• Last modified 5531 days ago (Feb. 21, 2009)
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Footlockers reveal Recon information

Footlockers reveal

Recon information

     Dad never talked much about his 38 years in the Army. What little I know I've dug out of old foot lockers in the attic. He never threw anything away, and one of the things he kept was a small paperback booklet entitled, "Battle Babies: The Story of the 99th Infantry Division."

     Along with this booklet, I also found another paperback booklet entitled, "Forever Forward: History of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop." The booklet contains 167 pages of unit history from its origin Nov. 15, 1942, at Camp Van Dorn MS to Gerolzhofen, Germany, on May 24, 1945.

     It was in this booklet that I discovered several references to my dad, including the following: ". . . With the 99th Division in Germany, American civilian captures 14 German soldiers in Germany! This is the story told by men of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop. S/Sgt. Henry Gettman, of 239 Malcolm Street, Walla Walla WA, was to receive a battlefield appointment as second lieutenant. During the interim between his discharge from the enlisted ranks and his being commissioned, and while technically a civilian, Gettman rounded up 14 Jerries in the town of Norf, Germany."

     The booklet is packed with names, dates, troop movements and actions, awards, poems written by some of the men, and even the roster for the unit's baseball team.

     In the "Route of the March" section is a daily chronicle of the unit's movements. Much of it could only make sense to someone who was there — "Nov. 10, 1944, Elsenborn, Belgium: Robots flying real low; dug in for first time, baptized by fire. Third platoon had blazed the trail. Remember 'the hole,' the mortar squads' Thanksgiving Day banquet, and Murphy shooting it out with 9th Division 'snowball kings?'"

     This could be the booklet for anyone seeking information about 99th Recon. If anyone knew my dad, I'd appreciate a contact. He was pretty hard to miss at only five feet tall.

David Gettman

8432 McKinley Ave E

Tacoma WA 98445-3231