I was a member of B Company, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. When we left Jefferson Barracks, after training at Ft. Benning, Georgia, we were sent to Africa. We were then sent to Italy where I fought at Anzio for 72 days. From there I was sent back to England and from there made the “Market Garden” jump in Holland on September 17, 1944. We were making a morning jump. Before we hit the ground, a German machine gun opened up on us. I ended up landing in a tree and struggled to get down, Somehow, I freed myself and made it to the ground.
Our objectives were to protect a field for the 325th Glider Squadron to land, and the Nijmegen Bridge. We took the south end of the Nijmegen Bridge fairly easy. However, the Germans were dug in on the north end and fought hard as we crossed the river towards them. As I got out of the water I was startled by a woman running from the gunfire with a little baby in her arms. I almost shot her out of instinct. I grabbed her and pulled them under one of the railroad bridges for cover. Then, I went out to look for Germans with the other guys.
I was captured on September 30 (my birthday) while on a night patrol. They told us to go out a couple of hundred yards, look around and then come back. But don’t worry they said, there’s nothing out there. I can’t remember the camps I was in. I remember the starvation the most. They gave us warm sour milk. On occasion, we’d get some sort of meat, but it was horrible tasting. I was sent to a farm in Penzling, Germany to work. That is near the Austrian border and what a cold winter. Frozen feet and hands and hardly anything to eat. We stole potatoes and beets from the ground. We survived though. On April 5,1945, some of us escaped. We stole a rope and crawled out a window. Once we ran out of the area, we used a British button-compass to head northeast, to head toward our freedom. After about ten or eleven days we got caught, and was marched to Moosburg where we were liberated on April 29, 1945.