Epinal

Sergeant Lloyd Adams

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5


A loud yell woke the men up at 0600 hours. Scouting patrols had made it to the 324th’s camp with an important message. The reinforcements were on their way. Off in the distance, it could only be the rumble of the quartermaster company’s convoy coming from the southwest. Adams remembered one of the daily announcements earlier that week, and it had said that the 46th Quartermaster Registration Company would be rolling in soon, bringing with it the supplies that were drastically needed. Reinforcements with food, razors, chococlate, socks, and cigarettes, were here. Soldiers also rejoiced because there would be a mail call. Sgt. Adams had not had a letter from his sweetheart, Linda Gene, in nearly two months. In his eyes, she was perfect. Her long blonde hair blew around easily in the wind, and her skin was smooth like a still lake in the morning. How he longed for the perfume smell of her letters, and the new pictures that she surely would have sent. He also wondered what she was doing at home. Probably cleaning, gardening, and working down at Lukins’ Deli on Holroyd Place.


But enough of that, he thought to himself, the company had work to do. Wounded troops were to be helped onto the trucks the quartermasters brought with them. They consisted of large deuce-and-a-half’s and jeeps, and both were painted an olive drab color that stuck out like a sore thumb in the snow. Supplies had to be unloaded, and most importantly, the convoy had to be protected. Loss of medicines, food, and ammunition being brought to them today would spell horrible disaster.


The Quartermaster regiment had also come with another mission in mind. Under directive from central command, it was to establish a U.S. soil military graveyard for the thousands of American, European-Front dead. Specifically, it was to be named Epinal, and the fatalitites would be coming from the bitter fighting through the Heasbourg Gap in the fall of 1944. The 44th were unaware of this graveyards importance, for it would one day become a symbol of the price paid to protect freedom.


Another reason for its founding was that there were thousands of bodies that were in line for burial. The time and resources were just not there to transport all of the bodies back to the United States. Up until this point, the dead were placed in plain pine coffins, and a dog tag was nailed to the top. The coffins were stacked up and placed in a run-down grain wharehouse not too far from town.


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© By Glenn John Adams