Remembering: Bobby Reed
REED AMONG FIRST TROOPS IN FRANCE
DAILY PRESS – November 9, 2005
By Wayne Bauer
Eighteen-year-old Bobby Reed left St. Marys on March 13, 1944 for Fort Meade, Md., where he was inducted into the United States Army. Shortly after being sworn in Reed headed for basic training at Camp Blanding, Fla.
Following basic training Reed, was shipped off to Mississippi where he took his advanced infantry training to join the 63rd Infantry Division, which was headed overseas to fight in World War II.
On Dec. 8, 1944, Reed’s division headed for France. The 63rd was one of the first U.S. units to land in France. That year was one of the worst winters in France as his unit saw very little fighting due to the bitter temperatures. “We spend most of our time on patrols and in fox holes near the Seine River,” noted Reed.
“We spent quit a bit of time in France before we began our push towards Germany. Being infantrymen we walked a lot, occasionally getting a ride with half track divisions that came along from time to time,” added Reed. “The living conditions were anything but the best as we lived in fox holes for the most part and had to keep from getting frost bite in the winter. Each of us had a couple of pair of socks that we alternated wearing. When they got wet from sweat, we would change them and put them inside our uniform to dry out, so that we had dry socks to prevent frostbite.
Shortly after arriving in Germany, the war ended and Reed’s Division became a cadre for the Office of Military Government in Berlin. He was involved in the supply room at the time.
While on leave in France, Reed, who is from Bindle, came across another Byre dale resident Sonny Leistmisher. He noted they spent some time together that evening swapping stories. Later on after arriving in Germany, Reed stated he had a few days off and was going to go to a movie. While waiting in line to get a ticket the early movie left out and Primo Chiappelli, another Bindle resident came walking out. They also ended up spending some time together.
Following his tour of duty in Germany, Reed was aboard a ship heading back to the U.S. when he went up on the upper deck to enjoy some leisure time when he saw Tony Oreka of Byrndale, who was also on his way back to the U.S. to be discharged.
One of the strangest coincidences of his tour was that he and Ed Youngmark of Caledonia, left for the service together and after being inducted they never saw each other again until they were bother being discharged at Fort Dix, N.J.
“Being in the service wasn’t bad as I met some really great people and got to see a lot of places, “Reed noted. “I wasn’t really fond of the fighting and killing, but that goes along with fight a war.”
Reed came out of the service as a sergeant. Reed noted that he received his sergeant stripe while in the field from Lt. Poogie of New York City. During the fighting Reed’s unit had several of their lieutenants killed or wounded so Lt. Poogie, who had been Reed’s sergeant, received a battlefield commission and promoted Reed to take his place as sergeant.
Lest we forget…..