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Click here for Ray's photo gallery Raymond E. Wenzel
Military Record 1943-1945
Post War Years 1945-1998

Dates - Places - Events

Nov. 13, 1943Registered for the draft
Nov. 14, 1943 18 years old.
Dec. 24, 1943Directed to report for physical exam
Dr. R. H. Juers, Wausau, Wis.
Jan. 11, 1944 Classified 1A - Fit for cannon fodder.
Feb. 16, 1944Greetings! Preinduction physical exam. Went to Milwaukee. Saw my first burlesque show (still see it today) at the Empress Theater.
Mar. 22, 1944 Left home for Ft. Sheridan for processing - You'll be sorry!
Serial number 36957732.
Mar. 29, 1944Sent via troop train to Little Rock, Ark. and Camp Robinson for IRTC Infantry Replacement Training Center - basic training.
June 7, 1944About 5 weeks left of basic training. We were informed of the invasion. Very emotional moment.
Aug. 2, 1944 Got a 10 day delay - en route furlough. Came home, saw Grandma Wenzel for the last time.
Aug. 12, 1944Arrived Camp Maxey near Paris, Texas. Assigned to the 99th Infantry Division 394 Inf. Regiment Co. C.
Sept. 10,1944Left Maxey via 7 troop trains and in about two days arrived at Camp Miles Standish near Boston.
Sept. 14, 1944While waiting to go overseas our Co. won the Regimental Basketball Tournament. Have picture. Also had a couple of passes to go to Boston. Had my picture taken at USO. They sent it to my Folks. Still have it.
Sept. 29, 1944 The 394th boarded the USS Excellceor II. Destination Europe, It was a real stinking ship, but I guess they all did.
Oct. 11, 1944After 10 days on the water, we disembarked at Liverpool, England - Loaded on trains and traveled south to a small village on the coast called West Bay. They had good fish & chips here.
Nov. 2, 1944 Loaded on troop trains and headed for Southamption. Embarked on LCI's and crossed the channel to LeHarve, France.
Nov. 6, 1944Our invasion was pretty easy. Some other guys got here in June and made it a piece of cake for us. LeHarve was pretty much destroyed. No landing docks.
Nov. 9-11,1944 We were loaded on trucks and headed east through France to bivouac area near Aubel, Belgium. Cold and rainy - Didn't see much of anything except my first buzz bomb.
Nov. 14, 1944At 0830, 14 November 44, Private First Class Ehrin L. Snyder, 33402776, Company "F", 394th Infantry, machine gunner, borrowed a sniper's rifle from one of the Company snipers. Inspecting the weapon, he noticed an enemy soldier walking out of a pillbox at a range from 950 to 1000 yards. He shot the man with the sniper rifle. From all reports he is found to be the first man to fire a shot with any type of small arms as well as the first to kill an enemy in this action. The enemy was observed to be still lying on the ground two days later. The machine gun was zeroed in on the same pillbox with a range of 1000 yards.
Nov. 14, 1944My l9th birthday we moved to front line positions relieving the 9th 8:30 a.m.
Inf. Division. The regimental command post was located in Hunningen, Belgium.
Nov. 27, 1944At 1900, 27 November 44, soldiers of Company "C", 394th Infantry, took a prisoner who according to reports from the attached military intelligence Interrogation Team, was the first German soldier to be captured in the war who was on an authorized furlough. The prisoner was on his way home to Malmedy, Belgium, recently liberated by the United States Army, and had three days furlough time left when captured.
Nov. 27, 1944
Dec. 15, 1944
During this period Co "C" 394th kept moving to different locations in the Ardennes, digging foxholes with log covers. Some even built a log cabin.
Dec. 12, 1944On 12 December 44, the Ist Battalion relieved the 3rd Battalion from the right half of the front line in the regimental sector. The 3rd Battalion occupied the assembly area in rear of the lst Battalion and was placed in Division Reserve of the 99th Infantry Division. Meanwhile, the I&R platoon of Headquarters Company, 394th Infantry, had relieved Company "C" from the combat outpost located near LANZERATH, Germany.
