H Company 16th Infantry Big Red One

In Memory of Captain Anthony J Prahl and all the men who served with 
              H Company 16th Infantry, First Infantry Divison In WWII 

      T-Sgt. Charles "Chaz" Richards

 

                                     In his own Words.

                                        My personal   

                                  “army service record”

 

                                Charles (nmi) Richards jr.

 

                            16th may 1944 to 26th july 1946

                        

                                          Chaz 1945 

 

 

My first notice to appear for a physical was mailed 16th of may 1944

And received on the 20th and ordered to report to/at 308 utility bldg.

7 am ft. Wayne Ind. 22nd may 1944.

 

Certificate of fitness was received; order # 13782, 24th may 1944. Was

Then notified of induction in late July of 1944 and to report for

Induction 18 august 1944 at 308 utility bldg. Ft. Wayne Ind.

 

I was named, at birth, junior Charles Richards. At age 16, I applied,

Through the Allen county Ind. Court, to have a name change. That being,

Charles Junior Richards. How ever, when signing up for the draft, I

Made another change. Not through the court's, only on my own, to Charles

( nmi/no middle initial) Richards jr.

 

When I reported for induction I went to 308 north Clinton st. Ft. Wayne

Ind. At the utility bldg, at 7 am 18th of august 1994.

 

From there we boarded busses and were transported to ft. Benjamin

Harrisson, Indianapolis Indiana, for final physical's and the swearing

In ceremonies. Glenn Hoot and Bud Pulver were inducted at the same time.

Bud Pulver was just ahead of me and his serial # was/is 35906960 and mine, of

Course was/is 35906961. Another school classmate going was George

Spitler.

 

Glenn hoot was a mite older and was employed with the Penns. Rail road

And was instantly assigned to a different unit.

 

We stayed at ft. Ben only a short time. While there, of all people to

Seek me out, was my mother. Brand new store teeth and all. What a

Welcome sight. But leave me also say, being new to the army routine, I

Really didn't know how to entertain and of all people, entertain you'r

Mother?? She was a very welcome sight.

 

From ft. Ben. We boarded a train and was transported to south camp hood

Texas. There we were assign to our basic training units. George, bud

And I was still to-gather at this time of training.

 

For two weeks it was nothing but the usual basic training. Up at

Reveille, get cleaned and dressed, stand inspection, hit the chow line

And get ready for some intensive calisthenics. Then for classroom and

Field training. At the end of the two weeks we were assigned to other

Unit’s I believe the idea was to break up any standing relationships

And again, be on our own. Boy, did it ever work.

                                   

I was assigned 28th of august to co. A, 173rd battalion, 96th regiment.

A 37 millimeter anti tank gun unit.  Training to be able to knock out

Enemy targets. We would fire these guns on the range at simulated tank

Targets. Also becoming more familiar with the m-1 rifle and just a

Little training on a water cooled 30 caliber machine gun.

 

When the classroom and field training was completed, we were scheduled

For two weeks of bivwack training. Otherwise, we were leaving our

Comfortable barracks and going out into desolate Texas area. Set up our

Pup tents and get ready to live as a foot soldier would be expected to

Do in combat conditions.

 

After one weeks training, we were suddenly and unexpectedly called to

Get all equipment and gear ready to move out. To get back to our

Original company barracks and to stand to for further orders.

 

It was then, back at company headquarters that we learned that we

Should immediately pack our personal belongings, get ready to spend a 7

Day furlough at home and to report to ft.dix new jersey for boarding of

A ship to Europe. The battle of the bulge was in full swing and the

Allies were needing foot soldiers, real bad.

 

We never had to clean our rifles or the 37 millimeter anti tank guns.

Just bust tail and be ready to leave south ft. Camp Hood at once.

 

I arrived home, by train, just after xmas, 1944 and spent, I believe,

No more than seven days at home before departing for the train station

And heading east.

 

We were processed real fast and transported to the pier to board our

Ship. Would you believe, it was the Queen Elizabeth. A four stacker,

And when we finished loading all the troops, there were between 22 and

23 thousand of us on board. It only took us seven days to reach the

White cliffs of Dover then to our port, Southampton, England.

 

I would like to mention, at this time, so far, there were two really

Sad days of my army life. The first, was when leaving home, after my

Furlough and getting ready to ship out. My father stood in the drive

Way and for the first time,I seen him cry.

 

The second dark day was the evening that I walked the ramp, boarding the

Queen Elizabeth.

