad enough that I couldn't walk, it wasn't close to life threatening. The Aid Man slapped a couple of bandages on me and Greenie helped me to a jeep equipped to carry casualties.
Greenies last words to me were, "Goodbye, you lucky Bastard." I was off to the Battalion Aid Station where I got new bandages and ton of Sulfanilamide. I must have also received a shot of pain killer, also. Then somewhere along the journey to the rear I was operated on to clean out the shrapnel and soon sent to a hospital whose location I have no idea about.
Not long after that I was in an ambulance that drove through Paris before daylight to an airport. At least the driver said it was Paris. I couldn't see out and I was probably still full of pain killer. Anyway, we were loaded on a DC-3, flew across the Channel and landed near Bournemouth, England. I'm sure that it was expected that my stay here would be short, but my foot wounds got infected and as a result I stayed here until after VE Day in May. A few days later I was on a on a boat for New York and Letterman General Hospital.. By then I was off crutches for the most part. I remember the first two things I did.
One was go to a barbershop. This was the first time in six or nine months that I had a real barber and not some Gl cut my hair. They had a list of services that they offered and I said I would take all of them. I was doing fine until the Barber singed the ends of my hair and I about came out of my hair. I had been smelling those kinds of smells to long, as it was.
Next for me was Brook General Hospital in San Antonio, TX. I think I was there simply because with the war in Europe over, this was a good place to give me some additional therapy and get me ready for Japan. I had a good time here. Swam a lot, played a little tennis and saw the Alamo. Also bought some civilian clothes including a pork pie hat.
About the first of August 1945 I received a pass to go home and I was at home for VJ Day. My orders were to report to Camp Chaffee, Ark, for further assignment.
I'm sure that this meant assignment to an Infantry Division headed for the invasion of Japan. Infantry Squad leaders were probably in great demand. As it was I was discharged in December 1945 and enrolled in the Spring Semester at the University of Oklahoma. My war was over!!
There you have it, Ed. Hope all is well with you. Watched Band of Brothers on July Fourth. Brought back memories. Some good, some bad,
--------- Gallaway, Weldon C., S/Sgt.
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
Information and photographs were generously provided to World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words by Mr. Creighton Gallaway and Mr. Edward L. Souder of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The subjects of these essays are all members of Co. F., 405th Regiment.Our sincerest THANKS for allowing us to share their stories!
Original Story submitted on 15 July 2010.
Story added to website on 17 July 2010.
September 5, 2002.
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