“I was employed in the family business until the outbreak of WWII, C. Schrack & Company now called Old Village Paint which is now run by my daughter Laney, a paint and varnish manufacturer.
I tried to enlist in all the U.S. and Canadian Armed Forces but was rejected because of allergies. I was later drafted into the U.S. Army, allergy restrictions lifted.
I completed basic training at Camp Dorn, Miss. 1942, then on to advanced war training in Texas at Camp Maxi. I was sent to England in early 1944 in preparation for the invasion of Europe. I went ashore at Normandy beach on D+4 with the First Army, commanded by General Omar Bradley. I pushed on several miles through St. Mere Eglise to the French hedgerows. These were incredible obstacles, rugged and tough. We finally broke through behind tanks fitted with saw-toothed plows on the front. I was an infantry B.A.R. man following the tanks through. A B.A.R. gave me a lot of firepower, 30 some plus rounds in each clip. The Germans knew this and always tried to pick off the B.A.R. man.
After the hedgerows our target was Cherbourg. I had joined up with the 12th Regiment, 4th Infantry Division fighting our way in the direction of Cherbourg, a deep water port. The port was essential for bringing in massive amounts of war supplies instead of the temporary floating piers at Utah Beach. There was virtually no letup in the fighting, day in and day out. There is nothing to describe the sound of the German 88mm’s, Screaming Meemies, coming right into your face scaring the bajeebies out of you. I dove for cover and prayed that my number was not up.
We made it to the village of Vahlogn, a burned out, bombed out deserted shell of a village nearer to Cherbourg. One day the Company Commander called in a dozen or so G.I’s, including me to form a combat patrol to scout out a German O.P.L, an elevated observation post erected for them to see what we were doing. We were still miles from Cherbourg, they were stiffening their defenses, and we were the first one to engage them. The opening guns of the Cherbourg campaign, so to speak.
Ed pointing out his buddies who he calls the real heroes that didn’t get to come home. Max Brown, his childhood best friend was one of them. He never let us forget Max Brown.We occupied a hill with a long descending grade to a valley and a single passage through. The Germans occupied the turf on the opposite side of the opening. My Lieutenant went first down the road with me about 50 yards behind. At about 200 yards the Germans opened up and got the Lieutenant. I dove for the ditch and stayed there in the underbrush, isolated from my patrol back up on the hilltop. The Germans were bracketing the road and I could see the shells getting closer. I yelled back at my patrol telling them to open up on the Germans with all they had. They did, I ran, and again I could see the German shells getting closer to me so I dove for cover again and waited until things quieted down, thinking about trying again. I yelled again to my squad to open up with everything they had, I was going to make a run for it. They did, I did, and was running hell-bent up the hill to join my squad atop the hill and I made it.
The firing continued and a German mortar shell fell right in the middle of our small group. Only three of us survived and I took a shrapnel hit to the chest. The three of us hauled out of there as fast as we could back to the direction of Vahlogn where we met up with some American troops on the move to Cherbourg. Seeing that I was wounded the Medics put me on a litter jeep accompanying the troops. The Medics got me out of there and back to a field hospital. It seemed like hundreds of wounded G.I.’s were everywhere. German Prisoners of War were pressed into service toting stretchers, including mine to an evacuation point.
I was sent back to England to a hospital with clean sheets and pillows, under excellent care from the Army doctors and nurses. After a month’s recuperation I was returned to France to the 10th Repo Depot awaiting reassignment. The Bulge was raging at this time and I feared I was going to be handed a new carbine and be sent back into the fray. Thank God the U.S. Army got the upper hand, the Bulge was over and the march to Berlin continued. By this time I was considered an “Old Timer” and my days of combat were over.
The Germans continued to fight savagely but it was clearly evident that the war was grinding down. I was then assigned to the 5th Infantry Division to lesser duties such as Guard Duties following the aftermath of battle. The war was coming to a close and by January 1945 I and many other thousands of battle weary G.I.’s were pulled out and sent home. I arrived on home soil in January 1945 and returned to civilian life, my duty performed, and mission accomplished I returned to the family business, married, had a family, and here I am, thanks be to God! There are no atheists in fox holes.”
This is why Dad loved & created the Provence Colors.