Dec. 16, 1944On 16 December 44, at 0530, the enemy loosed a terrific artillery barrage along the entire front on the regimental sector. The barrage lasted until approximately 0645. Some equipment was damaged and casualties were suffered from the barrage. At approximately 0730, an enemy force hit the 3rd Battalion Command Post. The attack was repelled and some casualties sustained when the 3rd Battalion withdrew its Command Post to the rear of the lst Battalion. Numerous attacks hit the lst Battalion on the right half of the regimental sector throughout the day. All attacks were repulsed except for one which penetrated in the Company "B" sector in the middle of the lst Battalion sector about 500 yards.
The two above paragraphs were from the Archives at Washington D.C.
Dec. 16, 1944
I was in my log-covered foxhole at this time. I thought it was our artillery going over, but when I got up I saw holes in the ground all around our area. One man was sitting on the outside of his foxhole and he was decapitated.
Dec. 16, 1944
8:00 a.m.
Our platoon was sent out on our patrol. We got about 200 yards from our CP when we were fired on with a German burpp gun. I saw our fall down. He was killed.

I laid there for about 5 minutes. When I got up the rest of the platoon had taken off. I thought I was lost, but I was able to follow the tracks in the snow back to the C.P.
Dec. 16, 1944
2:00 p.m.
Two platoons of Co. "C" were moved about l 1/2, miles to three concrete custom houses on the German Belgium border near Losheimergraben Crossroads. We were told we were in holding positions.
Dec. 17, 1944
6:00 a.m.
Up all night cold and hungry. No enemy in sight. Looking out of the second story window of custom house "A" for any sign of enemy movement.
Dec. 17, 1944
4:00 p.m.
They are coming. I see Germans in the woods across the road and past the draw. In about 30 minutes, I emptied 6 clips of ammunition at them.
Dec. 17, 1944
4:30 p.m.
I see tanks and infantry coming up the road from the east, and in no time they had us pinned down. I saw a tank put its barrel into the second story window in the house to my right and let go a blast. About the same time soldiers were hollering to me and my sergeant Lu Oram "Allez Rouse" (Everybody Out). I said "Let's stay hidden till they go away." "No" he said, "Drop your rifle, we're going out." As we got about 30 feet from the building, I turned and saw that tank (I thought it was a Tiger tank, but after 50 years I was informed by historian Will Cavanough it was a Sturmgeschutz) let go a blast into the window I was firing from. This is when I got some shrapnel in my leg and hand.
Dec. 17, 1944
5:00 p.m.
We were interrogated and they took my watch and overshoes. Lu got a rifle butt aside of his head as he tried to kill a German. They took him away and I never saw him again until 51 years later in Longmont, Colorado.
Dec. 18, 1944
6:00 a.m.
They started moving us east, about 200 captured G.I.'s. I never saw so much equipment; everything from tanks to horsedrawn carts.
Dec. 18, 1944
Dec. 24, 1944
Most of this time, from now til we got to Hammelburg is a blur. I remember going to Bonn; got a bowl of soup there and slept in a barn. Then it was walking to train stations and waiting for box cars to take us into Germany. While marching through small towns the civilians, mostly old women, would shake their fists at us and shout at us in German. I also saw German women scrubbing the stoops in front of their doors. I remember looking out of the boxcar and seeing a sign saying Afshofensburg so I knew I was there. Don't remember much about eating when and where. Saw two guys picking at some bones in a garbage can.
Dec. 25, 1944 Arrived at Hammelburg via boxcars. I remember getting a piece of bread. It was here Louis Steinhall gave me his piece of bread as he was too sick to eat his. Best Christmas present ever!
Dec. 26, 1944 Arrived Stalag 13C top of the hill overlooking Hammelburg. Just like in "Hogan's Heros". Got a bowl of soup. Could only eat half, as my stomach had shrunk up so much.
Dec. 27, 1944
Jan. 28, 1945
Most of this time was spent trying to keep warm and thinking of all the food I had wasted through the years. We had an interpreter who would spread the news from barracks to barracks on how the war was going. He told us about the massacre at Malmedy (I was captured about 5 miles from there) and where the Front lines were. I don't know how he found out; maybe talking to the guards.