 

We departed the Queen Elizabeth for one of many replacement depot's

And to be processed for future deployment. With a duffel bag loaded

With all my army and personal possessions, we trudged up one hell of a

Long hill to walled tents and food. Again, we only spent a cold few

Day's and we were on our way, again.

 

This time, walking back down that hill to smaller ships that would take

Us across the English channel to le Harve France. Got to taste my first

English beer aboard this ship. After drinking good old Indiana old

Crown ale. The English beer was warm and tasteless.

                                

In France, we were directed to a train station and placed in the famous

40 & 8 box cars and started a trip through France to another repo depot

Just inside the border of Belgium. Again, we were separated into

Different groups for deployment to be assigned to our units.

 

It was here that I met Wayne ( Buck ) Faylor and he sent my Bulova

Watch back home to my bro. In law, Cliff Middaugh. I had taken a bath

On the queen Elizabeth with the watch on, and the water was salt water

For bathing.

 

Also it was here, after another processing period, that we were loaded

On to trucks and started the real trip to the front lines. We were

Really getting to see and realize the full effect of war and what our

Training was meant for.  Towns completely bombed out.  Army vehicles

And equipment a total loss.  Colder and colder.

 

Reaching a desolate point in Belgium, in a large open field, we were

Ordered to get off the trucks and form a sort of formation. We were

Addressed by a colonel, whom I later learned that it was our

Regimental commander, ( Batshit Horner ). He advised us that we were

Expendable, jeeps and moving equipment was not, from here on in, it was

Walking, all the way.

 

During this trip, ( the truck ride )was the starting of some future

Health problems which I will discuss later.

 

Our journey now, by foot, was to our assigned company. Upon arriving at

My co. Commanders post, ( a shelled out house ) I reported to capt.

Aurback, who informed me that I was assigned to "d" company, 16th

Regiment, 1st division, 1st army, under gen. Omar bradley.(1-12-1944)

 

The Capt. Wanted to know what I knew about 30 cal. Water cooled

Machine guns and I told him I had fired one once and that i was

Trained in anti tank, 37 mil. He about exploded.

 

He assigned me to a platoon and the 1st lt. And platoon Sgt. Along with

Other members of my new squad, went out into an open field and

Practiced firing. The 16th had been pulled back for R & R and just had

A few day's before we were to move out. My squad also had as quarters,

A bombed out house where we were to rest, relax and to sleep.

 

We had the barest amount of bedding, and I was placed close to an open

Area for the night. I knew that I was catching a cold and during the

Next day I asked to go to the field infirmary, and was sent back to my

quarters. The following day, we were moving out to the front lines.

At this time our unit was assigned to a part of the Ardennes forest.

 

I'm sick as hell, but our squad was assigned to an area and told to dig

In. We did. Aerial shell burst from German 88"s we really our biggest

Problem.

 

I told my squad leader that I had to have medical attention. He sent me

To a first aid tent where a field Dr. Stuck a thermometer in my mouth

And when he came back the check, I was carrying a 104 degree

Temperature. The Dr. Immediately sent me back to the rear hospital unit

Where I was informed that I had possible pneumonia, frozen feet and

Trench foot.

 

It was also there that a few day's later I learned that my entire squad

Was wiped out by an enemy aerial burst of artillery fire

 

Time and dates, to far back to be exact. However, I was on the front

Line, under enemy fire, by the 12th of January 1944, in the Ardennes

Forest of Germany.

 

On arriving at the rear hospital unit, know not where but believe that

The first stop was in Belgium, I was immediately transferred farther to

The rear echelon to a larger hospital unit where the new drug,

Penicillin was started. A shot every 4 hrs around the clock with a

Small bowl of grape fruit juice with 100% denatured alcohol added every

Hr for a small amount of time. For this drink, real good and a cheap

Inebriated high. The penicillin shots stopped after 100 had been

Administered. This was for pneumonia and frozen feet and trench foot.

 

As far as my memory can establish, I was in the hospital for about 45

Days and then returned to the front lines with my old unit. Same as

Above.

 

I do know that as soon as I had established contact with my old squad,

( this was some where in Germany ) that we were told to dig in for the

Night and get ready to move out the next day. We were fired on by

German tanks and foot soldiers. When I dug in, I tried to dig to china

But it just wouldn't work. 2 hrs on and 2 hrs off. That was standard

Duty. 2 men to a fox hole, usually, so one was on watch at all times.

