304th Infantry Regiment

Additions, Corrections and Memories

PFC France Cook CPL Earl Huntoon SGT Richard Schappel Col Frank P. Shaw
F. Lee Campbell LTC Stephen G. Andreas Capt. Helmer R. Miller Theodore "Ted" Scheer
Bob Fahey Frank T. DeMarco,KIA SSgt Theadore Sunderland Orlo Westfall

Letter written to me in response to inquiries into the death of my Uncle, PFC Hollis A. Cloyd on 25 Feb. 1945.

NAME: PFC France Q. Cook, 3rd Platoon, G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (28 Jan 99)

In the morning of 25 Feb. 45 we were located in a wooded area. We were being shelled by the Germans. Much of the artillery was exploding in the treetops(TREEBURSTS). Concussion would break off limbs that would add to the objects that maimed or killed. The concussion would come to the ground, lift things up, and drop them with a deadly force.
Hollis was a Rifleman. He was to my left about 20 yards away. A round came in and exploded near his area. I ran to see if he was OK, but a tree about 8" in diameter had been driven thru his intestinal area. He was laying on his back, he was pinned to the ground, but conscious. He said to me, "Cook, go save yourself, I'm dying."
What amazes me is he could not move, yet he seemed to be at peace without fear, and didn't seem to be suffering when he spoke to me. He was in a state that couldn't be helped. The tree was approx. 20 feet tall.
There is hardly a day that I don't think of him. I have shed many tears since 1945. I was cursed with a total recall and photographic mind. Please excuse me if my words hurt you. Each detail I have stated is truthful.
Sincerely yours,

France Q. Cook

P.S. I was the only guy in the Army that had such a wide chin. I am standing behind Hollis in the picture. (Picture of G Company, taken at Fort McCoy, WI Oct. 44)
P.S. Jr. I was 80 years of age on 20th Dec 98.

Born: 20 December 1918
Died: 10 December 2002
This day resting in God's loving arms.

Another response to my inquiry. Pictures were sent but are not yet added.

NAME: Cpl. Earl Huntoon, 2nd Platoon, G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (30 Jan 99)

Since I will hit the 80th year mark next week, my memory for names is not too good, however, when I saw the picture of Hollis, I found him next to Jack Keller, who was killed,I believe, in the same battle. Keller was in my squad and I was very close to him when he was hit. Hollis was not in my platoon, possibly either in the first or third platoon, so I can't recall his wounds or death. Keller was killed instantly and most were killed by heavy artillery fire so death was instant.
I am enclosing a few items and pictures that I am sure your uncle Hollis shared with me in the service of Company G.

1. Last picture of Company G taken at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. See Hollis Cloyd, Jack Keller, Earl Huntoon, Phil and Harry Erickson (both on your list, but no longer living). The Lt. that sent the final message to hour aunt is also pictured.
2. We left Camp McCoy around the middle of November by troop train and arrived at Camp Miles Standish in Mass. about two days later. We had approximately two weeks there, getting new clothes and equipment.
3. We had an early 1944 Thanksgiving dinner at 5:30 A.M. and left Camp Miles Standish by train to Boston Harbor.
4. We went aboard the S.S. Brazil with 8000 G.I.'s. Two weeks at sea, docked at South Hampton, England.
5. Southampton to Bournmouth, England.
6. Had final Christmas dinner in Bournmouth and we were advised we were leaving for France. We had no knowledge of the Battle of the Bulge, or that we had been assigned to General Patton's 3rd Army.
7. Had a very rough ride in an LST across the English channel, to La Havre, France.
8. In France, we had an 11 hour, non-stop ride in open trucks.
9. (Reached Luxembourg)
10. G Company, 2nd platoon made the cover of the "76th Division History Book". This was taken early in Feb. so I am sure Hollis was some place down the line.
11. We were in the Siegfried Line (Feb. 17th)
12. Feb. 25th at Holsthum, Germany, the last day of the life of a very fine and brave G.I., PFC Hollis Cloyd; may God Bless him!

I would like to say, you have brought back a lot of memories Gerald, and I hope the enclosed will be of help in remembering PFC Hollis Cloyd, a fine soldier.
Respectfully yours,

Earl F. Huntoon

Letters written home by Mr. Huntoon, personal passages are omitted.

