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Posts posted by DwightPruitt

  1. I'm currently reading two books. The first is "The Slaughter" by Carroll Case, which deals with an alleged massacre of 1,000+ African-American soldiers of the 364th Infantry Regiment at Camp Van Dorn in 1943. Well, only about 50 pages deals with the "massacre'- the other 240 pages is a novel.


    The other book I'm reading "Now The Hell Will Start: One Soldier's Flight From the Greatest Manhunt of World War II" by Brendan Koerner. The book covers the story of Herman Perry, a African-American member of the 849th Engineer Bn (Aviation). Perry shot and killed a white officer while in Burma during the construction of the Ledo Road. Perry initially escaped and lived in the jungle with a Burmese tribe, was captured, sentenced to hang, escaped again, and finally was recaptured and executed.


    Let's just say that I'm not impressed with either author's work.

  2. US Army Tank Platoons have customarily had FIVE tanks -- two Sections of two tanks each and a tank for the Platoon Leader.

    Occasionally they have, on the ground, had only four or even three tanks, due to shortages in equipment/crews or combat losses (another form of shortage). Sometimes, in peacetime, a platoon would own five tanks but one or two would be "held in reserve" in the motor pool or Equipment Storage Site, with no assigned crew.


    Foreign armies often have fewer tanks at each echelon -- the "Americans are fat" thing. The USSR often had three or four in a platoon, and a five-tank platoon was considered by them "Reinforced".


    The U.S. Army went to a four tank platoon in the late 1980's. A four tank platoon is less cumbersome than the old five tank platoon.


    Elvis was in the scout platoon, Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion 32nd Armor at Ray Barracks, Friedberg West Germany.

  3. Melvin E. Biddle, the last surviving Hoosier to receive the Medal of Honor during World War II, died Thursday at his home in Anderson.


    He was 87.


    Friends said Biddle, a Daleville native, was a humble man who rarely talked about the two days in 1944 when he single-handedly killed more than a dozen German soldiers.


    "He didn't want to be publicized too much," said Lew Goodwin, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 266 in Anderson. "He told us he did it to help his buddies out. He got tired of being shot at. He got tired of everyone being pinned down."


    Biddle was a member of VFW Post 266 but had been visiting less frequently as his health deteriorated, Goodwin said. He said he never saw Biddle wear his medal.


    Fellow post members were proud to have Biddle among their ranks.


    "He was just somebody you could look up to," said Bennie Cravens, 66. "You felt proud to be a member of the same organization."


    Pfc. Biddle was a scout with the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment when his unit was sent to attack German soldiers encircling the town of Hotton, Belgium, on Dec. 23 and 24, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge.


    Biddle pushed through dense forest and used his rifle and grenades to kill more than a dozen German snipers and machine gunners, according to his award citation.


    "His 20-hour action enabled his battalion to break the enemy grasp on Hotton with a minimum of casualties," the citation said.


    With Biddle's death, there are 86 surviving Medal of Honor recipients, including Sammy L. Davis, a Vietnam War veteran formerly of Indianapolis.


    Davis, 64, said Biddle was known as "Uncle Bud" to fellow Medal of Honor recipients.


    "When I grow up, I want to be just like Melvin Biddle," Davis said. "He was a good man in every aspect."


    Davis had just undergone knee replacement surgery and was recuperating in a Vincennes-area hospital Friday. He said he hopes doctors discharge him in time to attend Biddle's funeral.


    "It's made my heart heavy," Davis said.


    President Harry S. Truman gave Biddle the medal on Oct. 12, 1945. According to the Medal of Honor Society, Truman whispered to Biddle: "People don't believe me when I tell them I'd rather have one of these than be president."


    Biddle is survived by his wife, Leona, and other family members. Funeral services were pending.

  4. During my Cold War service the U.S. Government trained me as a M60A2 crewman and sent me to Europe. I got to drink German beer, chase German girls, travel to countries I probably would have never afforded to see, play with tanks, blow stuff up and a couple of other things I really shouldn't mention....all the while paying me every month.


    I deserve a medal for that?



  5. Units like the 325th that also received unit awards of the Dutch Order of Willem (Dutch Orange Lanyard) and the Belgian fourragere to the Croix de Guerre for valor in World War II are only authorized to be worn by those who were there to earn those awards- thus they are no longer worn in the army today.


    Does this help at all?



    Allan, it may have changed but when I was a member of 3/33 Armor in 1978-80, we were authorized to wear the Belgian fourragere.

  6. Interesting post. I don't remember ever seeing a Spec rank above Sp-6 and that was on medics during my active time.


    I remember seeing one Spec-7 during my active duty days and he was in the Medic Platoon, HHC, 3/33 Armor. Most, if not all, of our Armor MOS (19J20) Sergeants in that battalion were "acting jack" Spec-5 wearing hard stripe insignia. However, once they hit E-6, they were Staff Sgt rather than Spec-6.


    Slang for Sp4 was "Speedy-Fours"

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