Friday, May 25, 2012

SGT Jasper E. Leonard, B Co 743rd Tank BN

My family puts flags on the Veteran's graves in my hometown of Red Oak, NC every Veteran's Day week and Memorial Day week.  I am always curious about the stories of each lost hero we visit.

I have found out that Red Oak, NC's, Jasper Leonard was in Company B, 743rd Tank Battalion.  I am trying to find out more info on him.  I believe he won the Bronze Star.  I have attached a photo of his grave site.

Thank you,

submitted by:
Byron Moore

Monday, April 30, 2012

Centennial Park

photo by Joey
My oldest son Joey is going to Hope College and found the time to take this picture of our uncle Juke's memorial in the center of Holland Michigan, @ Centennial Park. I'm proud of my son. He took AP US History in High School and knows the significance of this to me. Every kid you have has something special that you love. With my Joey it is the sense of history he is developing for the family and I am grateful for that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Margraten Boys

Spring Break is always a great time of year for teachers and students. This year I was able to start reading a book I was very excited to get by Peter Schrijvers entitled The Margraten Boys: How a European Village Kept America's Liberators Alive. I never really knew about the adopt a grave program and the whole "adoption community"or how very much people in the Netherlands continue to keep alive the memory of US soldiers. This is a very moving book about how the Margraten Cemetery was formed. My uncle Juke is buried there (although his grave is tended to by a gentleman from Belgium) and some of my relatives have also visited there as well. I know one day I will too. But in the meantime this book will help me understand better what I'm looking at before I go.

One interesting tidbit I can use for Memorial Day this year in my classroom will be the story contained in the final chapter of the book about Willy James who finally received his Medal of Honor from Clinton in 1997. Since James is buried there, the only distinction made on the white Crosses or Stars of David in Margraten is for Medal of Honor winners. Their names and units are colored gold whereas the normal engraving is not.

 Cool stuff. It's always nice to know you're probably doing something that no other history teacher is doing. Not that I'm competitive or anything.

So, once again, my interest in my uncle Juke has led me in some interesting directions. God Bless the Dutch for their Debt of Honor, as the book puts it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heroes of "Old Hickory"

There is an independent documentary film being made, directed by Lew Adams, that features the war experiences of the 30th Infantry Division (ID). The 743rd was attached to the "Old Hickory" Division for the entire war (excepting the Normandy Invasion where the 743rd was part of the 116th Infantry Regiment, which was temporarily attached to the 1st ID...whew) As you peruse the web site you may find a contributor to this blog from Belgium, Mr. Vince Heggen! In the film there are also "stories within the story" featuring a survivor of Hill 314

at the battle of Mortain: a mini Battle of the Bulge that involved many of the same American and German units. I'm excited to see this film when it comes out and I do hope the ending, which is yet to happen, unfolds the way the director hopes with the 30th ID finally getting their Presidential Unit Citation. I wonder if because it is a National Guard Unit it has been denied this commendation for so long. We shall see!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CPL Charles L. Reynolds, A Co 743rd Tank BN

This is a photo of my granddad, Charlie Reynolds.  Don’t have any info on when or where the picture was taken though.  It’s a long shot, but anyone recognize the guy on the left.  My granddad is on the right.

Here’s a story my granddad told me about 6 months before he passed away.  They were preparing to land on Omaha Beach.  He was assigned to a jeep with John DuQuoin in A Co 743rd.  John was the communications sergeant and granddad was a Corporal Liaison.  He said the kid driving their landing craft was about 16 years old and said that was as far as he was going.  Granddad told him he was certain the jeep wouldn’t float but they pushed it out in 10 feet of water anyway.  He waded to shore.  He said John was an old man in a young mans war….about 36 years old.  They were on the beach and John was fixing a radio.  He had finished his work when a mortar went off close by and sprayed the radio with sand, water, and mud.  He said John turned around and waved his fist in the German’s general direction and shouted….” You sons of bitches!”    I think that’s the only time I ever heard my granddad swear. 

I think the most interesting thing about my visit with granddad came as I was getting ready to leave.  He had never spoken to me of the war before that day.  I’ve come to the conclusion it was because he carried a lot of guilt about making it home when so many didn’t.  As I was standing ready to leave, he looked at me and said, "The 743rd was the best battalion in the war."  He made a couple other comments after that about the brave men and buddies he left behind.  What really grabbed me was how the 92 year old suddenly had the “piss and vinegar” of a 19 year old kid.  I could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice.  Although he never spoke of it, you could tell how proud he was to have served.

Submitted by: Mr. Brad Reynolds

Monday, February 13, 2012

SSG Clarence A. Smith, HHC 743rd Tank BN

from left to right, Boyd Glidewell, Clarence Smith,
Donald Mason, taken at Enunclaw, Washington, August 3, 1942

7 boys from Iowa
6 boys from Minn.
2 boys from Mo.
The rest from all over the states

Iowa Boys.
top and reading right.
1.Schouten - Orange City) Bottom row.
2. C.A. Smith -
3. Jessen -
6. Sac. City - Shade.
8. Mason - Des Moines.
Sec. row
7. Des Moines.
8. A. R. Smith. - Sioux City.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

PFC Marvin K. Boller, D Co 743rd Tank BN

I just wanted to share this very emotional item from my Museum. I was very lucky to get  this wonderful letter. It was written by a Mrs. Smith for  PVT Marvin K. Boller, ASN 36839856. PVT Boller was a member of the Co D, light tanks, 743rd Tank  BN. The letter never arrived to Marvin as he was KIA. If someone can give me the date of his death, that would be very heplful for my research. The letter is still in the envelope, but was never opened. I decided not to open it out of respect for the Boller family. Thanks.

Submitted by: Vincent HEGGEN <>