P.A.Spiller, 2nd Lt.
C/PL E. Huntoon-36726004
304th INF. Co G
A.P.O. 76
MARCH - 3 - 45

Somewhere in Germany
My Darling,
We are tired-Dirty and worn out. Boys sitting around a German table and writing our first letter home in a long time. I guess we have gone a long way and every step has really been rough going. I never dreamed it was so bad and nobody else can possibly have till they see for them selves. We pray from the time we jump off on an attack till the last German is dead or captured. It's awful to be joking with a kid before you jump off and have to leave him dead on the first open field...

V- - - --MAIL

C/PL E. Huntoon-36726004
304th INF. Co G
A.P.O. 76
MARCH - 8 - 45

My Darling,
Sorry for not writing for such a long time but I guess you understand...The last attack we only had 7 of old Lt. Spiller's 40 man platoon so you know they are really playing for keeps. I guess I've said a million prayers in the last couple of weeks and I know you must have also. Lost practically all my stuff but my aspirin and your picture...

V- - - --MAIL

NAME: SGT Richard Schappel, Company HQ, G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (1 Feb. 99)

We of G Co., 2nd battalion, 76th Infantry Division were enroute to WWII in Nov. 1944 after a week of rugged maneuvers in the field. We left Camp McCoy, WI for Camp Miles Standish near Taunton, MA in GI Pullmans which were box cars with bunk beds anchored to the floor. We were at Miles Standish for only a few days before boarding a troopship, the Brazil, and setting sail on Thanksgiving Day 1944 for England. The sail was made in a convoy with several man-of-war from the USA and France and most of it was relatively uneventful except for rough seas which made a lot of us hang over the rails seasick. It was very foggy our last day at sea, yet suddenly out of the fog a RAF plane flew overhead at low altitude. I guessed he had a mission to locate the convoy. It was quite a thrilling event; we knew then we were close to land. The night before one of our destroyer escorts had detected subs and had dropped depth charges to scare them off.
The 76th Division landed at Southampton, England and was transported by train to Boscomb, near Bournmouth on the English Channel, where G Company (we were known in combat as "George" Company) was quartered in a rundown brick (apparently missing a lot of mortar) antiquated hotel right on the shore. Barbed wire extended in the water up and down the coast as far as the eye could see, strategically placed to ward off German invaders from the sea. The wind blew strongly off the Channel and through the window frames right into the rooms. It even put out a fire in the fireplace which was all we had to keep warm. While we were there, the English newspapers started to carry headlines about the beginning of the famous "bulge". The news sounded ominous to us who were about to face combat; ominous it soon proved to be. Passes to London were handed out on occasion but I don't know if Hollis ever got there. After almost a month in England we were transported to France. LST's were large "Landing Ship Tank" vessels with flat bottoms sized to convey lots of personnel and vehicles. They could move to within a few feet of the shoreline, thereby permitting almost "dry" landings.
After a full day on that slow ship we arrived at LeHarve, a French Channel port, which had been in Allied hands since late summer 1944. It was cold and the ground was covered with snow. It was evening and all I could see were destroyed or burned out buildings. There were no lights but the roads we took were clear. The 2nd Battalion and G Co. walked and walked for hours though no one seemed to know our destination. In those times enlisted men were apprehensive but did what they were ordered to. We showed individualism by griping. After several hours on slick, snow covered roads, G Co. was marched into a snowy field and told to pitch tents for the night. It wasn't easy to do and the next morning some GI's sincerely felt they had frozen feet. There was a lot of discomfit and yelling but we all lived.
The following day trucks took us to Imbeville, a rural town in Seine Inferior Province, France, where the Company was broken up by platoon sections to stay in poor local French homes. The stay was for roughly a week. Then in a series of train rides in 40 x 8's and trucks we got to the area of the bulge in a Belgian farming village called Hives. Bulge fighting was still ongoing but the area around Hives had been liberated. We were committed to reinforce the 17th Airborne Division which, although a late comer to the Allied offensive, was meeting with success in stemming the German offensive. We never saw action at that point but we were constantly on the alert guarding for rumored German paratroopers landing in the fields around the town. That never happened. The 17th was so successful that plans for the 76th Division to go on the attack in Belgium were cancelled and preparations were made for us to be used further south.
