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Walter Link Army

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Walter Raymond Link (Bud) - 4407 Views
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Assigned: 75th Division, 291st Regiment, Company C, 3rd Platoon
Highest Rank: First Lt.
Foreign Service Length: 1 Year, 4 Months, 24 Days
Continental Service Length: 1 Year, 7 Months, 6 Days
Location of Service: Central Europe
Gender: male
Basic Training: Camp Croft, South Carolina
Place of Separation: Fort Brag, North Carolina
From City: McDonald
From State: Ohio
Current City: Westerville
Current State: Ohio
Date of Birth: 04/1925
My War Stories
  
  12/7/1941 Walter Link was in McDonald, Ohio at the drug store when the news came over the radio; the United States had been attacked by the Japanese at the Pearl Harbor Naval Base in Hawaii. Being in high school, it did not hit Walter right away but he knew people who were going to sign up for service right away. At this point, it started to get personal in his small town with the reality that the United States was going to war and his closest friends would be on the frontlines.
  6/28/1943 Walter Link was born in New York City, NY while he moved to and grew up in Ohio during his early years. He lived in Florida in 9th grade but returned to Ohio a few years later where he would spend the rest of his life. Walter Link got a letter from the US Government that his number had been called up and he had been drafted for military service in 1943 for World War II. Graduating just a year earlier in 1942, Walter was working in a steel mill at the age of 17 when his country came calling. Walter recalls not being eager to go into the service especially as he was dating his soon to be wife; however, he still knew that serving was his duty as an American.
  7/1943 Walter got his military papers and reported to Fort Hayes in Columbus, Ohio for duty. Three days later he was put on a train without any idea where he was going next. Luckily, a couple of his high school friends were with Walter so he could partner up with them easing the some anxiety with the hometown connections as they endeavored together into what would forever change their lives as American soldiers.
  7/1943 The train arrived at Camp Croft, South Carolina where Walter started his basic training. Walter unfortunately suffered from a hernia from some of the drills resulting in a sick call for 30 days. After his sick call, he was given a 14 day leave pass to go home but he did not even know how to put on a uniform at this point.
  11/1943 After his recovery, he certainly proved himself during the remainder of his basic training program as he was asked to stay on at Camp Croft to help train the next group of recruits. Walter worked his way up the ranks eventually making Sergeant. Walter really enjoyed his position at Camp Croft believing it to be a good job and very rewarding training the incoming men to turn them into soldiers.
  1944 One memorable event from his time training the new recruits occurred while in the midst of a lesson teaching new soldiers about hand grenades. One of his students pulled the pin, let the handle fly off and dropped the live grenade at his own feet. Everyone’s hearts started racing as the 12 second timer started and they all knew what that meant. Walter acted quickly grabbing the grenade and throwing it over the training walls to keep it from exploding in the middle of their group.
  6/1944 Walter successfully trained three groups of basic training classes before going on to Officer Candidate School. OCS was not something Walter desired to do; however, the Clerk, who was a good friend of Walter’s decided that it would be the right next move for him and went ahead adding Walter’s name to the list of new contenders. Given his record and reputation, Walter was selected for an interview and thoroughly impressed the military panel of judges. Later that same day after interviewing with five people, Walter received word that he had been accepted into OCS and he would leave that very night on a train beginning his induction into Officer Candidate School.
  9/1944 Walter arrived at Fort Benning in Georgia for 90 days of OCS training.
  1/30/1945 Following his graduation from Officer Candidate School, Walter received a 14 day leave pass to go home before reporting to Fort Dix in New Jersey. During his leave, Walter made the most of his time by finally marrying his high school sweetheart and spending a ten day honeymoon together before being shipped off to Europe for the war.
  2/19/1945 Walter boarded the Queen Mary ship which took four days to load all the troops as there were 15,000 soldiers set to leave from the New York City harbor. Being an officer, Walter had a personal cabin; however, it was just as packed as the rest of the ship so there wasn’t much of a difference from that of the enlisted men. During the journey across the Atlantic Ocean, Walter played a lot of cards and actually won $1,500 on the way over, which was quite a purse prize for the 1940s. The Queen Mary successfully zigzagged across the Atlantic without an escort to protect them from the German U-boats attacks.
  3/1/1945 Walter arrived in Scotland, shortly before they were escorted by planes which felt comforting. Shortly thereafter, they boarded a train taking them to South Hampton, England, followed by a boat across English Channel to La Harve, France whereby they boarded a second train to Belgium where they were picked up by US military trucks taking them right to the front line where Walter received a rifle platoon to lead. Dave Hope from Cleveland, Ohio was Walter’s buddy throughout Officer Candidate School but he got hit the very first night by the Germans and was sent back home. Walter was sad his friend got injured but-he got his ticket home.
  3/4/1945 Walter and his platoon were on the Rhine River and the Germans were on the other side. Walter was not a smoker so he gave his cigarette rations to the commander and clerk where he was assigned to the third platoon. Walter’s platoon comprised of 31 men and he was their third platoon leader in three weeks adding some uneasiness to his assignment. As Walter was only 19 at the time, almost all of the soldiers were older than he was coupled with the fact that he was a new replacement, they were standoffish towards him as to be expected. Walter was coming in as their leader when they had seen more of the war than he had. Frontline fighting can be very difficult as no one wanted to make friends with a person who would not make it through the war. Most of his men were hardened soldiers of the 75th Infantry Division, 291st Regiment, Company C, 3rd Platoon that General Patton had marched up from the South to relieve the Battle of the Bulge.
  3/7/1945 During his third day of serving in the war, Walter was selected to go across the Rhine River to pick up five of his soldiers and get German prisoners. Walter was in shock as he just got there and this was going to be a suicide mission as the two previous missions were wiped out. On his way to the rubber boat it was called off over the radio. The next night, they were going to make another attempt, Walter went in a Piper Cub plane to scout the area but it was called off. Again, the following night the same thing happened, it was called off again because of full moon. Finally, the mission was cancelled as the Army was about to cross.
  3/9/1945 Walter was in the second company to cross the Rhine River in a duck boat. The river current was so strong that the boat had to face up the river to make it across.
  4/1945 Walter and his runner were always in the same fox hole, his runner would deliver messages back and forth from the commander for his platoon but since Walter was an officer the runner dug the fox hole. He would dig the fox holes 5 or 6 feet deep and make a bench to sit on.
  4/1945 Frequently, Walter’s platoon was marching against the retreating Germans, one town at a time, sometimes they would serve as the lead platoon and sometimes as the relief platoon. One day, a sniper targeted Walter and hit his helmet. Later that same day his platoon found the sniper and Walter’s men wanted to take him out with a bazooka; however they were in a house so Walter was not sure if it was safe to fire in a room. Finally, Walter agreed to his men’s wishes and gave them the go ahead to take out the sniper. His men successfully avenged the sniper who tried to take out their leader.
  6/1945 Walter was reassigned to Graves Registration in a town called Onkel, Germany on the Rhine River which was located just one mile north of the Remagen Bridge. Walter was in Graves Registration for a majority of the remainder of his occupation service in Europe. The purpose of the Graves Registration post is for the United States to do everything possible to ensure that no American soldier was left buried in Germany. Most often, they would make German civilians do most of the digging and retrieval of the bodies. Walter was assigned to transportation and felt fortunate that he would not have to get so close to the retrieval of American soldiers.
  5/1946 Transferred to Camp Chesterfield were a cigarettes depot was which was a good assignment Once a week a truck would be sent into Paris, France full of GI’s on relaxation passes and an officer had to be with them. Given his rank and due to the fact that there were few officers available near his post, Walter went into Paris more than ten times as an escort for the American GIs. During his visits, he explored the city while riding bikes, metro and buses for free for soldiers in uniform. Walter did not care much for the French people but really liked their city and enjoyed his time there.
  7/3/1946 Walter will never forget the day he got his orders to go home and shortly thereafter boarded a liberty ship that was set sail for the USA.
  7/12/1946 Walter landed in New York Harbor then to Camp Kilmer then to Fort Bragg.
  8/28/1946 Discharged from service at Fort Bragg then a train back to Georgia.
  1947 Walter later thought about rejoining the Army but he could not be an officer since he did not go to college and they would not give him the rank of First Sergeant so he never rejoined and possibly put him a different path than the Korean War.

