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Ernest Wolke Army

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Ernest K. Wolke - 38472 Views
honored by Bitts, Grandson


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Assigned: 3rd Army, 76th Infantry Division, 385 Regiment, Company K
Highest Rank: Technical Sergeant
Entered Service: 9/30/1944
Exited Service: 7/25/1946
Foreign Service Length: 1 Year, 4 Months and 26 Days
Continental Service Length: 4 Months and 29 Days
Location of Service: Central Europe, Rhineland
Gender: male
Military Position: 2nd Scout
Place of Separation: Fort Meade, Maryland
From City: Kalida
From State: Ohio
Current City: Delphos
Current State: Ohio
Date Deceased: 04/2008
My War Stories
  
  1/1944 Ernest K. Wolke was a sophomore in high school when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He did not think a whole lot of the war at that time because he did not think the war would last that long, he was also young and naive. During my grandfather’s senior year, his entire class was drafted for military service but they were allowed to finish their senior year of high school and he was not called up until September of that year.
  9/30/1944 During basic training, my grandfather was assigned to a heavy weapons company, where he was trained on heavy machine guns, 30-caliber water-cooled machine gun, and 81 mm mortars. He often had to walk a very strenuous 4-5 miles in the Florida sand to each of the ranges carrying equipment at speed march paces, which were grueling. Most people made it through basic training. My grandfather was hospitalized for a week from over exhaustion during a speed march.
  12/1944 At the age of 18, he was inducted into the Army in Cleveland, Ohio on September 30, 1944. Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to Camp Atterbury, Indiana and then to Camp Blanding, Florida for 16 weeks (10/16/1944 through 1/1945) basic training heavy weapons. He experienced a 5-day furlough to Fort Meade, Maryland then Camp Shank, New Jersey, then to New York. He was sent overseas on a British passenger liner that was not escorted because it was so fast and zigzagged every 6 minutes. He landed in Glasgow, Scotland after a 7-day journey crossing the Atlantic Ocean. From Scotland, he traveled by train to South Hampton, England then to La Harve, France by troop ship and finally to the 76th infantry in Germany by truck to the front lines. When my grandfather went into combat, he was assigned to a rifle company, which he had not been trained.
  2/1945 12 people in a squad, 1 B.A.R. man, squad leader, 2 scouts and the rest were rifle man. Squad leader would yell, “scouts out” and my grandfather, a second scout would follow the first scout into battle. Scouts would always go out before everyone else.
  3/1945 PFC made about $75 a month, bought one war bond a month for about $18.75 to send home, paid $8.60 a month for insurance and the rest was for spending.
  4/1945 Did not really have any problem with the civilians in Germany or France.
  4/1945 In Trubenhausen, Germany, the first scout (Pvt. Alvie R. Williams) was shot and killed 10 feet in front of my grandfather. Alvie had just got married before going overseas. Shortly after Alvie was shot, the Germans threw grenades “potato mashers” at my grandfather’s squad. The Germans were in the woods so my grandfather could not see them but he saw the grenades landing all around him. Potato mashers are concussion grenades so my grandfather hit the deck and was not harmed by them as he found a foxhole, however, the person behind him was shot in the leg. Later his squad told him that bullets were kicking up dirt all around him as he ran. Two days after the fierce battle my grandfather had to go back to the battle ground and find his fallen comrades. He helped find 2nd Lt James L. Cook and Pvt Alvie R. Williams so they could be honorably laid to rest. During this same battle, my grandfather believes the legendary hero of World War I Alvin C. York’s nephew Alvin C. York was in his company K and was killed in battle.
  5/1945 The 76th infantry stopped at the Mulde River as per the agreed upon dividing line between the Axis and Allied commanders. My grandfather expected to see large Russian soldiers but was surprised how small they were in person. The Russian soldiers my grandfather met were nice but the Russian officers were stubborn about allowing people to cross the bridges. He stayed near the Mulde River guarding bridges and prisoners for two months after the war. When the 76th infantry was deactivated and my grandfather went to Le Mans, France. The part of Germany my grandfather fought became East Germany after the Yalta Conference divisions.
  10/1945 In Le Mans, France my grandfather became part of the 156th Infantry battalion guarding American prisoners and was assigned to the personnel office for records, court martials, and classifications. As many as 5,000 prisoners were there because of a range of violations; they even had a gallows to hang people and my grandfather knew one of the men in charge of hanging people as his full time job. When the 156th Infantry was deactivated, all prisoners were sent back from France to the states, many of whom became prisoners for black market offenses. After the 156th was deactivated, my grandfather was transferred to the 707th military police battalion in the personnel office in Belgium. The 707th was much different from the 156th as the 707th was living the highlife in hotels with served meals compared to 26-mile marches and eating out of one’s helmet in the infantry. My grandfather knew when he got home from combat that he would not be able get as good of a job as he had in the Army. When he came home, he went back to digging ditches with his brother in law. After being home for three months, he enrolled and attended an associate college for accounting. Later he was recruited to do part-time work for the Navy reserve, then a few months later the Korean War broke out and my grandfather was activated and sent to the Korean War to serve on the USS Leo, an ammunition ship as a Petty Officer 1st Class.
  1946 Promotions: Private for 3 ¾ months in basic training, Scout for 7 months as Private First Class, clerk typist for 3 months as Private First Class, classification specialist for 4 months as Staff Sergeant, Administrative NCO for 4 months as Technical Sergeant
  7/1946 Came back on a merchant ship from Antwerp, Belgium.

