‘A Day Between the Eternities:’
Memories of a time recalled in WWI
To the Editor:
On that day our outfit, Company A, 58th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 3rd Armored Division attached to Patton’s 3rd Army, was near Rorman, Germany and were moving in column on a curved, elevated road toward Rorman, crossing a swampy area.
I was a machine gunner in the last vehicle, a halftrack, so called because it had wheels in the front and tracks in the back.
At the edge of a woodland some 200 yards to our left was a German tank with a crew outside and a large cache of ammunition.
Their tactic was to catch a column of American tanks in such a situation where they could knock out the first vehicle, then the last one and have a shooting match on the others which could not get out of the line of fire.
I saw our first tank knocked out and I know that being the last I was next. They barely missed my halftrack with that awful 88mm. I opened up with 30 cal Browning machine gun with the tracers, making a stream of fire, I could see my fire was on target, got them all, and momentarily one of our tank destroyers saw that stream of fire and with its 105mm cannon blew up the German tiger tank. I honestly believe that my stream of fire went into the barrel of that German tank, anyway there was no fire from that 88.
It was about 10:00 a.m. that morning, the sky was clear, the air was cool, we dismounted our halftracks, I took my smaller air cooled machine gun, we crossed a field on foot under sniper fire, two of our platoons were hit, the medics carried them back to the safety of the woodland.
The rest of us crawled under a barbed wire fence, moved down a slanting bank some 40 feet, and took position along the edge of a large body of still water and quickly discovered that we were sitting ducks for the German machine guns situated in the windows of a line of two story brick buildings some 200 yards across the water. Sgt. Earl F. Love, from Virginia, was killed on my left side and little Leo Moran, from Pennsylvania, on my right side was shot in the neck, barely alive he murmured, “help me.” A halftrack squad was pickup up the dead and wounded a few feet away, I thought they could get him, but I learned later that he had died where he laid. I was saddened that I had not tried to help him, but the left side of his neck was gone. I thought it would surely kill him if I moved him and they were picking up the dead and wounded right there less than 10 feet away, but the German machine guns were burning us up as I crawled on my back under the fence, bullets were hitting the wire above me and one shot took off the second button just below my chin, the Good Lord was surely there for me.
I moved my machine gun along the bank of the water toward the Germans, some 50 feet to a small mound which would give me cover and I sprayed the buildings with my machine gun, providing some cover for our platoon as they retreated back up the bank, under the fence and back across the field into the woodland, which gave them cover. I was the last one out. We dug our fox holes and maintained vigil all night.
The Company Commander, Captain Brubacker, said that I qualified for the highest award and a battlefield commission for covering the retreat. I was the last one to crawl back under the fence as the Germans were machine gunning us. Their bullets were hitting the barbed wire above me, that was when I nearly got it. That was a bad time for our company, we had five Company Commanders in as many days, one started crying when the shooting started, I won’t name him of respect for his service and family. Captain Tom Caywood of Bonnieville, North Carilina, took command and was shot in the leg and replaced by 1st Lieutenant Pamosona.
At this point in time the Germans were pushing the Allies back from their gains across Belgium and France, it was called the “Belgium Bulge.”
General Patton was pleading with General Eisenhower to allow him to take Berlin, but the wise Eisenhower stopped our drive at the Elbe River, 30 miles short of Berlin and let the Russian Allies spend 10 thousand of their troops taking Berlin, which of course was the climax of WWII, the beginning of the end.
Emby A. McKeehan
P.S. — Now at 90 years, I am appealing my case to the Higher Heavenly Court and the Highest Judge.
Tri-County Hospice thanks volunteers
To the Editor:
Tri-County Hospice would like to say thank you to the following businesses for their kind support to Tri-County Hospice Volunteers for National Volunteer Month: Bob’s Ready to Wear, Carousel Florist and Gifts, Corbin Florist, Corum Florist, Golden Corral, London Quick Lube, Maiden Drug, Merry’s Flowers, Old Time Grill, Paper Dolls, Sav-Rite Pharmacy, Sav-Rite Home Care, Southeastern Medical Supply, Regency Cinema Seven, Tri-County Cineplex.