 

One memory stands out for the day that we moved out and that was we

Over took a small village, searched each house and set up a command

Post, as usual, my squad was on an upper floor of a home and soon we

Found out that we were under sniper fire. Along with this, we heard the

Dreaded sound of tanks moving, not knowing whose, and were real relieved

To find that it was our own.

 

Our first lt. ( battle field promotion ) ordered my squad to set up a

Machine gun position out in an open field. This was wide open to sniper

Fire, but an order is an order. Our squad sergeant led off followed by

An ammo carrier ( which was me ) as soon as the Sgt. Hit the small

Crater that was designated, I followed, as fast as all hell with two

Boxes of ammo. Then returned to cover while the Sgt. Was to load the

Machine gun. He never made it. The sniper got him clean with the first

Shot. Had I been there, I too would not off been able to write this

Memo. I delivered my ammo and got out.

 

The lt. Then used his head and had the tank and infantry seek out and

Destroy the sniper. So much for that ordeal. It was constant moving on.

Prisoners were taken and sent to the rear,

Except the dreaded SS troops. I know that they were started back for

Imprisonment, but doubt very much if any made the trip. SS troops were

The elite of A. Hitler. They shot and killed on site, regardless of

Surrender by the allies. So we offered them the same terms.

 

On our move forward and before we got to the Harz mountains, we were in

A valley of sorts when we came under heavy enemy fire. Mostly rockets.

I tell you truly and my memory shall always remember this incident very

Well, I completely buried myself under my G.I. Helmet,

( so to speak ) there, again, as truly as I will never forget, it seems

That I was knocking on the devil's door. He refused to answer. I could

Visualize this place, and on his refusal, it seems that the heavens

Also refused to take me. Soon the firing stopped and as I proceeded to

Come back into reality, pinched myself and found out that I was still

Alive. W o w.

 

One thing that I would never do, in times of great stress and to this

Day, I never made any battle field promises to the lord that i would do

This or that if he would spare me. I do not believe in false claims nor

Do I even this day. I want my beliefs to be strong and with out

Strings attached.

 

We proceeded into the Harz mountains, where we were on the move for

Three days with out any hot food, just our k rations. This is also

Where we learned that our famous commander and leader, Franklin Delano

Roosevelt had passed away. I believe that each soldier mourned the loss

Of a great leader.

 

On coming out of the forest into a nice clear hillside with a small

Village to the front of our squad. A food line was going to be set up

And hot food to be served.

 

In the mean time, volunteers were asked for to go into enemy territory

To check out future conditions. Since every thing had been real calm, I

Ventured forward for the venture. The patrol was very calm with no

Squirmishes and we returned ready for that hot meal.

 

The chow line was set up in a small valley like and with our mess kits,

We started down the line to fill up. My young buddy was right behind

Me and as we left the chow line, we went over just a little bit from

The line on a grassy area and started to eat.

 

Wholly hell broke loose. Enemy mortar fire came in and followed the

Chow line perfectly. Yes, buddy and I along with the other G.I.'s

Threw our mess kits and tried to work our way down to cover. We had

Some half track units that were real close to us and I managed to make

My way behind one of them. We were all screaming for medic's. I had

Received shrapnel wounds ( minor ) to my right hand. Was looking for my

Buddy but he must have taken a direct hit, for he was not to be found.

 

I was taken back to our rear command post, back in the little village

That I had mentioned, given first aid and told to rest there for a

While.                           

 

Talking with the Capt's dog robber, (personal servant for staff

Officers) he asked if I would take his job for he would like to go join

His twin bro. In another unit, close by. I said, you bet, any thing but

The front line. Soon, this was arranged and i was the dog robber.

 

This type of job has it’s benefits and also its rotten side. We had

An excellent Capt. However, a couple of it’s were shit heels and I soon

Found this out.

 

Don't want to say at this point. Our Capt. Aurback was a very fine gentle

Man. I have seen him lead us, and I mean lead, under enemy fire, from

Bldg. To bldg. As a good leader would do. Yes, he had fear, but his

Motto was that if it wasn't good enough for him, it wasn't good enough

For his men.

 

I would like to meet and visit with this man, yet to-day.

