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Billow was born in Millersburg, Pennsylvania. Growing up during the depression was rough, they did not have much. His family was poor, food was scarce. It was tough for his parents to raise a family. He completed the 9th grade in high school, but he quit school to work in a box factory to help support his family. He was at a local garage in Millersburg when he heard the radio broadcast about the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was drafted in the Army and was sent to New Cumberland depot. Billow was sent to basic training at Camp Groover, Oklahoma in January of 1941. He recalls it being very cold in Oklahoma.The barracks were tall buildings with stoves on either end to keep the men warm. He was assigned to the 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion. They completed survey training in flash and sound communications at Camp Groover before transferring to Camp Polk, Louisiana for more training. They returned to Oklahoma for more training at Fort Sill to train officers in flash and sound observation and communications. Billow trained at Fort Sill for a year before deploying overseas from Camp Shanks, New York on the USS Mooremack Moon. He remembers being in a huge convoy of ships. They lost one ship from the convoy to a German submarine. Billow remembers docking in Wales and waiting for orders. They crossed the channel and landed in France in August of 1944.

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Billow remembers going through France, Holland, and Luxemburg. The cities were destroyed by aerial bombardment. There were barely any buildings left in the towns they passed through. On 16 December 1944, they were given orders to move towards St. Vith [Annotator's Note: Belgium, part of the Battle of the Bulge]. They stopped along the road for lunch in the early afternoon. They came to a crossroad in Belgium. They were supposed to go straight ahead when they were ambushed by a German Panzer division. Up the road, the 281st Engineer Battalion rigged the trees with TNT and dynamite to block the German advance.The lieutenant leading Billow's platoon that day, Lt. Larry, refused to listen to another officer about an alternate route and continued the way he was told to go. They were captured by the German column and marched into a field adjacent to the road. He remembers a German command car pulling up next to the field and a German officer stepping out. The officer pulled out a pistol and shot the man to Billow's right and a man to his left. The Germans were ordered to take no prisoners and they opened fire into the column of men. Billow hit the ground and played dead until the Germans moved out. Some of the men survived and when it was safe, they ran out of the field to safety. Billow was with them. They escaped to a small house near the crossroads.Billow knew they were not safe in the house because he knew the German tanks at the crossroad could see them in the house. They managed to move across the road to escape fire before members of the 30th Armored Division came back through and picked them up. Billow was taken to a field hospital.

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At the field hospital, Billow realized he was wounded in the foot. They loaded him on a train back to England. He spent a week in a British hospital before he was released. He was transferred to the 8th Air Force at Burtonwood Air Depot, Warrington, England. He was assigned to destroy the planes coming back from combat so no one could salvage parts after the war. He remembers destroying two planes that were never assembled. He used to go into the city of Manchester at night when he had liberty. He met his wife in England, they married in December of 1945. He returned to the states in February of 1947, his wife came to the states in March of that year.Billow reflects on the massacre. He was in a 3 quarter ton weapons carrier while they were still in the convoy. None of the other men survived from his truck. Germans began attacking the front of the column, he was at the back of the column. The whole convoy had to stop, there was no way to get through. They surrendered and the Germans took them into the field to kill them. He does not know how long they were in the field, Billow thought it was several hours.

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Billow recalls his friend Robert "Sketch" Marigg telling him about the incident. Sketch saw everything from a bush on the top of a hill, he hid in the bush for days. After the massacre in the field, Billow heard the German column move out. He waited to get up until he could not hear them anymore. The passing Germans fired into the field of dead G.I.s just for their own amusement. Billow remembers he was laying in front of the other men near the crossroads. All he could think about was getting out of the field alive and in one piece. There was only four or five men that made it out alive. They were all from the same area of the US.Billow recalls breathing as little as possible because it was so cold outside. He does not know how he was able to stay quiet, even after he was hit by the butt of a rifle or a German kicking him. He has gone to local schools on several occasions to talk about his experiences. Some of the students take notice, while others do not seem to care. He always reminds them that if it were not for the soldiers who fought and died in World War II, they would be under German or Russian control and they would not have the things they enjoy today.

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Billow did not give an interview for the trials in Europe. He has been interviewed several times since the war. He talked about the massacre after the war. Billow thinks about the massacre often, like it happened yesterday. He knew he was hit in the foot while he was in the field, it stung only a little because it was so cold out. He does not remember the names of the men that were killed on either side of him. The Germans did not line the men up, they had them in the field like cattle. Looking back, he thinks it is very important to teach World War II history and keep it in schools.Billow was able to talk about the massacre with his family. Some of the men refused to talk about it. Billow thinks there are only six survivors from the massacre that are still alive. He does not know how he survived. He was treated in the hospital for shell shock.

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