Segment 10

Annotation

The 2nd Division took Leipzig, Germany. It was heavily fortified. In Leipzig they found doorways and stairways that led to underground munitions plants. In 1 town, Sergeant Brodie [Annotator's Note: Jesse Brodie], who Baldwin didn't care for, and a guy by the name of Rich, found a brewery. The men of Cannon Company opened the kegs and let them run. When it got to the steps it ran out into the street. Brodie's buddy Rich had a keg on his section truck and was drunk. Eventually he was told to get rid of the keg. The Cannon Company got through Leipzig and the war was pretty well over. The 2nd Infantry Division was close to getting to Berlin, but they were stopped and diverted which upset them since they had been fighting so long. They turned the division into the Alps and sent them down to Czechoslovakia. The Alps had snow on them still in April, but there was sun and warmth down in the valley. They crossed the Elbe River and crossed into Czechoslovakia. Some history books say that the Russians took Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, but that is wrong as the 2nd Division was the 1st uniformed military unit to liberate the city. Then the Russians came along later. Jack remembered that some of the 2nd Division guys drank vodka with the Russians. The US had given them clothing, aircraft, war materials and then after the war ended, the Russians turned on them. At the end of the war, they were fed well and then those with wives and children were "high pointers" [Annotator's Note: rotation home was based on a point system]. Baldwin had 88 and you only needed 80. Lofton, mentioned earlier, was sent back to the United States to train for Japan. Baldwin was sent to Camp Pittsburgh in Southern France where they had a bunch of prisoners that needed guarding. James O. Smith and Baldwin were together. Both men were married, Smith with a little girl and Baldwin with a little boy. Richard "Dick" Winters was in charge of the camp, which Baldwin didn't know until years after the war. In October 1945, Baldwin returned home to the United States. He heard during the war that he was due about $3,000. This was because of an agreement that FDR would give troops who served overseas a dollar for each day of combat, money for other specific duties, etc. Baldwin recalls that when he was discharged he only got $100, as Truman was now in office and realized the government didn't have the money to pay such high amounts to returning troops. When Baldwin got to New York, he thought it was the prettiest sight that he had ever seen. They were on a brand new ship, the USS Rushville Victory Ship. It was purchased with bonds by Rushville, TN. He was well fed and then sent to Fort Benning and then to Fort McPherson. He was given $100, and was forwarded $200 later, and got a duffel bag to put what few belongings they had in it. They were directed to the bus station and told to get home the best way they could. A friend of his was from Birmingham and had a car and got him home. Baldwin came home and went back to work and worked 40 years. He had another son, Larry. His oldest son went into the Coast Guard and became an honor guard representative during President John F. Kennedy's funeral. His 2nd son Larry served 6 years.

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