 

The encounters above took place in early April. Earlier, when going

Through the Harz mountains, I recall one incident where we were pinned

Down on a hillside while down below, on the road way sat a German tiger

Tank. The most feared, for they had armor that was very hard to

Pierce. Never will for get our Sarge. Tough old bastard and who was

Referred to as two gun something or other. The Sarge came along our

Line asking for volunteers to help him go down and blow up the tank,

With bazooka's, only. Promising a silver star award to those who would

Go. No one would volunteer for this mission. Boy, that tank sat down

There, rotating its muzzle up in our area and around, but never fired a

Shot. It started to move forward, around a bend in the road, where they

Say it had to cross a bridge. When it was out of sight, artillery was

Called in, we moved out and I understand that the tank was destroyed.

 

Shortly after, we were to board 6 by 6's and get a ride east and south

Toward Selb, Germany just short of the Czech. Border. This was on April

27th 1994. From there, we worked our way to Egar-to Falkenaw and close

To Karlsbad. Very heavy resistance still occurring, even though the end

Was so close.

 

It was close to may 5th that we closed in on a small village where one

Of the occupations of the residence's were to repair parachutes, repack

Them and return to the German air force. I was dispatched to the

Warehouse where I was ordered to secure two or three of same. Package

Them and ship them home for the officers. I was allowed to ship one to

My home, also.

 

It was directly after this was done that I requested to be returned to

The front lines. My duty as dog robber had no more lust for me. Would

Rather be on the front line than this type of duty. Request was

Granted by Capt. Aurback and away I went.

 

The very last day of enemy fire, some advanced troops suffered mortar

Fire and were calling for medic's and help. Our excellent lt. Took off

To help one of the wounded and got caught in another blast of mortar

Fire and was killed instantly. What a waste of life at this stage.

                                  

On the very next day, 7 may early morn, cease fire was called for and

To stand by and receive prisoners of war. What an awful sight to see so

Many German soldiers coming in, hands over head, dirty and ragged, and

This lasted in our area almost all day. Have no idea how many men that

Were processed.

 

Would like to comment that prior to this day, possible may 3rd or 4th.

1945, the last of the B-17 and 29 American air force bombers flew

Towards enemy positions located in and around Berlin. The sky was

Almost absolutely black with the number of aircraft. Could not help but

To remember that my bro. Bob, two years older than i, flew in one of

These earlier in the war as a belly gunner and was shot down over

Germany Dec. 26th 1944 and landed in Russia. Was treated well but

Rations were slim, consisting of the famous black bread and vodka.

Also was restricted to barracks. I was notified while I was on the front

Lines and i believe that was in march of 1945 and that he and the rest

Of the crew were eventually flown back to there home base in Italy.

 

We stood guard for a solid 24 hrs without sleep. Only k rations to eat.

Middle morn on the 9th of may the platoon leader came around and told

Me and another soldier to follow him to headquarters. The other soldier

Was Frank Kanalis. He and I talked a little bit and discovered that we

Were some of the newest replacements and that we were probably going to

Be shipped out to the far east and to fight against the jap's. Both of

Us were very disgusted and really wanted no part of this.

 

We were loaded into a jeep and driven to 16th regimental headquarters

(Karlsbad Czecho-Slovakia) dropped off at a very large bldg. And told

To get in line. Normal army procedure!!

 

Quite a line and of course, the old poop house rumors were flying high.

The one that struck me as the most goof was that a military band was

Being formed and that was why we were here. Regiments do not have

Bands. Division and armies have bands.

 

Sure enough, as I was up for interview with a s/Sgt. Stone I was asked

To verify that I was a musician and that I played the melephone in my

High school band and that I was also a drum major for the high school

Band. S/Sgt. Stone informed me that a band was being formed and a drum

And bugle core, also. Asked if I would lead and be in charge of the

Same and I replied in the affirmative, although I knew nothing about

This type of set up.

 

Was told to head off in another direction to regimental headquarters

Chow line, then return, pick out a cot and get some rest. Would be

Notified as soon as needed. Went the route. After a good meal, this was

Around early afternoon, I selected a cot, and would you believe, I

Slept for 24 hours straight. No wake ups or any thing. Talk about being

Tired and to have a peace of mind that there would be no more enemy

Encounters of the kind that we had just went through and that I was no

Longer and infantryman ( cannon fire fodder ).

                               

     as soon as we were rested, we were assembled to-gether, issued

Instruments and started to form up or put to-gether the military band

And the drum and bugle corp. Would like to insert this little tid bit.

I was a lowly private. Not yet even reaching the rank of Pfc. A lot of

The members of this newly formed unit, band and drum and bugle corp, we

Higher ranking non com's and had a whole bunch more service time on the

Front lines than I did. But, I was chosen to assemble the drum and

Bugle group and that is what I tried to do.

