Harding recalls house on the hill
I received correspondence from Sam Armato about a house on a hill which he tells about. I am beginning to think he is talking of a different house.
The story I will tell is burned in my mind. He tells of Sgt. Rawls being squad leader. I remember Sgt. Rawls as platoon sergeant. Lt. Knighty was platoon leader. He was transferred somewhere else.
A new lieutenant came by my foxhole and introduced himself. He said you won't remember my name but it is Meisen — — . I spelled his name for him and he said you will remember. I had a cousin named Misenheimer.
At Hal Fortuna, Sgt. Rawls and Lt. Knighty were there. The house I remember is burned in my mind. I was sent somewhere with my squad. I did not have a scout. I took the lead myself. We walked a trail through trees and came to a large open field.
Up on the left (I think south) there was a house on the hill with German soldiers walking around. I thought we might be late getting where we were going because we could not cross the field without clearing that house.
We had a little conference and Brown volunteered to get a closer look. As I had told him, he did not go up to the house alone. He came back with his report that it looked like they were through fighting.
I took the whole squad through the trees on the east. We spread out and went up the hill with no problem. He was right — the weapons were stacked in the yard and they seemed glad to surrender.
I don't remember the number of prisoners, but it was a lot. I sent them, bareheaded, back on the trail we had come up. Sgt. Rawls definitely was not with us.
Later we were told there was a Bronze Star for someone in the platoon. I still think it fishy to think the Army wanted to award a Bronze Star to someone in the platoon. The squad leaders got together and drew straws. I won the draw. I got the squad together and asked if we could find a legitimate reason for someone to get this award. It was decided it had to be Brown for volunteering.
I am proud to have served in the 99th. I can still wear my uniform and wear it every chance I get. I wore it once in Oregon to the dedication of a memorial. I was the only one there in a WWII uniform. The next day my picture came out in five newspapers.
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Garden City SD 57236