After a few days, G Company was loaded on trucks and driven all night in subfreezing temperatures via a route parallel to the front to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, which had also been overrun by the German war machine. From that time on we became used to the sound of gun fire, sometimes incessant, both night and day. The tarpaulins for those trucks were unuseful so we rode exposed to subfreezing temperatures all night long. Everyone was extremely cold and it was a wonder to me that no one had frozen body parts in the morning. We stayed all day in an uninhabited town named Bech and walked at nightfall to another uninhabited town, Osweiler, some 2 miles from the front. The abandoned large city of Echternach, Luxembourg, the German border, and the Siegfried Line lay before us. There were lots of evidence of fighting in the area with much damage to the buildings and whole forests of trees cut at mid-height, presumably by marching fire. This had been "bulge" only a few weeks before. Our activities had to be conducted at night since the 304th Regiment was committed to front line action and G Company's mission was to defend Osweiler. Platoon personnel manned concealed observation posts with field-layed telephone lines into Osweiler for alarming purposes.
The dividing line between us and the Germans in their Siegfried Line was the flooded Sauer River. The Siegfried Line was a series of highly reinforced fortifications, called pill boxes, with viewing advantage toward Luxembourg, and deep trenches between fortifications. The Line had been constructed by Hitler several years before the War. The area in the 2 miles to the low lying Sauer was a no-man's land. G Company conducted combat patrols at night into that area to look for secret German activities. Since most men had at least one experience with a combat patrol, I'd think that Hollis was on one of those missions, perhaps more since he was in a rifle-carrying platoon. He also probably helped man the observation posts. We moved a for short time into a town called Berbourg, little further from the front, for rest and to prepare for the oncoming assault into Germany.
When it came time to invade Germany, another regiment of the division, the 417th, was selected to lead the offense by crossing the Sauer in pontoon boats. In 1989 there was a damaged one in a place of honor in an Echternach city park. The river was wide and deep. (When I looked at the river in 1989, it was so peaceful, narrow, and so shallow that I could have waded across it and not gotten my knees wet.) Our invasion started at night. Once the pontoon activity started, the German firing became tremendous. The 417th's assault was successful over what I think was a two day period but with many, many casualties. A bridge was erected across the river under gunfire and our armor got across. We other regiments in the division, the 304th and the 385th, replaced the 417th and cleared and defended the land up to and through the Siegfried Line. The 76th Division was later complimented by General George Patton for fighting and breeching the German defenses at this area. For a while, the company was quartered in the just abandoned pill boxes a couple of hundred feet up the cliff from the town.
When we left Echternacherbruck, we went on the offensive in the Prum River operation. This was when Hollis unfortunately met his fate. The Prum River operation is covered in detail in the enclosed pages I have zeroxed from the 2nd Battalion History. Unfortunately, the battalion history, of necessity, was written from the overall battalion rather than the company perspective so many of the events that tore a GI's heart out, such as the loss of a buddy, are not given. But they are remembered.
About the history book, I'm sure no extra copies are available. It was published right after the war and I'm sure has been out of print since then.
The Prum River operation was a true baptism under fire. Although we had gone through woods without encountering German opposition, we ran into German rifle defenses as we reached an open farm field. We eventually were able to storm across the field into another wooded area on the other side of the field. It was there that the battalion spent the night constantly being shelled, at some times worse than at others.
The date of that fight was Feb. 24th, 1945 and I believe Hollis was wounded or killed during that night or in the morning by the shell fire mentioned above. Several G Company men were killed or suffered shell shock then. I remember that the medic for G Company who would have treated Hollis' wounds was a very dedicated and brave man, constantly exposing himself to gunfire to give aid to those in need. He deserved a medal but I don't know if he ever got one.
Most of the events are still fresh in my mind though I had to do a little research in the battalion and divisional histories to piece things together smoothly. Even at this late date death of people so young, such as Hollis was, is a very emotional thing. I send sincere heartfelt regrets to you all his descendents.