Jan. 29, 1945
Mar. 14, 1945
All Pvt's and PFC's were loaded on trucks to go out and work at and around Wurzburg, Germany (about 60 miles from Hammelburg). I worked at unloading boxcars where I was able to steal socks which I could trade for bread or cigarettes. We lived in a gym next to the warehouses, all 200 of us. Almost every night the RAF would make bombing runs to Schwinefurt and pass over Wurzburg. We all were sent to the basement of the warehouse, which was a bomb shelter, but nothing ever happened.
March 15, 1945
7:00 p.m.
Air raid! This night Wurzburg was fire bombed with incendiaries. Most of us were in the shelter about 10 men stayed in the gym. The gym and the 10 were burned up. Today where the gym was, is now a parking lot in the area of Wurzburg called "Zell".
March 16, 1945
March 31, 1945
For about two weeks we had to help clean up Wurzburg - I'm still shocked to this day at the ruins this one air raid did. However, after 50 years Wurzburg is completely healed except maybe for the elderly who went through the healing process for 50 years.
April 1, 1945
9:00 a.m.
We could hear our artillery coming from the west. So the Germans decided to move us to the east about an hour on the march. Five of us slipped off into a wooded area and laid low until the column of about 80 men moved on. The five were Roger Foehringer, Howard Gielb, Don Wolf, Don Thompson, and myself.
April 1, 1945
10:00 a.m.
We came out of the woods and looked around. We saw an elderly German civilian waving to us to come up to the side of a hill where he was digging a dugout in the hill for his family in case of an air raid. He let us know we could stay there. It was just enough room for the five of us.
April 1, 1945
5:00 p.m.
About dusk 2 brothers came up with food and water (this was Ernst and Eberhard Naumann, I was later to learn after 50 years). They let us know we should stay put, as the S.S. were going through villages and killing POW'S.
April 2, 1945
8:00 a.m.
Don Thompson went out of the dugout to check things out. He didn't return after an hour. We drew straws to see who would go looking for him. I lost. I encountered about 15 - 20 Hitler Youths heading east. They wanted me to go along. I indicated I had my blanket to get. I went for it and just kept on running. Got back to the dugout, and Don had returned. I wonder what would have happened if I'd gone with them.
April 3, 1945
3:00 p.m.
The two boys Ernst and Eberhard came running up to the dugout shouting "Americans Come". We ran down to the road to find a drunken sargent on top of a jeep saying he captured the town. We thanked the Boys, gave them the candy and food from the jeep and started west to meet up with the American troops. About 1/4 of a mile away people were draping white sheets out of their windows showing a sign of surrender.
April 3, 1945
April 11,1945
We stayed with 42nd Div. for about 8 days, got cleaned up and rested. They didn't seem to know what to do with us, so we found an airport nearby and got a ride to Paris on a C-47. We thought we could catch another plane back to the States.
April 12, 1945Spent the night in a real nice hotel in Paris. The other guys borrowed some money from the Red Cross and went out. I was all worn out and went to bed.
April 13, 1945
8:00 a.m.
Got up and went to breakfast. I looked over at a man reading an English paper and the headlines said "Roosevelt Dies." It wasn't long before the Military corralled us and sent us to Camp Lucky Strike in LeHarve.
April 14, 1945 We were sent to Camp Lucky Strike to get fattened up before being sent back to the States. Sent telegram home "Thank God I'm free and in American hands". I was here for 10 days eating steak and chicken.
April 25, 1945Boarded the USS Argentina headed home. It was a converted luxury liner. Not a bad trip. Didn't get seasick this time.
May 2, 1945Arrived N.Y. Went to Camp Kilmer, Mass., for processing, then to Ft. Sheridan by train.
May 5, 1945Arrived Ft. Sheridan - Can't wait to get home Got new uniform and back pay - Wow, this was living.
May 8, 1945
1:00 p.m.
Got on the Hiawatha in Chicago - Changed trains at New Lisbon. Saw Uncle Reinhard & Aunt Elsie Zielsdorf. Gave Uncle Reiny a carton of Camels. I got 10 cartons on the boat for 55 cents each.
May 8, 1945
5:00 p.m.
Stepped off the train at Wausau in my Mother's arms. I never heard her sob so hard. I guess we both did! I had a 60 day delay en route.
May 9, 1945
July 6, 1945
Had a good time at home - for 60 days - Out every night. Couldn't do that anymore.
