Epinal

Sergeant Lloyd Adams

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Sergeant Lloyd Adams had been given a battlefield commission six months ago following a successful artillery attack on German forces controlling the town of Rouen, in western Frace. Adams had volunteered to lead a scouting patrol across the Rocher river, into enemy territory at Rouen, and get coordinates for the next daysí artillery attack of German strongholds in the city. The attempt to get the coordinates was successful, and First Leiutenant Wilkinson saw it fit for Adams, who led the clandestine patrol, to be promoted. It gave him a feeling of self-worth and that all of his wartime efforts were being recognized by the people he was protecting.


A muzzled thud echoed off in the distance, and then the light came. Another observation flare. The young sergant finished his cigarette and moved the canteen that had been poking him in the side. Soon he drifted back into the half-sleep state that all members of the 324th had known for the past few months. Never in his wildest imagine had Adams ever thought that he would have been here. He was the son of a farmer from central Pennsylvania, and had aspired to become a carpenter and woodworker. His draft letter came in the mail one week to the day after his 20th birthday. But the letter was moot by that time, for Lloyd, like his younger brother had already enlisted to serve the American people, much to the approval of his father.


Sitting there freezing in his foxhole, Lloyd dreamed of the man and woman back home who were so proud of him. His father, Clarence, had given up drinking fourteen days before Lloyd left for Europe. He remembered one of his fatherís famous antics. He would hold up his right thumb and index finger about an inch apart and say, "I could use just about that much whiskey...in a washtub." Whiskey would have been a welcome treat for the men at this point in the push towards Germany. Jack Danielsí perhaps, or some Johnny Walker Red. On this particular night, however, a wool blanket tried its best to keep the GI warm.


The dark night sky was lit only by the stars. The only sign of life of the men in the foxhole was their frozen breaths, every few seconds. Every half-hour on the dot a signal flare was shot up into the sky. This showed the distant enemy that the 324th was ready to fight at all hours of the day, and that their position would not be lost. The next one would be coming in fifteen minutes, and most men would sleep right through it.


"Wroosh!...Booom!" The earth trembled against the shake of an opening attack salvo. "Incoming!, Find Cover!," a night sentry shouted as the dazed GIís began to claw their way lower into their foxholes. Trees exploded with extreme furiosity. Branches, rocks, and shrapnel rocketed through the air with deadly intent. The 324th Infantry had been through this before, and knew that the torrent would soon be over. More screams, and the oh so familiar call, "Medic!" The men thought about the shortage of morphine, and that surettes would be on demand shortly.


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© By Glenn John Adams