RECOLLECTIONS OF A WORLD WAR II INFANTRYMAN
By Sol R. Brandell

An autobiographic account from 1st December, 1942, through 31st March, 1946
in the European Theater of Operations


Table of Contents
At City College of New York and Enlistment
Call to Active Duty
Infantry Basic Training, Camp Wolters, TX
Examination and Assignment to ASTP
ASTP and Pre-Med at University of Cincinnati, OH
89th Infantry Division, Camp Butner, NC
Overseas to European Theater of Operations
Combat Duty Begins
Discovery of Concentration Camps at Ohrdruf
Combat Duty Continues
V-E Day and Return to Normandy
At University of Paris
Occupation Duty at Linz-Urfahr, Austria
Second Return to Normandy and Return Trip to the US
Postscript

Examination and Assignment to ASTP

After completing Basic Training I was asked to take the Army's OCT-X3 Examination (for OCS or ASTP). Afterwards, I was told that I had scored very high and would have a choice of either Infantry (only!) OCS or ASTP. As the average life expectancy of an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant replacement in Europe at that time was about 6 to 9 days (or was it 6 to 9 hours?) after taking command of his platoon, I felt that I wasn't all that brave! Besides, being faced with this new chance of completing my college studies in electrical engineering and then serving afterwards as an engineering officer in the Corps of Engineers, or in the Signal Corps, appealed to me as I'd had a fleeting thought that I might like to remain in the Army as a career officer after the war? This idea diverted me from my original enlistment goal of fighting against the Germans "en face"! I therefore chose ASTP and was sent to Camp Maxey, Paris, Texas, which was an ASTP STAR Unit. While awaiting a university assignment I was asked to teach 1st semester College Physics, to other GI's waiting like myself, having already completed 1 years of study, with a 3.85/4.00 GPA, towards a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering before my enlistment. This experience made me realize that it was much more difficult to teach physics than to learn it! After about 3 weeks I was assigned, at first, to Indiana University in Bloomington, but then was shipped onward with some other GI's to the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) being told there were greater facilities there for advanced students.

 

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