 

     To make a long story short, we were informed that there was to be a

Military parade of the troops and of course, the band would be the

Leaders as is protocol. Band members totaled almost 48 members and the

Bugle Corp followed with about 28 members.

 

     On the day of the parade both units formed on the parade grounds

And I was placed as the right guard at the extreme right of the band

And as the drum major would salute the reviewing stand, with baton, I

Would execute a hand salute. I could not even attempt to guess how many

Field soldiers were present. Just to say, many, many.

 

     The parade was reviewed by Field Marshal General Eisenhower,

General Omar Bradley, General Patton  General Scott and our asst. Div.

Commander Brigadier General George a. Taylor, plus division and

Regimental commanders.

 

     The purpose of the parade was to celebrate the end of the European

Hostilities and to present five medal of honor awards. Three

Posthumously and two soldiers present.

 

     Ceremonies went very well and one that i shall never forget. An

Honor to be just present and then to be selected as right guard of

Such a historical event. I don't believe history has ever recorded a

More famous presentation.

 

     We were to move out, 8 June 1945, 100 mile west to Bamberg Germany

To start the occupational process. This is a new and adventuresome

Quest and will add more as we go along.

 

     During my time on the battle field, there were so many acts of

Bravery, each minute, hour and day that are to numerous to mention. Some

So long ago that even memory will not return.

 

     I want to place this memo along with three books/manuals that I

Have. One is from my basic training time. Second is a paper back

History of the first division and the third is a complete text on the

16th infantry division

 

      I visited the 16th regiment at fort riley Kansas in the fall of 1989. I

Have two 16th infantry banners that were to be placed on the bugles and

Were never returned nor asked for. Would like these to be placed in the

16th's archives. Understand that the regiment is now called the ranger

Battalion?? Received address of Major General Albert Smith jr. 8070 n.

Casa Cameo, Tucson az. 85741. Corresponded with Mr.  Smith and am going

To do so again, soon.

 

Major General Smith also sent me a clipping of the death notice of our

Then Colonel, Batshit Horner, with the correct title as major general

Charles Horner, who retired in 1973 after a very distinguished career

And passed away April 4th 1992. How I wished that I would of been able

To have met and talked with him.

 

Also an address of a Ltc John Votaw, director, 1st div. Museum 1, S.

151 Winfield rd. Wheaton Il. 60187. I had wrote to Mr. Votaw but

Received no reply. Will try again, soon.

 

Returning to the every day events at Karlsbad, it was tuning up,

Standing in chow lines while having to watch the civilians begging for

Food. Not a happy moment.

 

When they say that war is hell, I sure will concede to that fact. What

A shameless way to kill/wound our fellow man. But what do we do. Live

In tyranny with terrible master minded leaders or fight for what we

Believe is right.

 

The allies fought for the right of freedom. That's the one that I

Believe in.

 

Want to end the war factor and start writing down what I remember of

Our leaving Karlsbad and heading to our 1st occupational station. As

Stated previously, we were to be stationed in Bamberg Germany.

 

A new and rewarding experience.

  

                            Bamberg Germany

 

                              June 8 1945

 

From the Karlsbad/Egar/Elbogan area, 100 miles west to Bamberg

Germany was a very uneventful ride, but a rewarding one, for the band

Was placed away from regimental headquarters, billeted in a small

Motion picture theater that had second and third floor apartments or

Rooms that were turned into our sleeping quarters.

 

       The drum and bugle corp was on the second floor and the band and newly

Formed orchestra was on the third. S/Sgt. Stone combined the band and

Bugle corp into one unit and the bugle corp was used only for officers

Reveille and retreat.

 

Might mention that at this time, the orchestra members were excluded

From any real band activities and practice. The orchestra preformed

Only for officers functions and selected non com gatherings.

 

I have in my photo album many pictures of the cathedral's in Bamberg

And some pictures of the religious parades that were observed. Very

Impressive and this town is one place that I would like to revisit.

 

Oh yes, Bamberg had one of the nicest lagar beer breweries that i know

Of. Every other day, the horse and wagon loaded with wood barrels of

Dark German beer would arrive and leave/sell us a 4 to 6 liter keg of

Good stuff. There was no refrigeration, the keg was placed on our floor

On a bench, bung stuck in and you drank this as water. Excellent.

