is hereby made for the valued supervision and technical assistance of the following, without whose aid "WE RIPENED FAST" would have remained an undocumented adventure scattered throughout the multitudinous files of daily official journals:

Maj Gen William R. Schmidt, Division Commander; Brig Gen Henry C. Evans, Division Artillery Commander; Col W. W. O'Connor, GSC, Chief of Staff; Lt Col Alfred K. duMoulin, GSC, Div G-2; Lt Col D. C. Hester, CWS, Div Chemical Officer; Maj Lewis M. Marcy, GSC, Asst Div G-2; Capt George H. Feil, CWS, Asst Div Chemical Officer; Capt John R. Sennott, JAGD, Asst Div Judge Advocate; lst Lt Deron Kasparian and WOJG Robert S. Mitchell, 76th Sig Co; Sgt George Papp, Tec 4 Fred Berbig, Tec 4 Larry Reynolds and Tec 4 Paul S. Sundrup, G-2 Section; Tec 5 James 0. Leas, Public Relations Section; Cpl Rex N. King, Historical Section;

the officers and enlisted men -- particularly the photographers of the 166th Sig Photo Co;

and those officers and enlisted men of the division, too numerous to mention, who gave freely of their time to draw from stores of vivid memory the personal dramas of their daily combat lives.


1st Lt Joseph J. Hutnik, ADC
Tec 4 Leonard Kobrick

The torments of the battlefield stand forth in these pages of an infantry division's contribution to the fight against the nazi credo of imperialistic oppression, but the anguish of war was confined not to the battlefield alone. In homefront hearts and mil-ids there dwelt a vivid counterpart of the daily travail. While service stars watched apprehensively at windows for the postman, fears beyond stifling stalked the eternity of waiting, waiting, waiting; sat at every hearth, dined at every table, knelt at every altar.

To each home that lent offspring to country and battle; to each parent, relation, wife and child whose patient fortitude and sacrifice swelled the victorious ranks of our nation's armed might; and especially to those forever bereft of loved ones by the indiscriminate fortunes of war, -- this book is sincerely, reverently dedicated.

Division Commander

To the members of the 76th Infantry Division:

It was a great privilege and honor for me to command the 76th Infantry Division.  My association with those thousands of men who passed through its ranks will always remain the most stimulating and inspiring experience of my life.  No individual nor small group of individuals can create a successful military unit.  It takes the wholehearted cooperation of all, so I say the 76th was our Division.

Our Division was a great division, and it was spirit that made our Division great.  The 76th was composed of men from every state in the Union and from every walk of life.  Some were officers, some were non-commissioned

officers, and some were privates.  All these men brought to the Division from their homes an all-American spirit of willingness to face the facts and to create something good.  We need only to look at the record to see that that which we created was good.

Nothing was more vital to our successful battle record than those long, hard months of training in every variety of terrain and climate.  There was the lush countryside of Fort Meade, Maryland; the heat, dust and swamps of Camp Hill, Virginia; the rugged hills and forests of Camp McCoy, Wisconsin; and the ice and snow of midwinter on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Michigan.  There were long fatiguing marches, endless physical discomforts, mental strain, and an almost continuous struggle for readjustment to a new life and to changing conditions and requirements of that new life.  In spite of all this, the Division files attest that we accomplished every training mission with success and left a trail of good will and a reputation for gentlemanly conduct wherever we went.  These results indicated that the 76th had acquired in its stride the teamwork and stern discipline essential for success.

It was no accident when we plunged into the deep snows and dense forests of the Belgian Ardennes to initiate our combat record that one success was to follow another, because hard work and self-discipline always produce success, and we had acquired both as steady habits.  In our success parade we can all recall Luxembourg, the Siegfried Line, Trier, the Kyll, Wittlich, the Moselle, the Rhine, Camberg, Schmitten, Usingen, and many others.  We will also always remember that mad dash across Central Germany from the Fulda to the Mulde where we made contact with our Russian Allies.  A glorious record that covered over 400 miles in 110 days of continuous combat.

None of us will ever forget those stirring days, nor will we ever forget those comrades who are not here to enjoy the fruits of our victory.  To them must always belong the greater glory. They paid the full price.

To all who were ever members of the 76th, I desire to send greetings and to express my deep appreciation for your intelligent, loyal and self-sacrificing work.  Your best reward should be a deep personal satisfaction for a job well done.  I sincerely hope that our trails will cross again in more pleasant times of peace, and that all of you will devote some effort and thought for the continued welfare of our country which you served so well in war.

Major General, U. S. Army

When Maj Gen William R. Schmidt assumed command of the 76th Infantry Division in December, 1942, he brought with him knowledge and experience gained from active military duty that began with his graduation from West Point in 1913. The General entered the first World War as a 1st lieutenant and emerged a major, having served during this time at Schofield Barracks, Pearl Harbor, the Presidio, San Francisco and at Camp Fremont, California.

His knowledge of military tactics was gained from studies at the Military Academy, the Infantry School, the Command and General Staff School, Army War College, Chemical Warfare School and the Army Industrial College. He learned to impart his knowledge to others by teaching military science and tactics at the University of Illinois and Ohio Northern University. He served also on the faculty at West Point, jour years on the Mexican Border and jour years on the War Department General Staff. More than two-thirds of his thirty-three years of service has been duty with troops.

In August, 1945, Gen Schmidt assumed command of the Third Infantry Division, a part of the occupational forces in Germany.


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