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Combat veteran needs information about 393rd friend years ago

On Dec. 28, 1944, on Elsenborn Ridge, the Germans put an artillery shell in the fighting trench to our foxhole. James "Moe" Austin was killed instantly.

By one of those strange quirks of fate that happens in combat, I was not killed.

Moe's body was blown forward (he was kneeling on my feet with his back blocking the entrance to the fighting trench). His body saved my life.

Moe was a brave and good soldier, as well as a great friend. We went through a few scrapes that held little promise of our survival. He was courageous — always responded with great courage. His actions, on several occasions, would qualify for medals of valor. As was often true, there was nobody there to document his action . . . therefore, no medals except the Purple Heart.

There was another James Austin printed in a previous roster, but it was not James Austin of 1st Bn Hq, 393 Infantry Regiment.

I would like for his family to know that he served his country with great tenacity and courage.

I believe he was from West Virginia. The only clue I have is that the body was moved from Henri-Chapelle to West Virginia.

It's now late in the game, but I would rest easier if I could in some manner find any member of his family.

Joe S. Harrell

2127 Siesta Dr

Dallas TX 75224

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