 

We were issued monthly rations of liquor, plus we were able to by what

We called as bath tub vodka, gin, and potato schnapps. Believe me, this

Bath tub brew could be used in your cigarette lighter or drank.

Depended on the need or occasion.

 

Mother would send me a monthly box of goodies and as with all my other

Room mates, we shared these prize possessions. My room had eight men,

As i remember. One was a jewel.

 

Don't forget, I’m still a private and i have other ranking soldiers

Under me. It was my duty to get all the men up for bugle corp duty at

The officers quarters, which where about 1o blocks away from us. Can you

Imagine a lowly private telling a sergeant to wake up, get of his duff

And fall out. Some mornings it was one hell of a time with many slogans

Flying at me.

 

Back to the jewel, only remember his first name, Jimmie. Jimmie slept

With his eyes open, yes, open. We had returned from our morning wake up

Call. Had breakfast, returned to our room to make beds and to take a

Short rest. Of all things to happen, in walked a major and a lt. I

Called for attention immediately and all fell to.--except--Jimmie. He

Was fast asleep on the only top bunk that we had in our room.

 

The Major asked that I get that man on the floor and at attention. I

went to Jimmies bed and asked that he stand down, that we were under

Inspection and that the major requested his presence. Jimmie never

Looked around, just told me and any major that may be present to get

The hell out and leave him alone. There were other cuss words directed

At me and the major and oh boy, were things heating up. The lt. Went

Over to Jimmies cot and assured him that this was no joke, to get down

And stand at attention. Which he finally did. At that time, the Major

Asked the lt. To get the mans name rank and serial number and assign

Him to grave duty at once.

 

This meant that Jimmie would be put with a group of men, return to past

Battle fields to look for dead and missing American men. Not a duty

That any one would ask for.

 

Time passes fast and it was shortly there after that I received a

Rating of t/4 corporal. This was in Sept. Of 1945. My, I was coming up

In rank and superiority. I had by passed private first class.

 

Would like to say at this time, many times I had thought about removing

The stripes, for you can loose friends by attaining rank.  At one time,

I did remove my stripes from one of my daily shirts, but my old buddies

Convinced me to put them back on.

 

As I said, our daily duties were very minimal. Some mornings, when we

Would go for officers reveille, col. Horner would have one of the

Buglers go right up into certain officers dorm's. He would open a door

And we would blow reveille right into their bedroom. Wow, think that

Didn't wake them up.

 

Regimental kitchen quarters were close by our theater and believe me

The colonel saw to it that we were well fed. More on this subject on

Our next move.

 

Really not to much to add to our part as occupational troops. We helped

The orchestra entertain our troops, keep quarters clean. Had a whole

Bunch of fun.

 

Across from our billet's was a glass warehouse that stocked all types

Of kitchen settings plus wine serving glasses. This was posted as off

Limits for U.S. Troops. Why? I really don't know.

 

However, one day a few of us got word that we could buy things out of

The warehouse and they would ship them out for us. It was there that I

Sent home to my mom a set of wine glasses and decanter. Still have them

Except one glass got broken, later on.

 

Also, MP's caught a couple of us as we were coming out. Was wrote up and

Told to report to the mp's c.o. For disciplinary action. Skairt, you

Bet. But when I went before the reviewing officer, charges were

Dismissed and was given a warning not to enter a posted off limits area

Again.

 

I was the full fledged drum major, for s/sergeant stone spent all his

Time with the orchestra. Also, each month, as the discharge points

Built up, members of the band were being sent home. I was fortunate

Enough to have newer or later entrance into the service members and was

Able to keep a decent size marching and military band. I had a talented

Clarinet player that i put in charge of band rehearsal. I surely was

Not talented enough to do this, however i did at times. When not, I

Would play the baritone. Loved that instrument.

 

Would like to mention, just a few names of some of my old standby

( buddy's ).  Reggie Beeson, Hagerston Ind., James Mccombs, Teegarden

Ind., Dewey Durand, Spooner Wisc. and Vincent Hurd, Meriden Iowa. Would

Like to also include, Carl e. Ritner, West lawn, Pa.

 

Our next move, (and I cannot give and exact date,) we went north east

To Eisenhuttenstadt  Germany. Quite a distance from Bamberg. This town

Is real close to the German/Polish border and south east from Berlin

And Frankfurt. Am also enclosing an article about these barracks, for

They were occupied originally by German SS troops and regular army. It

Was quite a huge complex

 

When you entered the compound, the regimental headquarters were

Directly to your left. The 24 hr guard station barracks was on the

Right.

