Heroes: the Army
"...a dead German soldier was lying in the main street for at least a week, and we walked past him each morning and evening on our way to get our chow..."
Paul M. Wible
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Co. L., 407th Regiment,
102nd Infantry Division
- Dates: 1942 - 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1925
- Entered Service: Bloomington, IN
An Adjustment to Combat
Paul Wible, Co. I., 407th
It is a well known fact in the insect and animal world that the species that adjust to their environment are the ones that survive. This is also true of the combat infantry - man. To give an example: when we were in Ruhrdorf a dead German soldier was lying in the main street for at least a week, and we walked past him each morning and evening on our way to get our chow. For some reason rigor mortis had not set in and as we passed we would put our foot on his chest and pump and he would sigh as the air was forced in and out of his chest.
During those times we had no more feeling for dead Germans than we had for a stick of wood or a stone. We could have put our messkits on his chest and eaten our meal with no qualms whatsoever.
Such was the adjustment made in just 18 months from a quiet, peaceful, sheltered life in a Christian home in southern Indiana.
Paul Wible, Co. L 407th
----- Paul Wible
(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, "An Adjustment to Combat", by Paul Wible, Co. L, 407th., was originally published in the 102d Division "Ozark Notes", Vol. 43, No. 3, Spring 1991, pp. 3.
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 18 November 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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