My War Awards
  • Army Good Conduct Medal (Awarded for honorable and faithful service without any non-judicial punishments, disciplinary infractions, or court martial offenses during a period of war.)
  • Bronze Star Medal (As a result of a study conducted in 1947, the policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star Medal to soldiers who had the combat infantry badge.)
  • Combat Infantry Badge (Personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy)
  • European - African - Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (Two battle stars one for Central Europe and Rhineland)
  • Overseas Service (3 Bars of Overseas Service (6 Months Each).)
  • Overseas Service (3 Bars of Overseas Service (6 Months Each).)
  • Rifle Badge (On sharpshooter badge.)
  • World War II Army of Occupation Service Medal (More than 30 days consecutive service while assigned occupying Germany.)
  • World War II Victory Medal (Nike standing victorious, holding a broken sword representing the end of the World War II.)
My War Pictures
Click on the pictures to enlarge.
        
  Water proof nylon bag that my grandfather used to keep his valuables from getting wet. Water proof nylon bag that my grandfather used to keep his valuables from getting wet. Shovel that my grandfather used during the war to dig fox holes. Shovel that my grandfather used during the war to dig fox holes. Leather case that held two decks of playing cards that my grandfather carried with him. Leather case that held two decks of playing cards that my grandfather carried with him.
  Knife that my grandfather carried with him after the 1st scout was killed in front of him. Knife that my grandfather carried with him after the 1st scout was killed in front of him. Frame that I created for my grandfather. He passed away a few days before I could show him it. Frame that I created for my grandfather. He passed away a few days before I could show him it. 76th Infantry, Company "K" King, 1st Platoon, Germany. 76th Infantry, Company
  76th Infantry’s path through Germany. My grandfather joined near Bingen and Boppard. The concentration camp is marked on the map in pen. 76th Infantry’s path through Germany. My grandfather joined near Bingen and Boppard. The concentration camp is marked on the map in pen. Military Payment Certificate. To reduce profiteering from currency arbitrage, the US military devised the program to replace normal currency. Military Payment Certificate. To reduce profiteering from currency arbitrage, the US military devised the program to replace normal currency. German gun my grandfather shipped back home from Germany. German gun my grandfather shipped back home from Germany.
  German gun found by my grandfather. Could be the gun Sutton and my grandfather are looking at in another picture. German gun found by my grandfather. Could be the gun Sutton and my grandfather are looking at in another picture. Germany's Autobahn "superhighway." Germany's Autobahn Here is a classic GI picture on a jeep. The jeep became an indispensable tool during World War II because of its ability to go anywhere. The Jeep was used by every Allied country, served in every theater of war, and performed a variety of tasks. Here is a classic GI picture on a jeep. The jeep became an indispensable tool during World War II because of its ability to go anywhere. The Jeep was used by every Allied country, served in every theater of war, and performed a variety of tasks.
  Trupenhausen, Germany was the hottest town my grandfather had ever been in. He was the second scout and the first scout was killed right in front of him. A lot of guys he knew died that day. Trupenhausen, Germany was the hottest town my grandfather had ever been in. He was the second scout and the first scout was killed right in front of him. A lot of guys he knew died that day. Personnel Office, Lemans France. Captain Bullock is in the top row middle and my grandfather if second to the right top row. Personnel Office, Lemans France. Captain Bullock is in the top row middle and my grandfather if second to the right top row. I like this picture because I had to do some restoration to figure out what it was. See my grandmother at some point in time glued all the WWII pictures into a book, which seems to have been a common theme but my grandfather had written on the back of each one. It says "Kaput" which is a German word for out of order, not working. The building is definitely kaput and was a classic word used by GI's along with F.U.B.A.R. I like this picture because I had to do some restoration to figure out what it was. See my grandmother at some point in time glued all the WWII pictures into a book, which seems to have been a common theme but my grandfather had written on the back of each one. It says