 

As you passed regimental headquarters, make a left turn, the band was

Quartered in the first barracks on the left. The mess hall was just

Left oblicke to our quarters.

 

Let me tell you about this mess hall, as I had mentioned earlier.

When we finished playing reveille or retreat, we would march around

The corner, discard our instruments, me my baton, and we were the first

In the mess hall. Col. Horner had one of the finest mess sergeant’s in

The e.t.o. He also insisted that German prisoners or German personnel

Serve our meals. It was strictly a sit down meal and could never be

Beaten.

 

Would never forget, that when we were traveling back to the U.S. We

Were told that when we got to our destination, we would receive a

Wonderful steak with all the trimmings. What a let down. Will tell you

More, again on this subject.

 

There were many parade's of the troops and that is where I received my

First experience of conducting the complete ceremony as far as the band

Was concerned.

 

I was very fortunate, for the first parade of the troops that I

Preformed ( drum major on my own ), an infantry Capt. Who was close by,

Came over to me and asked if I needed any assistance as to procedure.

I certainly replied, yes. Verbally he went through the routine and

Procedure, and believe it or not, every thing went well. And as future

Parades were held, it got better.

 

One of the most memorial occasions that I must mention. The band drew

Guard duty one 24hr period. My men were not accustomed to this type of

Regimentation. We were used to playing reveille and retreat. And

Spending the rest of the time just goofing off.

 

Well-- yes--24 men, plus myself as Sgt. Of the guard, took our station,

9 am. We were going to be on duty until 9 am the next day. Every thing

Went well until the evening hrs. My posted men were on duty at there

Post.

 

Those men that were off duty, unbeknownst to me, took off for town and

The beer gardens, as usual. This was not supposed to be and I did not

Know that this was happening until about midnight, when I done a bed

Check and was very short of personnel.

 

Then, all hell broke loose, the major came over at 7 am and called for

An inspection of the guard. I should of had eighteen men fall out. I

Had  four. The major blew his stack and ordered me to get to

Motor pool, get a jeep, get into town and get those men back into the

Barracks. Did the best that I could and by 9 am had every thing back in

Order, plus another two days of guard duty.

 

I also had to report to the colonel and explain why his regimental band

Didn't show up so good. After a little explaining, he excused me and we

Were never called for guard duty, again.

 

At this time, I would like to tell a little about a rest and relaxing

Trip that I received while stationed in Bamberg. This trip was

To Switzerland and Rome Italy.

 

There were numerous modes of transportation, and since this was my

First chance to get away from army life, any mode of transportation was

Super. Leaving Bamberg, we were to pick up various other soldiers that

Were to make the same trip.

 

As I recall, our first stop was in/at Zürich Switzerland. Here, we were

Billeted in a regular civilian hotel, a central bath only was on each

Floor. We were instructed that if we wanted to bathe, we were to notify

Front desk and they would see to it that the tub was filled. There was

No such thing as direct running water to this area. Doing so, and being

Notified that my bath was ready, I went to the bath area, disrobed, and

Climbed into the tub. Water very hot, but low and behold, a maid, yes,

A female maid entered to see if the bath was o k . Wow, I had never

Heard or seen anything like this. Sure different than back in Indiana.

 

I'm in the tub, and asked if she would bring me some cold water in a

Bucket. She did and poured it right over me and into the tub. Nuff said

About the Switzerland bath.

 

We had free time in Zürich and I went shopping and bought a wrist watch

For mom and dad and one for my intended, Allene, and sent them home. Oh

Yes, a good bottle of cognac to cure my aching bones.

 

We were taken up to the Zuckspitz Mountains. Quite a ride by electric

Train and cable car. Forget how many country's that you could see from

The top. One day trip and then back to the hotel.

 

From Zürich we traveled to Rome Italy, where we toured the Vatican, all

The famous catholic churches, and the catacombs.

 

One member of our tour group was of Italian descent and spoke there

Language fluently. He set up and evening spaghetti dinner for a group

Of about 12. Completely Italian. With sausages, garlic bread, red wines

And all the goodies that would make it one excellent meal.

 

0ur total cost for this meal was about one Yankee dollar. I mean I was

Stuffed.

 

There were more exciting things that happened in Rome, but to numerous

To mention.

 

Would like to say that at the Vatican, we did get to see an appearance

Of the then pope.

