In his own Words.
“army service record”
Charles (nmi) Richards jr.
16th may 1944 to 26th july 1946
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
There were more exciting things that happened in Rome, but to numerous
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
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
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
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.
14 Jan 1945