Private First Class
Company A, Twentieth Engineer Battalion (Combat)
Army of the United States
These memories of Robert E Weber were submitted by his grandson, Robert Robards
I put a flag on my Grandfathers grave for Veteran's Day today; it's hard to believe it's been over twenty years since he passed away. He was a good man and very proud of his service in WWII. I "interviewed" him for a paper I had to write in college, about a family member's experiences and thoughts, on an historical event in U.S. history. He was happy to tell me more about his time in WWII. He even bought me a case of beer to help to celebrate, after I gave him the paper a few weeks later, with a nice note and A on it from my professor.
Below are some of the stories he shared with me; I wish I would have recorded him (instead of just taking notes).
"I went over the side of the boat to get to the beach. I threw all my gear in the water, except my rifle, and tried to get away from the boat as fast as I could. There were bodies everywhere, in the water and on the beach, and we were under heavy fire the whole time. I was lucky to make it; so many other boys did not. We went back to the beach later and gathered the supplies we needed to move forward".
"We were in the forest when I saw this big deer, since we had not been eating very good, I decided to shoot it. We took it back to camp and the cook made us a great meal that night. All the guys just loved it".
"The best fishing I ever did was in the Army. I just dropped a grenade in a lake and we just started scooping all kinds of fish into the boat".
"We were allowed to go into town one night, it was supposed to be a safe place, so we were not allowed to take any weapons. A couple of us had German pistols we had picked up and took those with us anyway. We drank some wine and had some fun. We were walking back afterwards through a narrow alley, when this guy jumped out and knifed one of my buddies, and then took off down the alley. I pulled out my pistol and emptied it at him, bullets were ricocheting off the walls of the alley, but I don't know if I hit him or not. We got the hell out of there and got my buddy some help as soon as we could find it".
"I saw guys that could not take it anymore, they lost their minds or they just went crazy. The officers did not know what to do with them, so they tied them up under the big guns to keep them from hurting themselves and to try to keep them quiet. They were still tied up under the guns when they started shooting them at the Germans later that day".
"We were in the Hurtgen Forrest and the Germans started to break through our line. A German soldier ended up in our hole and tried to kill my buddy; I turned to help and bayoneted him in the butt. We turned him over and he looked like he was just a kid. He was maybe 15 years old and said in German that the war was now over for him. We took his rifle and knife and patched him up the best we could. When it got dark we told him he had to go back to the German line and we watched him go back through the woods. I always wondered what ended up happening to that boy".
"We heard the war was over and thought we were going home soon. We were told later on our ship that we would be going to Japan; we were needed to help fight over there. Then Give Them Hell Harry dropped the A bomb and the war was over. We all loved Harry because he probably saved our lives! I don't think I would have made it out of Japan."
One of my Grandfather's favorite saying was "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away".
R.I.P. Private First Class Robert E. Weber, you may have faded away, but you will not be forgotten.