Segment 1


[Annotator's Note: Interview begins mid-discussion with brief mention of the Malmedy Massacre, the massacre of 84 American prisoners of war by the 1st SS Panzer Division on 17 December 1944.]Paluch is asked about his background and family. At the beginning of the war, Paluch originally wanted to join the Marine Corps, but was turned down. The Navy did not appeal to him and he eventually was drafted into the Army. Paluch was drafted in January 1943. He wanted to join the Marine Corps because he liked the uniform. When you're young you're crazy!Paluch heard about Pearl Harbor when he was playing a pinball machine at a luncheonette. He did not find out until around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, practically a whole day later. The newspapers had extras that would come out if a new story came about. Paluch recalls 1 of his childhood stores having electricity and that was a big deal. He grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He and his friends knew the war was going on. They got their information from newspapers. He expected to be drafted. After being drafted he was sent to Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. They were quarantined for about 3 months. Eventually they went to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma and also they were sent to New Orleans and Texas for maneuvers. Paluch was at Camp Gruber for basic training. He was in the Headquarters Battery of the 285th [Annotator's Note: 285th Field Artillery Observation Batalion], then Paluch was transferred to B Battery. Paluch's job was to work the switchboard. Paluch was shipped overseas in August 1944. Paluch was at Ft. Sill when D-Day occured. Paluch's 1st taste of combat was when 1 of the destroyers in their convoy was hit by a German submarine. They landed in Wales and went to England; from England they went to Europe. It was Paluch's 1st time overseas. He did not get seasick. They were attached to wherever they were needed. As an observation battalion they were sent where the combat had come to a stalemate. His first combat experience on land was at the Hurtgen Forest. He says, "that was a bitch in there." He recalls they made a move in the Hurtgen and they were moved back about a mile. The Air Force came over and bombed, then the artillery opened up. The ground started shaking and it was hard to hear. The Germans were so close you could just about step over them.


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