 

When it was time to board the train for our return trip to base in

Bamberg, I believe that I was one worn out doughboy/dogface. My bro.

Bob had also taken an R & R in Rome. However, that was prior to my

visit.

 

That takes care of the in between's. Now, time to get back to my return

Trip to camp Kilmer New Jersey and back to Indiana

 

Were now back to my last basic duties at Eisenhuttenstadt, Germany. In

The very first part of June 1946, I was notified that I had enough

Points built up that it was time to depart for the good old united

States. I turned over my command to the clarinet player, got rid of

Excessive baggage and was ready to go.

 

I really don't remember the distance we traveled to South Hampton or

The many repel depel's stations that we were processed through. Only

Know that it wasn't the most pleasant trip that I have made. Not the

Worst either. For instance, food was a rarity and we were used to

Eating the best. At times, on our return train trip, we raided chicken

Coops, that were close to our stops, grab eggs and ate them raw. Sure

Wished that I would of had a cold Bamberg beer to go with them.

 

All along the way, we heard that when we reached the states, and at

Camp Kilmer, we would receive the best steaks with all the trimmings

That we had ever had.  Well!!

 

When we finally arrived at South Hampton, England and boarded our ship,

The Westminster victory, a merchant marine vessel, they served us more

Really fresh food than we even had back at regimental headquarters. All

The good ice cream that we wanted, also. This we surely did not have

Before.

 

It was an uneventful ride for me, for I love the water. Some G.I.'s got

Very sick but it didn't seem to effect me.

 

 

We reached the states at dusk and as we were entering the harbor, we

Were passing the statue of liberty, when a list of men were called for

K.p. duty. Oh gosh, a Sergeant Richards was called. Sure hope there was

Another on board for I was in no way going down below when we were

Passing such a great monument to history.

 

We departed the ship the following morning and took our trip to camp

Kilmer, new jersey, where, after we were processed, we were to go to

The mess hall and receive that wonderful steak dinner.

 

 

I'm very sorry, but the steak was tough and the trimmings were

Like wise. Most of the group that I sat with got up and left the food

Remaining. Went to the PX and ate there.

 

The processing went fast and smooth and then we boarded trains that

Would take us to our final discharge center. Mine, of course, was camp

Atterbury, Indiana, located with today's map, on route 31, south of

Indianapolis Ind. And between Edinburg and Columbus Ind.

 

The time element was very fast. We went through a final physical and

Clothing allotment. Got all medical shots that we were to have, filled

Out many, many release documents and were almost ready to receive the

Ruptured duck award with the final discharge papers.

 

We were told, that when our discharge would be final, to have

Transportation available or they would issue travel orders to our home

Town. I called my mom and dad, told them that I would be released the

Following day, 26 July  11:30 am and asked if they would like to come

Down and get me or should i take travel orders.

 

Oh boy, dad said they would meet me and to designate a place of pick

Up. This I did and they were there to welcome me back home. We also

Took another G.I. whose home was in Albion Indiana and his folks were

To meet us at home to pick him up.

 

That is my story. As the old saying goes, I wouldn't take a million

Dollars for all the experience/ordeal's that my term in the army

Brought/gave me nor would I give a dollar amount to go back again.

 

How ever, under the same circumstances that Germany and Japan brought

To the United States, I value the freedom that we have, to ever give it

Up, and yes, even now, I would volunteer to serve my country in what

Ever manner I would be asked, to keep this freedom.

 

Because, I am proud to of been able to serve my country, and been a

Part of keeping the United States of America, our freedom.

                               Chaz and Donna at the 2009 Big Red One Reunion.

 

 

          

                                              Aug,18 1944-June 26 1946

May  1945  16TH INFANTRY REGIMENTAL BAND June 26 1946

DMOR 1st ID 16th Inf. Reg. -- Honorary Member Delta Co. 1st Battalion


WW 11 medals awarded to Charles (NMI) Richards

 

Combat Infantryman Badge---CID

Bronze Star, Awarded later years

Purple Heart—Awarded 16 April 1945

1st Div. Presidential Unit Citation with 2 Bronze Stars

Riflemans Badge

Army Good Conduct Award

American Campaingn Ribbon

V/Medal, EAME W/2 Bronge Stars

Army of Occupation---WW 11

French Croix de Guerre WW 11

Belgium Croix de Guerre WW 11

 

Joined the 1st ID 16th Inf. Reg. 1st Battalion, Dog Co.

Machine Gunner

14 Jan 1945