Segment 1

Annotation

Currey was born in 1925 in Loch Sheldrake, New York and grew up in the small community Hurleyville, New York. His father died when he was 5 years old and his mother passed away when he was 12 in 1937. He was raised in a foster care program in Hurleyville. When he was 17 years old and in high school the Army came out with the Army Specialized Training Program [Annotator’s Note: ASTP], where they selected students nationwide during an examination. He took the examination and was 1 of the fortunate ones that passed. The requirement was you had to be graduated from high school or at least a senior and into the Army before your 18th birthday. This was because if you were 18 you were subject to the draft and could not volunteer. You could enlist or volunteer for the draft, but with no assurance of what branch or service type. Currey enlisted in the Army just prior to his 18th birthday in June 1943. He went into the ASTP program that was set up for about a thousand people at the infantry school at Fort Benning [Annotator’s Note: Georgia]. That is where he took his basic training. 1 of the objectives of this program was to see if you could go straight from civilian life into training without a basic program and be commissioned. Currey finished the training and felt it was excellent, it was determined that he was too immature yet for duty. He was assigned to regular infantry.Currey felt that at such a young age, he could absorb all that training like a sponge. He could fire most any weapon by the time he finished his training. He had grown up with light weapons hunting, but this training exposed him to heavier weapons.Currey was told after ASTP that the war would be over eventually and there would be a field for engineers and they were needed. He went to Cornell University from Fort Benning and took an engineering course. This was during the preparation time for the invasion of Normandy and new draft infantry divisions were starting up. Within 2 weeks, he was sent to the 75th Infantry Division and took part in the Louisiana maneuvers. He stayed with the 75th Division through the maneuvers as a rifleman. He was then put on a BAR [Annotator’s Note: Browning Automatic Rifle] team and sent to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky. He was eligible to go overseas as a replacement. They were getting replacements out of the stateside divisions in preparation to invade Normandy and anticipating a potential of heavy losses. At that time, President Roosevelt issued an executive order that you couldn't go overseas until your 19th Birthday. Currey wasn't 19 yet so he was held back until his birthday, which was June 29. After the invasion, they stepped up the number of replacements going overseas. He was finally sent over to England and assigned in the replacement system to a division. Currey came to Omaha Beach a couple of months after the invasion.Currey was assigned to the 30th Infantry Division right as they were breaking out of the hedgerow area and were chasing the Germans through France, Belgium and Holland. They were held up at the Siegfried Line. He went through France, "almost like a tourist." He recalled going up to the front in a truck through Paris. He was moved forward in replacement depots until he reached his division. You were assigned at the division rear. Eventually, you were assigned to your regiment and then your company.Currey finally met up with the 30th Division in the Netherlands. The first action he had was in the middle of September in Kerkrade in Holland. He recalled there were 3 of them that went through the replacement system together from England. One of the guys was a "buck" sergeant [Annotator's Note: 3 stripe sergeant or E-5]; Currey and the others were privates. When they got on the line, they asked this sergeant to see if he could ask the company commander if they could stay together. When he asked, the company commander replied that he had lost a whole squad that day. Currey recalled that the replacements looked at each other and they all wondered what they were getting into. During September and October they fought in Holland and got to the Siegfried line. The first big German city they came to was Aachen, Germany. The 30th Division was the northern flank of the American Army. He recalled half the time they didn't know where they were and would end up alongside the British and some of Montgomery's command.Currey recalled his first real action was to take the city of Aachen. The 30th Division was to flank it from the north and the 1st Infantry Division was to come from the south and they were to meet on the outskirts behind it and the 29th Infantry Division was to move in and take the city. Currey remembers there were a lot of small rural towns into Germany and along the Siegfried Line. He recalled that the Siegfried line was not just 1 line, but went several miles deep of fortified villages. It took them about a month to fight their way to the banks of the Roer River. The Germans opened the gates and flooded the valley so that they couldn't cross. In the middle of December the Germans started the Battle of the Bulge. Almost overnight the whole 30th Division was moved down into Belgium to try and help stop the German attack. 

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