Richard "Bert" Schappel

NAME:Col. Frank P. Shaw,G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (28 Jan. 99)

I regret that I cannot help your search for information about your uncle's service in G Company of the 304th Infantry. I commanded the company in early 1944 at Camp McCoy but was shipped out as a replacement in April. I joined the 22nd Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division in England and took part in the Normandy landings. I lasted until D+6 when I was wounded and sent back to England for hospitalization.
So I missed Hollis Cloyd, such a nice looking young man. At the time I regretted not being able to serve with the company I had been with for a year, where I knew every soldier and his abilities and where they knew me. Later, after seeing how quickly and violently a unit could be destroyed, I was glad I did not have to witness the death and disabling of those I knew so well and considered as friends. Going with strangers made things easier although I know we were not nearly as efficient as the old unit would have been.
I am pleased that your family is remembering your uncle. So many fine young men who lost their lives before having families of their own tend to be forgotten. You and your family are to be commended.
Enclosed is a listing of veterans of G Company, 304th Infantry as listed in the latest 76th Division Association roster (not shown). Perhaps you can find someone there who knew your uncle. The only ones I knew who are listed are Steve Andreas and Leon Shlofrock but they too were shipped out in the spring of '44 and saw combat in other units.
Your listing of Hollis' decorations includes the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal. Unless he had service in the Pacific before joining the 76th Division, which appears doubtful from what you have said about his service, that is in error. However, he was entitled to the American Campaign Medal for service withing the United States.
(Hollis Cloyd did earn the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/1 battle star and the Bronze Star while serving with the 138th Inf. Regt. with the Alaskan Defense Command in the Aleutians from June '42 until June '44 when the 138th Regt. returned to the States and was deactivated at Camp Shelby, MS in Jul. '44. He was assigned to the 76th Div. in Aug. '44)
I wish you success in your search. I am sorry I cannot offer more help. Best wishes to you and your caring family. We need more like you.

Frank Shaw

NAME:F. Lee Campbell, G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (28 Jan 99)

Sorry that I can't be of help. I was with G Company from May to mid-August, 1944. I was then sent overseas as a replacement and ended up with the 102nd Division in northern Germany. Apparently your uncle was assigned to G Company shortly after I left it. I wish you the best of luck on this project.

Lee Campbell

NAME:LTC Stephen G. Andreas, G Co., 304th Inf. Regt. (29 Jan 99)

Sorry but I can not provide you with any information relating to PFC Hollis A. Cloyd. I was part of a large group of soldiers that were transferred out in April 1944. I served with another unit in Europe. Some of us, mostly from Co. G, made it an effort to meet at its annual reunions. I would have been proud if I were able to serve with PFC Cloyd.

Steve Andreas

NAME:Capt. Helmer R. Miller, 3rd Battalion, Medical, 304th Inf. Regt. (29 Jan 99)

I received your letter regarding the death of your uncle Hollis Cloyd. I was so sorry to hear that, however, I do not recall any Hollis Cloyd coming into our aid station. Usually in such serious cases, we sometimes take the casualty back to the field hospital with our own jeep as fast as we can. Also, any records regarding the wound, how it happened etc. would be documented by his own company clerk.
Since part of my job was to go forward with the Infantry and set up a forward aid station with the advancing troops, I was not always in the aid station. It is possible that another aid station may have picked him up too. This happens when troops get spread out. We picked up many a man from other outfits.
I am so sorry to hear about your loss, and wish I could help in some way. It has been so long ago. Capt. Ryan passed away about 10 years ago. I can't even contact any of our men, since I am the only one left of the 3rd Battalion 304 Medics.

Helmer Miller

NAME:Theodore "Ted" Scheer, Co. K Weapons Platoon, 304th Inf. Regt. (15 Mar 02)

