ONE CONTRIBUTION ......
TO THE GREATEST GENERATION
BATTLE OF THE RIVER RHINE ~ GERMANY
78th Infantry Division
LELAND BERNARD 'BUD' HAUGH
We have a tendency to judge others with a 'Well what have they done lately' mentality. I am as guilty, as the next person, in looking for strengths, weaknesses and faults. And of course, I do this without any thought of my own short comings.
The current recognition for the deeds of the World War II Veteran is long overdue. The book by Tom Brokaw, the well received movie and the current plans for a monument, after fifty years, in the nation's capitol, will go a way toward correcting a wrong. But for many that have passed through this world, it is too little, too late.
Like most World War II veterans, Bud Haugh was not prone to discuss the combat period in his life. Through a little prodding, I was able to get some information from him.
Born in Cass County, Indiana, May 21, 1926, he was the son of Robert Leland 'Bob' and Aimee Kathryn Rea Haugh. He had one sister, Roselee Kathryn. Bud's early life was spent, along his father, trying to scratch out a living, on a little farm, near Adamsboro, Cass County, Indiana. He also worked a bulk milk route, along with his farm chores.
Like millions of others, he received the famous 'Greetings From Your Neighbors' draft notice, as soon as he turned 18 years of age. Training in the infantry was swift and he soon found himself staging for the war in Europe.
The following CHRONOLOGY of Bud's military service is established from his official records:
Inducted (after being drafted) September 4, 1944, at Indianapolis, Indiana. Trained until January 1945. Sent to the European Theater of Operation (ETO), of the European African Middle Eastern Campaign (EAMEC), arriving January 30, 1945. Qualified as Combat Infantryman, Badge awarded February 25, 1945. Military Specialty: Rifleman 745. Engaged in the Rhineland Battle (GO 105 WD 45) and was wounded in action, March 1, 1945. Disability award lists wounds as: gun shot wounds, right shoulder and arm, and lower back. Awarded the Purple Heart Medal, (at GO 25 Headquarters , 160th General Hospital) on March 14, 1945. Returned to the United States, arriving May 28, 1945. It is believed that the remainder of Bud's service was spent in recuperation from his wounds, in what the military calls 'casual status' and some time spent as described in the following paragraphs. He did find time to marry Betty Jo Noakes on January 3, 1946. (a union that would last 51 years, until her death in 1997.) He was honorably discharged from the Army at the Separation Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, on June 30, 1946.
His records indicate he was in Company "K", 311th Infantry
Regiment, 78th Infantry Division (The Lightening Division) of the
1st U.S. Army.
He was sent in with reinforcements, to shore up the ground troops, during the 'Rhineland Battle.' The Rhineland Battle had the objective of insuring bridges were built, over the Rhine River, for the Allies to use in the invasion of Germany. Although Bud would not see it, his Infantry Regiment, the 311th Timberwolves, would be the first Allied troops to cross the Rhine, on their way to capture and occupy Germany.
Bud said the first thing the platoon sergeant told the replacements: "If you want to live, stay close to me and stay low." He said he didn't have to be told twice and it was a good thing the sergeant didn't make any sudden stops because he WAS close. As recalled, on the first day they engaged the Germans, Bud was hit by 50 caliber machine gun fire. The bullet entered his right upper arm (biceps, shoulder area) and exited near the center of his back. When I had seen the wounds, I recall wondering how anyone survived with that kind of injury and under those conditions. He said at first, there was no pain, just numbness, probably because of the shock to the nerves. He was not carried out immediately and his first treatment¹ was the application of sulfur powder to his open wounds. When the medics were carrying him, on a litter, back to the field hospital, a mortar round exploded near by and he was wounded again, in the lower back. I seem to recollect, but I can not be sure, that he told me one of the medics was wounded or killed by the shrapnel, from the same mortar, that inflicted his second wound..
I believe Bud's most frustrating period in the Army was right after his long recuperation period in a stateside hospital. He was put back to regular duty, and apparently the Army didn't know what to do with him and assigned him guard duty and was planning to send him to some type training refresher course. Guard duty, in many cases, is only 'make busy' work and hardly a reward for being wounded in combat. Refresher training for a combat veteran, was even more ridiculous. In some manner, one of the officers reviewed his service record, noted he was assigned guard duty, and there were plans to send him back to training. The officer called him in and told him he didn't have to perform the guard duty and he could forget about the training. His Army life, from that point on, was primarily, just waiting for his discharge.
Bud once told me, like most infantrymen, he was very proud of his Combat Infantryman's Badge. There were two reasons for this; The badge is only awarded after an infantryman has proven he is capable of entering combat, AND... the badge meant he received an additional ten dollars, a month, pay. Doesn't sound like much now, but when the pay was only fifty dollars a month, you were looking at a a twenty percent pay raise.
About six months before his death Bud saw, one of his 2, Purple Heart Medals for the first time. While he was recuperating in the hospital the medal was apparently sent to his father. It had never made it's way to him and was last in the personal belongings of his sister. While a little worn (looked like the kids had played with it), the medal was intact, in the original box, along with a uniform ribbon and ribbon lapel pin. Although he didn't say much when I gave it to him (a natural Haugh reaction), I could see, for a short period, he was taken back.
AWARDS ~ RIBBONS ~ MEDALS ~ BADGES
Contributors to this profile: Jim Dancy,
Military Records, Medals and Badges provided by Michael Haugh
¹The standard treatment of wounds, on the battlefield, in World War II, was the application of sulfa powder to prevent infection. This of course, was before the days of penicillin. Each soldier had a small pouch on his web belt. In this pouch was a paper packet of powdered sulfur. (ed. note)
This period in time, is truly one to recognize the service of our World War II veterans. It has become very popular and rightly so. My appreciation, however, goes back to the time when it was actually happening. I can remember being around the radio when President Roosevelt made his famous, "A day in infamy" speech. I am sure I had no idea what it meant but I was there. I can also remember so many of the young men, fathers and sons, going off to war. To signify a family member was in military service, a small red, white and blue banner, with a star for each member of the family in service, was hung in front windows of homes. A banner could be seen hanging in almost every home. If the banner contained a Gold star it indicated a family member had been killed in the war. There were plenty of these also. Every body knew a 'Gold Star Mother' (a mother that had lost a son or daughter in the war.)
I have appreciated what these men and women contributed my entire life. I have known many of them; from the Battle of the Bulge to the Bataan Death March, to the Attack on Pearl Harbor: those who were awarded the Silver and Bronze Star Medals (for valor), Purple Hearts for their wounds
and other citations for distinguished service. I think to the man, they had common traits: Just ordinary men, willing to respond to the call of their county and protect their families and their way of life. And we should also recognize the folks left at home. Especially the women that kept the family together, worked defense jobs and lived in constant dread of receiving a War Department telegram notifying them of their loved one's death.
The Country certainly hopes there will never be the need to mobilize such a force again. The primary reason is obvious. I have an additional reason. I don't think the country could do it again. It seems the general population has become self centered, with so many whiney, individualistic, demonstrating retreads, they would still be carrying their anti-draft placards while an enemy occupied their neighborhood. There certainly is nothing wrong with never having served in the military but I have contempt, for able bodied men, that were called and refused to go. And.... that includes ex-presidents.
So... This WAS a special generation, the likes of which the country will
probably never see again. jkd
Posted/Revised June 16, 2001