  My grandfather called these TD's or tank destroyers. Tank destroyers are used primarily to provide anti-tank support in combat operations. TD's were not labeled as an actual tank. My grandfather called these TD's or tank destroyers. Tank destroyers are used primarily to provide anti-tank support in combat operations. TD's were not labeled as an actual tank. Guarding American Russian lines near Chesminity Guarding American Russian lines near Chesminity Official combination scorebook used during basic training. Inside the book has my grandfather's target results of where he shot in basic training for qualifying. My grandfather said he missed on purpose so that he did not become a sniper. Official combination scorebook used during basic training. Inside the book has my grandfather's target results of where he shot in basic training for qualifying. My grandfather said he missed on purpose so that he did not become a sniper.
  Picture of the infamous German "88." An anti-aircraft and anti-tank artillery gun that was used widely throughout the war, and could be found on almost every battlefield. Picture of the infamous German Heroes lost from the 385th Regiment. Heroes lost from the 385th Regiment. 76th Infantry Reunion, Top row Ernie Wolke Andy Tutuska, Ben Wright, David Weiss, Bill Fortschneider 76th Infantry Reunion, Top row Ernie Wolke Andy Tutuska, Ben Wright, David Weiss, Bill Fortschneider
  My grandfather was always with Sutton to the right. My grandfather and Sutton examine a pistol. My grandfather was always with Sutton to the right. My grandfather and Sutton examine a pistol. To the left my grandfather, Stanley Flisak. To the left my grandfather, Stanley Flisak. Home from the war for the first time. Home from the war for the first time.
  The Hague Peace Palace International Court, Netherlands. The Hague Peace Palace International Court, Netherlands. Ovens used to destroy the bodies in the Buckenwald concentration camp. Ovens used to destroy the bodies in the Buckenwald concentration camp. Germany's Autobahn Germany's Autobahn
  My grandfather at his desk in the Personnel Office, Lemans, France. My grandfather at his desk in the Personnel Office, Lemans, France. To the left Charles Strong, Ben Wright, and Ernie Wolke. To the left Charles Strong, Ben Wright, and Ernie Wolke. Bunks in the Buchenwald concentration camp was a Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar. Bunks in the Buchenwald concentration camp was a Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg near Weimar.
  Sacred Heart Cathedral, France. Sacred Heart Cathedral, France. Waiting for the Russians at the Mulde River, Germany. Waiting for the Russians at the Mulde River, Germany. Russian soldier to the left near the American-Russian lines. Russian soldier to the left near the American-Russian lines.
  With some kids on the dock in Voldendam, Holland. With some kids on the dock in Voldendam, Holland. Wolke Staff Sergeant Stanley Flisak on the motorcycle. Wolke Staff Sergeant Stanley Flisak on the motorcycle. Staff Sergeant Joseph Gelsi to the left. Staff Sergeant Joseph Gelsi to the left.
  My grandfather's squad leader Stanley Flisak on the left. My grandfather's squad leader Stanley Flisak on the left. Marken Island, Amsterdam. Check out the name on the boat "President Roosevelt.". Marken Island, Amsterdam. Check out the name on the boat Port of Antwerp, Belgium. This is where my grandfather left for the states in 1946. Port of Antwerp, Belgium. This is where my grandfather left for the states in 1946.
  L'Arc De Triomphe Paris, France 1946. L'Arc De Triomphe Paris, France 1946. Military Police 707 headquarters in Belgium. Military Police 707 headquarters in Belgium. Tent City outside of Lemans, France. Tent City outside of Lemans, France.
  This is the actual name plate that was on my grandfather's desk. There is another picture in this series where you can actually see it. This is the actual name plate that was on my grandfather's desk. There is another picture in this series where you can actually see it. Picture in front of Napoleon's tomb 1946. Picture in front of Napoleon's tomb 1946. Catholic services being held right before crossing the Rhine river in Germany. Catholic services being held right before crossing the Rhine river in Germany.
  Official War Ration Wallet that is in mint shape. Still contains all the stamps. Official War Ration Wallet that is in mint shape. Still contains all the stamps. French Riviera 1946. Serviceman were not allowed to go down to the beach where the ladies were topless. French Riviera 1946. Serviceman were not allowed to go down to the beach where the ladies were topless. Bridge on the Rhine that had been bombed. Bridge on the Rhine that had been bombed.
  Eiffel tower Paris, France 1946 Eiffel tower Paris, France 1946 The Class "B" Pass provided certain privileges. The Class This is my grandfather's desk after the war in Belgium, 1946. This is my grandfather's desk after the war in Belgium, 1946.
  Beer party from Germany to France. This train car is known as the 40's or 8's, which means it, could haul 40 men or 8 horses. Beer party from Germany to France. This train car is known as the 40's or 8's, which means it, could haul 40 men or 8 horses. Picture taken before going to France. Picture taken before going to France. Notre Dame, Paris 1946 Notre Dame, Paris 1946

My War Videos
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Ernest Wolke World War 2 Story