Results 1 to 1 of 1
Thread: Band of brothers
05-25-09, 07:52 AM #1
Band of brothers
May 25, 2009
Band of brothers
Six Morris siblings served in World War II
By Melanie Hirshberg
"It was kind of a miracle," said John Clinton Schmidt, 94.
He and all five of his brothers served in World War II in various branches of the military. They served in Europe, the Pacific and Africa.
They all made it home alive.
Back then it was rare that the outcome could be so happy for a family such as the Schmidts, who lived in Denville, and Clinton Schmidt knows how lucky they were.
"Memorial Day just brings to mind, at least once a year, some thoughts about old buddies," said Schmidt, who now is the last surviving brother.
This Memorial Day he plans to visit a cemetery to visit his family's graves.
Schmidt was inducted in June 1942 at age 27. He was in an Army field artillery unit stationed in England when he was sent to Omaha Beach a week after D-Day. By then there was little confrontation there.
"We were just hanging around and keeping in shape because our trucks holding artillery pieces were being sent to the front line," Schmidt recalled.
During the Battle of the Bulge, his unit blocked off areas where enemy artillery transports traveled.
Schmidt only remembers one incident where someone in his unit was wounded. An enemy plane dropped a bomb onto an artillery mover some distance from his unit's camp. The explosion caused little damage, but broke some windows. A cook was hit by a shard of glass and received a Purple Heart.
Schmidt's story is vastly different from that of Bertram, his younger brother by nearly eight years.
Bertram, who joined the Army before the war, was stationed on the front lines in North Africa where he was shot in the ankle by Italian soldiers, said local historian Robert Illic, who grew up with the Schmidts. Bertram became a prisoner of war and was taken to Italy. He escaped but was recaptured by German troops and put on a train with other prisoners, said his brother. Bertram was able to escape from the train with a friend, but watched as his friend was shot while crossing a bridge, said Illic. Bertram swam the river and survived, but afterward was recaptured once again and was forced into farm labor for over two years.
Bertram -- who received three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star, and a Silver Star during his service -- became restless after returning home and re-enlisted with the Army, Illic said. He returned to England, where he had been sent after being liberated. There he rekindled a relationship with a British nurse, Eileen, whom he later married.
Edward "Rod" Schmidt was the oldest of the brothers, born in 1912, and served in an Army artillery unit supporting Gen. George Patton's run through Germany, his brother said. He was the only brother Clinton Schmidt saw during his service. They were both stationed in France at the time.
Henry Schmidt, born in 1921, served in the Air Force as a tail gunner in a bomber. Historical records say that he was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines, said Illic.
Reginald, who was born about 1924, joined the Merchant Marines and was also stationed in the Pacific on an oil tanker that re-fueled allied vessels, said his brother.
"They would meet submarines out in the Pacific, and when the periscope came up, they never knew who it was going to be," Schmidt said. After the war, Reginald continued working for the Merchant Marines.
Alinson, the youngest of the six brothers, joined the Navy near the end of the war. He was stationed in the Pacific as well, but by then, said his brother, the fighting was ending.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)