The WWII 300th Combat Engineers

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The 300th at war.

Newsletters: Fall 2012

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Tyler Reunion, October 2012

The 300th Reunion was held in Tyler, Texas, October 5-7. Although the overall attendance was down, seven of the 300th men were able to make it and a good time was had by all. Chuck Bice coordinated the reunion and later said, “I was happy that most of the old men were able to be here and real glad to see several new family members. We will see you all next year.”

Don Richter, with the help of Gerri Morris provided the following account of the reunion on Saturday.

“We really did enjoy Saturday in Tyler at the 300th Reunion. We had a slim but nice turnout and did have seven 300th Buddies.
A Company: Cowboy Morris and Homer Garrett
B Company: Don Richter
C Company: Chuck Bice, Thomas Lakey, Aaron Glenn and Norman Webb with his homemade peanut brittle.

“Family and friends attending: Gerri Morris, Wanda Glenn, Ella Mae Lakey, “Tootsie” Richter, Brad and Cathy Guffy, Clayton Guffy, Tina and Jerry Pace, Floy Elmore, Mickie and Bill Lunsord, Kay Williams, Angela and Caleigh Gamblin, Sarah Williams, Sharon and Barry Renfro, Helen Pillack, Clayton Pillack, Alan and Noreen Crawford.

“Clayton Guffy set up the Guide On Banner. It had a very nice base to hold it with an inscription on front, All Gave Some - Some Gave All, and the history of 300th inscribed on the other three sides.

“I read a letter from Brad and Jan that they were unable to attend due to Brad’s emergency open heart surgery in August and that he was progressing very well and fully expecting to be at the next reunion. All responded that they had both been on our minds and prayers and expressed our thanks for all that they have done for the 300th ECB.

“Chuck gave a nice report on the three-day trip he and Homer had made together as Honor Guests of The World War II Museum in Washington, DC. They had a great time. Aaron told of a one-day trip he made there recently which was equally good but very tiring.  

“Tina (Aaron’s daughter) and Jerry are such a talented couple. They closed the program singing together and leading the group in singing with them. They opened with the National Anthem and closed with Amazing Grace with several other favorites between. They really were the life of the party.  There was picture taking and more conversation before we parted.”

Thank you Don for the report and see you all at the next reunion.

Jacob Reinhardt lands at Normandy

The following accounts are from the Diary of Jacob Reinhardt written at the time of his landing at Normandy:

It was a few days before we were to strike on the shores of France. You can imagine where we were there right out in a lonely clump of woods just a few miles from Camp Chiseldon, England resting up for the final blow on Old Adolf’s mighty fortress of Europe.

The truck drivers got their final instructions which were (1) drive out of the boat on the right hand side only (2) do not shift gears on the wet beach (3) get waterproofing off of trucks as quick as possible.

Well, these instructions didn’t mean nothing because we did the opposite. When we hit the beach, the trucks sputtered and popped. We had so much waterproofing on the motor it couldn’t breathe so the driver shifts gears. As I said, just opposite of what the orders read.

Well, we finally made it to our bivouac area after getting stuck in a nice deep ditch and had to be winched out by another truck. By the way, a major was the cause of that. There were dead Germans lying all around in ditches, fields and houses. Boy it was a sickening sight. Oh! Yes, everything in sight was tore to hell!

Jacob Reinhardt’s First Assignment

We got our first assignment which was to lay a minefield up around Carentan. We laid it in about thirty-six hours working day and night. Old Jerrie tried hard to keep us from laying the field. About every half hour he would give us an 88 barrage which scared us to death.

One incident, a sniper pinned us down and was shooting pretty close to our heads. We accomplished our mission by getting the mine field laid. We went back to our base camp and rested up until we got our next assignment which was a bridge job.

Jacob Reinhardt assisted in building the bridge at Carentan

We started for the bridge site a little after dinner and didn’t see camp for three days. This particular bridge was built on the outskirts of Carentan. We threw up a Bailey Bridge in no time at all with the help of one outfit which we took training with back in the States. They were assault engineers on D-Day and damned near got wiped out.

By the way, that Bailey is the back breaker of the engineers. Then the word came we had to tear out an old bridge and build a new fixed bridge in its place. The Old German sent a barrage of eighty-eights over every now and then. On the second day, one shell killed our Major and wounded a few of our men but still we worked hard to get the bridge up.

That same evening at chow, they started to shell us. One shell hit pretty close and everyone ran away except three of us. We stayed and watched every shell hit. One shell blew the roof off a house about 100 feet from us. Boy, shrapnel flew in every direction. (The funny part was the cooks wouldn’t give us seconds so when the enemy shelled us, all the cooks ran away and we ate to our heart’s content.)

After completing the bridge, we hit camp for a rest. The bridge was named after our Major who got killed there – The Tucker Bridge – one of the best built in France.

Excerpt from one of the 300th Newsletters, Enjun Ears Gazette

Company “A”
19 Feb 45

During the early days of last December’s German thrust into Belgium, members of the 300th Engineer Combat Battalion were subjected to a number of various experiences which contained both serious and amusing incidents. The experience of Lt. Alfred C. McNevin, of New York State, compares with something from fiction.

Lt. McNevin, commanding a platoon from Company “A”, had his men guarding two bridges which were to be blown in the face of the advancing “Jerries.” The day passed in waiting, with nothing occurring to indicate the necessity of destroying the bridges.

Darkness came and Lt. McNevin, seeing a tank parked in the woods nearby, walked over to pass a few moments conversing with its operators. The individual standing beside the tank, hardly visible in the darkness, received a sound slap on the back from Lt. McNevin, a gesture expressing comradeship and friendliness between brothers in arms.

The soldier, startled by such actions, mumbled something in German. At that moment, a ray of moonlight revealed a German soldier beside his tank and a bewildered American officer staring at each other in utter amazement and unbelief.

The initial shock passed and Lt. McNevin hurriedly departed in the direction of his man, refraining from wasting time in any farewell salutations.