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Saturday, February 26, 2011
Bill Sheldon used to tell stories about his experiences in WW2. After he became sick his wife had him write his experiences down. I was making a blog of my experiences in WW2 that pale into insignificance to his. Whenever my wife and I would visit them in George Washington we'd get to talking and he'd tell me about it. He was a proud patriotic American and proud of the exploits of the 3rd Infantry Division. One of the best in the US Army. Certainly the one that sffered the most casualties. But each man killed was a young vibrant man who never got a chance to live out his life because some politician didn't try hard enough to avoid this useless war. 280 people a day for 4 years killed. For what? Hitler couldn't cross the 20 mile English Channel. He certainly couldn't cross the Atlantic Ocean.
These stories lose something in the translation from him writing them down as compared to extemporaneously telling a story. It's so much better to hear them live.
But to get back to how this blog came into being. After Bill wrote his stories Virginia his wife, got out the History of the 3rd Inf. in WW2 and combined history with Bills stories and pictures and made them into a book in the form of a 3 ring binder. I am taking Bills story out of the binder and retelling it here in this blog. Sometimes adding to it from what I know of history of WW2 and Bill Sheldon. I'd like to point out the trauma he went through when early in the Sicily campaign his best friend Terry was killed. Compared to the infantry of course not a big a percentage were killed. But there were a considerable numbe killed. According to the 3rd Inf history about 47 in the 39th FA were killed, missing or captured. You might ask how could someone in the artillery be captured. Two were captured when operating as forward observers and got too far ahead and were captured by the Germans. I never got a chance to ask Bill what effect the death of his best friend Terry had on him but it must have been enormous.
Now go check my blog. That's an order!
3rd Infantry DivisionIn WW2 800 Americans a day for 1,000 days died, were wounded or were missing. There are still over 70,000 missing. World wide 25.000 people were killed each day for over 2,000 days. Some have had the audacity to label this "The Good War". There was nothing good about it. Others have labeled those who participated in it as the Greatest Generation. Each participated and did their duty as they were required. Bill Sheldon was one of those who did their duty and this is his record as best it can be reconstructed with what material is available. Pictures, film, and what he told people about his experiences. His experiences were confined to fighting others who were armed and did not involve killing innocent civilians. Each of those who died in WW2 was a person like you and me. Like Stalin said. 1 death is a tragedy. 50,000,000 is a statistic. Each life and death is a story. This is Bill Sheldons story.