Captain
Name
Jack E. Foley
Nationality
American
Unit
E Company, 506th, P.I.R.
Location
Belgium - Germany - Austria
Date
1944 - 1945
Survived the war?
Yes
101st Airborne Division

Vivid memories...

When we left our position, Bois Jacques, we were trucked from there, into Bastogne (first time there since 12/19/44) and unloaded into another position to attack Foy - platoons abreast, and my platoon, the 1sr, was far left, then the 2nd, then the third, far right.  The 1st was the only platoon to encounter difficulty, spotted three Germans attempting to sneak back to the village, we trapped them in a field hut, I was covered as I crawled up and pitched in a few grenades.  Out they came (1lt + 2 NCOs), but unfortunately, one of those bleeding NCOs called us, in German, dumbheads, and my BAR man recognized the words and as the officer was moving toward his pistol, the BAR struck them all down.

When we rejoined the Company, in defilade, my 60mm mortar and bipod MG were taken away, to be put in battery to cover in the attack.  But no one, not Dike, nor Shames, nor Tipton were doing any planning - nothing.  I advised them that John Martin, Plt Sgt and I would take the 1srt up on the right towards Foy, using the trees and gully for some cover.  We would be in contact via our SCR580 but we were ignored, even when fired upon from, the nearest haystack, which we eliminated with WP rifle grenade.  We only knew what happened back there AFTER Foy was taken!  Never saw Winters but obviously he had appeared, sent Dike to the rear and had Spiers take over the Company.  I think that I Company, 3rd Bn joined in the attack from our (my) far right..  There is or was no Church in Foy - thus no one celebrated the victory by telling God how thankful we all were!

Germany

It was late April and we were in Germany, and Scouts were out. These men came back to report what they had just seen, and the Company (E) followed them and we all seen this.  A very large enclosure, fenced in wire but with the typical teutonic gate - two stone pillars supporting the wide gate.  Each pillar was 'topped' with the always present large thin black eagles,  The inmates, prisoners, better described as Displaced Persons, were few in number.  Apparently our unit was not the first to visit, find, remove, some of these emaciated bodies.  Some were along the fence and they had already given up the hope of surviving.  Those that were walking, staggering or  just collapsed on the ground, had sunken eyes and though we were recognized as "saviors", there was no glint of hopeful salvation.

To me, the most vivid sight of German reclamation, or should it be "recycling" was three large barrels, each perhaps 1 !/2 l m tall and perhaps a little less than 1 m in width.  The contents were sickening but typical to make every little "bit" aid in the continuation of the war effort.  These DPs were not going anywhere and they all are aware of this final stop.  As each was eliminated, from the bodies hair was saved and stored in one of those barrels.  In the others were their glasses or spectacles, and the other were teet, natural or otherwise, with the usual metal fillings.  These containers represented the remains of living unfortunates. Whether the Battalion, Regiment or others forced the local nearby inhabitants to view and bury the dead is something we did not see.  We moved on and within a day we were camped just outside Munich, not knowing, but preparing for the final march to end the war in Europe.

On May 8, 1945, Stars & Stripes issued their VICTORY edition, NAZIS REVEAL SURRENDER TO WESTERN ALLIES, RUSSIA.  We became Occupation Troops from the 8th of May through most of July 1945.  By the 31st we were on troop trains returning to France (Joigny, Auxerre, Sens, FR)  We went there to maintain our "jump" status, where the C-47s could become our vehicles of choice!   And E Company, again, was not housed in tents (I don't know of any unit that lived in Tents while in Austria, and in France, it was quarters in the local causern or taken over hotels, etc.

Kaprun, Austria

Back in Austria, and E was quartered in the village of Kaprun, just 2 or 3 ks from Zell am Zee - HQ for the 506.  We still pulled patrol duty in the nearby mountains, after all we had been told/advised that the "Last Stand" would take place there!  Sgt. Grant from my platoon, guard duty on those roads and unfortunately, he was shot.  Cpt Spiers, Gene Roe (Medic) and I were called to the scene, loaded Grant and rushed off to Bn Hq where the on duty officer (MD) inspected Grant and indicated that he could not do anything for him.  This was not Major Kent, Regt. MD, but some Captain, whose name I can not recall, and I don't want to.  All I recall of him - his dirty OD unform, sloppy.

So we rushed off and headed to Saalbach where we knew there was a hospital manned by German MDs (Berliners, actually). We drove directly to the hospital (how could we have known where one of those MDs was housed?).  They took him in and cared for him, saved his life.  I still have the letter from his family thanking me for writing and handling some of his affairs while in that hospital.  Mr. Don Malarkey was also another writer to this family.  And yes, the GI who caused all this trouble was a recent replacement, a member of Item Company, 3rd Bn/506th PIR.  He had not only wounded Sgt. Grant but had also killed a Brit, all over the need for fuel!  And he was punished, by some of the troops as well as a Court Martial.

Jack E. Foley


Copyright: D-Day, Normandy and Beyond

Purple Heart
Purple Heart
Bronze Star
Bronze Star
American Campaign
American Campaign
European African Middle Eastern
European African Middle Eastern

Veteran's personal file

157th Infantry Regiment

Jack E. Foley
Jack E. Foley
This picture was taken at Kaprun, a town 1 km from Zell am See in Austria. Jack is on the right, on the left is Lt. Bob McCutcheon.
This picture was taken at Kaprun, a town 1 km from Zell am See in Austria. Jack is on the right, on the left is Lt. Bob McCutcheon.
  • September 14, 2009
  • St. Bartholomew Church, Frankstown, USA

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