Segment 15

Annotation

Victor Crawford, a lumberjack from Oregon, was allowed to have his girlfriend come to Camp McCoy to marry and was given the weekend off so that they could go to Lacrosse, Wisconsin for a honeymoon. He was a buddy of Baldwin's. The gun positions were quiet 1 day and he and Baldwin started roaming around and got into a basement of a house when enemy fire opened up. They found a big tin of sauerkraut and they would squeeze the juice out of it and eat it. Victor got sick off of it after eating K-rations for so long and having a hot meal only a couple times a week if they could. His stomach started cramping badly. Baldwin thought it was funny and remembered that Victor had big feet, unlike Baldwin's small feet. There was a section of the house that had a window open and they could see where their gun sections were. They started taking enemy fire and realized they would have to dive out the window and cross an open area that the Germans probably had sighted in, in order to get back to the gun section. Victor dove through the window first and the German tracers followed just behind him. Victor waved toward Baldwin and let him know he made it. He took off like a rabbit. Baldwin delayed leaving and waited hoping that the Germans would think that Victor was the only 1 in the building. Baldwin stayed low along the wall and finally decided to just dive out of the window. When he did, a stream of bullets followed. When he got up, he was gone! He learned not to wander off like that anymore. This was somewhere in Normandy well before the Bulge. There was a baseball player, Roy Hassell, a pitcher that had been drafted by the Boston Red Sox was in Cannon Company and killed in combat. His girlfriend would write him sex letters that everyone in the Company would want to read. His girl would write him a letter saying she was taking a bath and wished he was there. She would describe the bubbles and what they were doing, etc. It would tear your heart out. Roy didn't make it. James O. Smith was a ballplayer too, as was Art Kierstead. Art lettered in baseball, football and basketball. He was poor and said he never had a new pair of shoes in his life until the Army gave them to him. His girl wrote him a Dear John letter too. Stanley Tubbs, another friend of his, also had a contract, but got killed in the war too. These guys were looking for a life too, but things didn't work out for them. Stanley was a Marine and Roy didn't get killed in a big battle, but just got picked off randomly. There was this 1 guy that didn't like breakfast or care about eating it. They would fall out in the morning and it would be cold. This guy wouldn't put anything on, but his boots, helmet, and overcoat. When they finished, he would run and get back in bed. Eventually, they caught him and ended that. Also, folks would mess around with answering for other people at roll call and it would confuse the training corporals. They put an end to that too, but they had to have a laugh every now and then. Salazar, their bugler, had to get up at about 5 am and go play "Reveille" to wake up the men. During the Battle of the Bulge, when the snow was fresh and about 2 and a half to 3 feet deep, he took a bazooka and a couple of rounds and when they weren't supposed to move, he went way around a hillside and came in around the flank of where they were hearing German tanks over the hill. Salazar lay down in the snow and watched the German tanks move forward and then pulled back, over and over to try and draw fire. Finally, 1 tank got a little too close to him and Salazar noticed another tank following. When they turned around to go back and were nearing the crest of the hill, Salazar hit the tank in front in the rear, disabling it. The other tank tried to get around the disabled 1 and Salazar hit him too. The Germans came piling out of the tank. Jack thinks some got away, but that it was a perfect time for someone nearby with a rifle to start firing. Salazar took out these 2 tanks by himself. It was amazing that he didn't get court-martialed for disobeying orders. Because he did so, he couldn't get a medal.

$60.00
Product: 

All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at digitalcollections@nationalww2museum.org if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at http://ww2online.org/faqs.