July 7, 1945Wally Noll got home for a furlough. I asked and got another 10 days. We went hitch-hiking to Chicago, back to LaCrosse,Wis. - Winona, Minn., and up to Mercer, Wis. But we took the train home.
July 15, 1945Reported to Miami Beach for re-evaluation and/or R&R. Got sunburned badly. Also got my medals, purple heart, etc. Lost my luggage and the medals about a week later.
July 26, 1945Back to Fort Sheridan, then to Sturgeon Bay to guard German POW's while they picked cherries.
Aug. 14, 1945VJ Day. Got a 5th of Ten High before the bars closed and partied all night. Woke up on a swing on a girl's porch.
Aug. 29, 1945Back to Ft. Sheridan - Sent to an old CCC camp at Wetmore (Upper) Michigan to guard POW's while they cut pulpwood. Got promoted to Corporal and put in charge of the motor pool. Two Germans were the mechanics. All I did was write trip tickets.
Nov. 25, 1945Sent back to Fort Sheridan to get discharged (at the convenience of the Government). Got back home and went on to the 52-20 Club. $20 a week for 52 weeks.
Winter & Spring 1946Worked for Marathon Papers for a few months. Worked at a Lodge in northern Wisconsin, near Minocqua, for 2 months.
Jan., 1946
Mid Term
Also went to Madison at the University. Could have had a free ride playing basketball, but my ankles kept going out on me - Came back home.
Summer & Fall 1946 Dick Gandt talked me into going to Stout Institute in Menomonee, Wis., for the fall term - along with Russ Raymond, Chet Wyskowski, and Bobby Youna.
Winter 1946
Spring 1947
Didn't like Industrial Arts very much, but stayed the year and played basketball. Four seniors and myself made up the first team. Got a 10% VA pension that got me from $65 a month to $105 for going to school.
Summer 1947 Gandt had left Stout and came down to Peoria to attend Bradley. He convinced me to transfer to Bradley. Came down, met Roselee Vierling, went to work at Hiram Walker for the summer.
Fall, Winter 1947 Registered at Bradley. Took a chest X-ray, had T.B. Came back home and went to the sanitarium for the winter - Transferred to VA Hospital at Wood, Wis.
Spring, Summer, Fall 1948 Left Wood VA Hospital and went to Peoria. Got married April 3rd to Roselee. Lived at 822 Fayette til Sept. Got service connected status for TB $159.00 per month = 100%. Admitted to Peoria TB sanitarium Sept. 1949. Roselee living on Sheridan with Karleen and Bev.
Sept. 1949
May 1952
Got home for weekend passes. I was out for a year, went back for 6 months, and out ever since. Sue was born Jan 22, 1951, Jeff born Nov. 1, 1953.
Nov. 15, 1953Started work at Multi-Ad Services, Inc. This became an on the job training program through the V.A. I was classified as an artist.
Sept. 5, 1955 Moved into house on 5028 N. Circle Ct. Am still here in 1998. Dianna was born March 11, 1956; Cindy on April 15, 1957.
Oct. 16, 1962 Roselee ran off, left the children and her Mother and me. Her Mother died, and my Aunt Hank took care of us for 2 years.
Dec. 1962Met Vivian (Jackie) Keeley.
Sept. 18, 1965 Married Vivian (Jackie) Keeley.
March 1,1988 After being an Art Director for 20 of my 34 years, I retired from Multi-Ad. The company grew from 25 employees to at present over 450.
Aug. 29, 1988Jeff was killed by a drunk driver in Jacksonville, Florida. God, I miss him.
Dec. 8, 1994
Dec. 19, 1994
Went back to Germany and Belgium for the 50th Anniversary of the biggest battle America ever fought "The Battle of the Bulge." Met the two boys Ernst and Eberhard for the first time. Was at the house where I was captured, exactly 50 years ago, on the same day and hour,Dec. 17, 1944 5:30 p.m. Many, many memories.
Feb. 14, 1998 Been happily married for 32 years, 5 months!
Present Time Vivian and I keep busy taking care of the house, garden, watching the stock market,visiting with friends, eating out, watching the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren grow older, while we take care of each other and stay young!

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