We moved out early the next morning after taking Woerth, crossing streams on footbridges -- the road bridges which we had guarded in January had been blown up by the retreating Germans. It soon became a bright sunny day and everyone was feeling fine. We stopped only long enough to be sure a town was unoccupied and then move on again. Soon we were nearing the German border again, almost in the exact position we had gone in the first time (Dec. 18) -- and the Siegfried line was still there.
It was getting late in the evening and we had covered many miles that day without rest. The border was about two miles ahead and in an effort to be the first regiment to cross into Germany, our platoon left the company behind and started for the border! None of us knew what the hell we were doing, and I even thought the rest of the company was behind us -- but we were going to be the heroes alone! Tired and footsore and thinking we had pushed our luck far enough in one day, we didn't care much about being the first few men into Germany -- or the first to be killed in Germany either. But we kept pushing on and then I saw our platoon leader motioning each man forward to a spot and then sending him toward the road back. I came up to the lieutenant, walked around a bench, and started back the way I had come. I had just crossed the border line! Whether we were first or not we never did find out. Probably not.
From Joe Milhoan, Christmas card, 1991:
Ref: Page 43 MUD & GUTS
....It's such a shame that we could not have gotten together long before this. Anyone who never served in combat with a group like ours can never understand the feeling we have for one another. We had about three bad apples but the others were real soldiers.
(Take your choice, men, as to which group you fit in! ajc)
AJC in letter to Black, Crabtree, Fry and Craft, March 1963:
...and how about our lieutenant? Was his name Malcohm? I remember his first name was Joe ("....but when we get up front and you want me, don't call out 'Lieutenant! -- just call me Joe!"). Anyone know of his whereabouts? He was a pretty nice guy even if he was an officer!
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