My War Awards
  • American Campaign Medal - WW II
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Combat Infantry Badge
  • European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
  • World War II Army of Occupation Service Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
My War Pictures
Click on the pictures to enlarge.
        
  Walter World War II, Graves Registration, Rhine River, Germany. Walter World War II, Graves Registration, Rhine River, Germany. German Luger holster from World War II. German Luger holster from World War II. Pistole Parabellum 1908 known as the iconic Luger from World War II. Pistole Parabellum 1908 known as the iconic Luger from World War II.
  Fox Hole Walter Link stayed in for a night. Fox Hole Walter Link stayed in for a night. Poem written about Walter during the War. Poem written about Walter during the War. Orders Walter received to officially begin his World War II journey. Orders Walter received to officially begin his World War II journey.
  Picture of Walter standing in front of the flag of heroes in Westerville, Ohio. Picture of Walter standing in front of the flag of heroes in Westerville, Ohio. Flag flown in honor of Walter Link at the Capitol on November, 11 1999. Flag flown in honor of Walter Link at the Capitol on November, 11 1999. Medals and flag of Walter. Medals and flag of Walter.
  Walter Link 2013 Walter Link 2013 Walter World War II Camp Boston. Walter World War II Camp Boston. Picture taken after the war when Walter went back to a fox hole he had slept in during a battle. Picture taken after the war when Walter went back to a fox hole he had slept in during a battle.

My War Videos
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