I was with Co. K Weapons Platoon of the 304th when it shipped out from Boston POE. Eighteen years old, yanked out of high school in California in April before graduation, and sent to Camp Hood, Texas for 16 weeks basic training. When I got off the train at Camp McCoy I wondered what that foul smell was...coal. After ending up in a 60mm mortar squad and winding our way across the ocean and across the English channel to La Havre, I turned 19 in in a barn in Belgium on our way to the war. That was January 12th and a few days later we were in Luxembourg, relieving a gun crew of the 87th Division (I think) in a log-covered dugout overlooking the Sauer River. This was in the dead of night and we traded mortar rounds with the departing squad and threw our mortar through the doorway of the dugout. There was a big "Splash!", as there was what seemed like a foot of water in the dugout. That was our introduction to the war. That was our introduction to the miserable war, although we had seen much dead equipment and bodies on our trek up to the front.
In February, as we started to move eastward, we crossed the Prum River and moved uphill toward our objective, a farmhouse or village, and I made squad sergeant the hard way, as an 88 shell landed on "Whitey" in front of me. Another little goof-up occurred about that time as we moved up a hill on a road at dawn and were suddenly pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire from the valley below us. Seems that the neighboring American outfit had not been told that we would be passing through. There was an exchange of gunfire for a little while and it eventually got straightened out.
After that, there was a general eastward movement. We crossed the Moselle River in boats at midnight to secure a bridge at Muhlheim. There our company medic (Pvt. William D. McGee) got the Congressional Medal the hard way as he went into the minefields on the east bank to help wounded men in other boats. In a field away from the river, we were digging foxholes to spend the rest of the night and my next door neighbor chilled me with the terse "Scheer! I think I've hit a mine!" Well, that turned out to be a stone, but if you ever heard tenseness in a whisper... Our company was assigned to guard that bridge and we lived high on the hog for a week with Moselle wine in every cellar, and suppllies dropped to us from Corps quartermaster, including steaks. After that we rejoined our regiment on the way to the Rhine River and our company was assigned to ride trucks at the back of "Task Force Fickett", a 6th Cavalry squadron that went on a 200 mile romp on the east side of the Rhine, spreading (we hoped) confusion in the fleeing German ranks. As we crossed the Rhine at Boppard on a pontoon bridge, I opened a package from home that had caught up with me. In the middle of the Rhine, I opened a bottle of vitamin pills from my Mom, and flipped a pill in the air to catch it in my mouth. I think I caught it, but my helmet strap had not been fastened, and suddenly my helmet was in the Rhine River. I got another soon. These are the kind of events that are the most fun to relate.
When the war ended and the Division deactivated, I was transferred to the 3rd Chemical Mortar Bn in Erlangen, near Nurnberg. Here I had a 4.2 inch mortar squad and we commenced training for the Japanese invasion. The 3rd had glided into North Africa and packed on mules in Italy. Now we were preparing to glide into Japan. I was very happy when that war ended in September. These old men started shipping back and I was picked to replace the Supply Sergeant, and gained my Staff Sgt stripe. That outfit went home and I went to the (778th?) AA Artillery Bn which soon shipped out also. Then I transferred to a PX Quartermaster Platoon in Munich where I acquired another rocker as Platoon Sgt. I tried to grow a quick mustache to augment my 19 year old aura of authority. After our platoon was transferred to take over the Nurnberg PX Depot, I have often wondered whether it was a coincidence that the PX depot that we had left in Munich caught fire shortly after we left.
After being mustered out, I went back to school, married, became a chemical engineer with Richfield Oil (ARCo) and spent 25 years working with natural gas in Bakersfield, Dallas, and Los Angeles with assignments in Alaska, Indonesia, and Dubai. Retired in 1985 from ARCo. My wife and I have three sons, each with a grandson and grand-daughter. We now live in the mountains south of Bakersfield and I hike and climb ocasionally as my arthritis permits. My doctor tells me I have a curved spine, and I often wonder whether it might trace back to the many miles of carrying that 45 pound mortar or ammunition on my right side.
After never having seen a beer stein during the war days, my wife and I now collect antique beer steins, mostly German, and we have made a number of trips in Germany, including two stein conventions in Trier and Hamburg, put on by our German chapters. This July we will attend our third in the Munich region. I have been back to the little village of Eschefeld, east of Altenburg, where my squad manned a roadblock until the Russians took over. I remembered the house where we were billeted, and the Ratskeller across the street, and the lake we swam in, the forest we hiked in, and the fields we shot rabbits in, but not a church that was just a few doors down the street. And I wondered whether some of the bent old men and women that I saw had been in the groups of people going out to till the fields when we were there. Also how they fared with the Mongols that replaced us.

