If you take a look at my picture, let me tell you do not put the chin strap on your jaw like that in combat. That was just for the picture. Two reasons you would not wear it like this is, one if a shell hits close to you the concussion could blow the helmet upwards and break your neck. The second is, an enemy could come up from behind pull the helmet backwards and choke you to death.
As you ask in your letter some of my memories from the war, I thought about it for a little while. One I have always remembered is when we were chasing Germans across Belgium, we were marching on the main road through this village, and we were halted and told to take a rest. We were by this small house, and a Belgian lady came to the window of a house opened it and brought a big waffle from the window and started making these big waffles for the G.I.’s. She did that as long as we stayed there. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes. The Dutch, Belgians, The Luxemburgers always treated us so nice! Sometimes I watch a war movie on TV and I see soldiers soaking wet, in the cold, icy snow weather, and I wonder how we did that. I do remember though that is was miserable.
Pfc. Marcus, a mortar gunner with the 12th Infantry Regiment’s Company M, recalls: “As we started through a firebreak there was a minefield and barbed wire. The company commander stepped on a mine. We had never encountered terrain like this to fight in. We had done no prior recon of the Huertgen”. Bradbeer argues that General Cota made three decisions “that would have far-reaching effects on his division’s assault into the Hürtgen,” in particular the decision that “neither he nor his staff would direct the division’s units to patrol into the forest.” As the 2nd Battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Sibert, later wrote: “God, it was cold. We were hungry and thirsty. The supply line was littered with dead. The men that came out with me were so damned tired that they stepped on the bodies they were too tired to step over them” . It was on this day, November 12th, 1944, in the process of withdrawing to a new line west of Germeter, that Lieutenant. Irvine died. A week later, the Company H commander, Captain Earl W. Enroughty was killed. The weakened 12th Infantry Regiment had been reverted to the 4th Infantry Division on November 11th at 7:00PM.
Only God brought us through.