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2014, Aaron Elson


Tanks for the Memories

The online edition

2014, Aaron Elson

Chapter 33

The monument

 Ellsworth Howard

    Captain Ellsworth Howard took over from Clifford Merrill as A Company’s commander, and was wounded at the Falaise Gap. He later rejoined the 712th as battalion executive officer.

    One day I got this letter that came down through channels, from Eisenhower on down, I think. Lieutenant Lund’s mother and sister had written and were asking how he was killed.

    I guess I hadn’t answered their letter the first time they wrote. There was some reason they had written again, because this time it came down and it had everybody’s signature on it. Colonel Randolph gave it to me and said, "Answer it right now."

    I didn’t know how Lund had died. It was the situation there at Mayenne. Everything happened so darned fast. We got into a fight we didn’t know we were gonna get into. And it had everything under the sun. If we went around this way to outflank the Krauts, they came around that way to outflank us, and we ran into each other. It was a real brawl.

    Lund’s tank was way out there. You’ve got the platoon scattered all over the darn place and I couldn’t keep track of all of them. His tank was way up in the woods there someplace.

    Then we got word from Randolph that we’re pulling out, get your platoon down here right away. I had Dixon out looking for Lund’s tank, and I left him stranded up there.

Forrest Dixon

    He left me up there with two medics, trying to get Lund and the crew out of the tank. Good friend of mine.

    You know, Lund almost didn’t get on the monument at Fort Knox. When Les O’Riley read me Ray Griffin’s list of the people killed, he wanted to know if I knew of any corrections. He said he thought there was another but couldn’t remember his name.

    I said, "You’re missing an officer."

    He said, "Who?"

    I said, "Lieutenant Lund."

    He said, "Are you sure?"

    I said, "Yes, I’m sure. Ask Howard. He was there."

    Then O’Riley asked our secretary. "No, uh uh." He had no record of Lund. And O’Riley came back to me and said, "Ray says we didn’t lose a Lund, but I remember him, too."

    I said, "We sure did lose a Lund. Damn near lost Howard and Dixon, too."

    So he wired Washington. The name came right back. When he was killed, who he was with, what happened, and who his sisters were. So he got on the monument.

    He was assigned to us that morning and he got killed that afternoon. And I wouldn’t have known a thing about it, only I was going to help Howard. "Dickie, want to go along with me?"

    "Oh, sure, I’ll go along with you." So he gets two medics, and we go up. Here’s the tank afire. Guay (Roger J. Guay) was one of the crew. Guay, Percy Bowers and Lund, and I don’t know who the other two were.

    Then Howard got word the company is moving out, and he left without us, so we stayed there a little while. Then the artillery came on target, right on top of us, and I said to the medics, "I guess it’s every man for himself. Let’s get the hell out of here!"

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