Ted Scheer

NAME:Bob Fahey, Co. D, 304th Inf. Regt. (19 Jun 02)

George Georgeff, Dave Fratt (KIA) and I had just finished lunch. We were billited at a large former Victorian-like spa in Bournmouth, Eng. We had been given oranges, and were walking down the street eating them.
An elderly man and a little boy aproached us. The man said, "Would you fellows allow my grandson to see your oranges and let him sniff them? He's never had one." All three of us leaped a wall, sneaked into the mess hall storage room and grabbed some of the fruit. All in all, the man and boy left with at least six or seven oranges.
Sure, we could have been in trouble, but it was worth seeing the joy on the young lad's face at his first taste of an orange. It was a lesson on how much the Brits had missed during the war.
The spa was called Linden Hall Hydro. Does anyone remember? I am the only one left of the three. George, from Osego NY, died of a heart attack c. ten yeas ago.

Bob Fahey
401 Ave. E
Ft. Madison, IA 52627
319-372-1988 E-Mail: parkview@interlinklc.net
D Company, 304th Infantry

NAME:Frank T. DeMarco, Co. E, 304th Inf. Regt. (14 Jan 03)

Let me introduce myself, I am Joseph M. FRANSQUET from Belgium. I am looking for any useful information from your office. I live near the American Memorial Cemetery of Neuville-en-Condroz, in Belgium.I am the sponsor of two American soldier's tombs in this cemetery. The first tomb is an unknown soldier's tomb only to God. I am looking for information about the second. It is the tomb of:

PFC Frank T. DE MARCO, 3rd Army, 76th Infantry Division,
304th Regiment, 2nd battallion, E. Company, serial number 39050069

He was registered in the State of California. He died on April 16, 1945, probably in Germany. He was 19 years old. He is buried in Square A, row #21, tomb #21.
Do you have any information to provide regarding Frank? Did you know him or do you know someone who might have know him and could provide me with information? Do you know if he still have family living? I am hoping that you will be able to help me answer these questions.
Thank You,
E-Mail: jo.fransquet@teledisnet.be

NAME: SSGT Theadore Sunderland, 304th Inf. Regt. (21 Apr 03)

I am a niece of Staff Sargent Theadore Sunderland. He was killed before I was born. His family, my Father's side, had 13 children. Six of my uncles were in World War ll, in all branches of the military. I am a proud patriot, and so very deeply grateful for their sacrafices for us. To each and every one of you who defended our freedom. We have so much to thank you for.
At any rate, the reason I am searching for his history is I only have one Uncle left from my father's family, the rest of the children are gone and along with them the past of their military history. I don't have much to bring to my children when they ask me about our heros. I do know what my aunt told me in a brief history.
Uncle Ted was killed on April 24, 1945, near Drivenden Germany. His body was not recovered immediately due to heavy shelling so his patrol had to vacate the area. Only one person escaped the ambush. Later his body was recovered, found in a U.S.cemetary in Neuville-en-Condroz Southwest of Liege, Belgium. He is now interred in the Mt. Olive Cemetary in Knoxville, Tennessee. This is his birthplace. My aunt told me of a letter written by one J.B.Fowler Jr. I don't know if this gentleman is still alive, but his letter is part of the pride we have for our vets and servicemen and women. My uncle Ted recieved the Purple Heart Medal, posthumously June 13, 1945.
My husband, son, brothers, brothers-in-law, uncles, nephews, nieces, and friends have given to a rich tradition of military service, for which I am profoundly grateful.
Thank you for the forum, your dedication to this web site, and your service.

Julie Petersen

NAME: Orlo Westfall, HQ, 304th Inf. Regt. (22 Dec 04)

My uncle Orlo Westfall was in the 304th service section. His picture appears in the 76th headquarters group shot. He also was one of the founding members of the 304th association back in 1945.
I have one postcard sent from Bitburg addressed to my father. Also photo copies of some letters he sent to his sister while on campaign.
Unfortunately, the original pictures of him and the headquarters at the end of the war were destroyed after his sister died. I only have a photo copy. I would appreciate any information from veterans who might have known him.

Richard Westfall
E-mail: westfall@crocker.com

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