Category Archives: Western Front

William Y. Boyd II ’44

William Y. Boyd II ’44

William Y. Boyd II ’44

(1926–    )

Army, Technical Sergeant

It occurred to me that in my WWII recollection printed in the Fall 2011 Andover magazine I made no mention of the fact that during the German winter offensive (The Battle of the Bulge) the Rainbow Division’s supporting units had not caught up with its three infantry regiments, and we fought as “Task Force Linden,” General Linden being our assistant division commander. It was under Task Force Linden that my Antitank Company was awarded its Presidential Unit Citation for heroism. I would say we took most of our casualties during that time.

As you may know, an infantry division usually contains 15,000 men, but only 9,000 are infantry, divided into three infantry regiments. Ours were the 222nd, 232nd, and 242nd. I was in the 242nd’s Antitank Company Mine Platoon. The rest of the division was made up of artillery, quartermasters, signals, field hospitals, and other units, which, of course, traveled much more slowly than the infantry regiments, since they did not much care to be shot at. We didn’t like it much either, but that was our job.

Boyd is the author of The Gentle Infantryman, published in 1985.

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Robert H. Traylor ’43

Traylor '43

Robert H. Traylor '43

(1925–    )
Army, Private First Class

This is a story about several months in the Army. It is neither heroic nor tragic but merely an Army SNAFU that happened to me while on duty in 1944.

My request for a few days’ pass in order to get married and have a short honeymoon was denied by the director of the Army Reconditioning Center. Not only that, he said I had been goofing off long enough and would be sent back immediately to active duty. No marriage, no honeymoon, and even I was sort of happy to get out of there.

Several months prior to this event I was reported to the Army hospital in Davis, California, with a temperature of 106. No doctor was on duty at the time, so I was given a bed overnight with the notation that I had sunstroke and should be sent back to duty in the morning. In and out of the hospital over the next few days—still with a temperature but no medical examination—I was startled to learn that my recent sputum test proved that I had Tuberculosis. Still no medical examination, but I was “provisionally discharged” from the Army and put on the waiting list for the TB Sanitarium in Colorado. When I casually notified my mother of my current status she called the Red Cross and asked them to investigate. After a few days an actual Army doctor examined me and said I did not have TB but had Scarlet Fever and needed at least three months’ rest before being sent back to active duty. Somehow I was re-entered into the Army and send to a rehab center in Auburn, California.

I had a pleasurable, lazy several weeks there and met a very nice girl with whom I got well acquainted. After spending quite a bit of time at her home, her mother said I had to marry her daughter immediately or get lost. That was the moment I got moved out of town and back to active duty by the Rehab director. With two years of Army duty remaining and then four years of college, my relationship with the girl in Auburn just faded away.

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Donald R. Berman ’42

Berman '42

Donald R. Berman '42

(1925–2009)
Naval Reserve, Lieutenant

Submitted by his wife, Dorette

My husband credited his excellent education at Andover as the foundation for much of what he accomplished. After graduating from Andover in 1942, he prepared to join the war effort, attending Williams College on the V12 Navy College Training Program. The USNR sent him to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Sam Houston State University, and then to a veterans’ hospital near Boston. As a Lieutenant, he was ordered to active duty in 1945. To his great fortune, the war ended just before he was to sail overseas.

Fifty years later, Don was honored to attend a reunion at the White House along with fellow war-era graduates at the invitation of George W. Bush ’42. As the President was overseas when we arrived, we were greeted graciously by First Lady Barbara Bush and their dog, Millie. We enjoyed specially arranged tours of the capital, then returned to the White House where a helicopter landed on the White House lawn and the President stepped out to greet us.

Don practiced pediatrics in Chelmsford, Mass., for more than 50 years.

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William A. Sutton ’40

Sutton '40

William A. Sutton '40

(1923–    )
Army, Master Sergeant

I joined the U.S. Army Enlisted Reserve Corps shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was called to active duty in March 1942. After basic training at Camp Crowder, Mo., and specialized cryptography training at Vint Hill Farms Station, Va., I served in the signal intelligence section of the First U.S. Army Headquarters Company in England, France, Belgium, and Germany, working with codes and ciphers, until V-E Day, May 11, 1945. I was scheduled to join the war in the Pacific after additional signal intelligence training at Arlington Hall, Va., when the war ended with Japan’s surrender in August 1945. I was discharged in September and continued my education at Wesleyan University and Columbia Law School.

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Frank McClain Reinhart ’38

Reinhart '38

Frank McClain Reinhart '38

Second Lieutenant, AUS
Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart

From Phillips Academy, Andover in World War II, by Leonard F. James, pages 158–159

Frank McClain Reinhart ’38 is remembered by those who knew him at Andover as a quiet lad of determination and integrity who embraced life with zest and enjoyment. Keenly interested in outdoor activities, he was a leading spirit in the formation of the Ski Team and the Outing Club, serving as Vice President and Secretary of the new organization, and efficient manager of the Varsity Baseball Team and an enthusiastic member of the Advisory Board. His honor standing in scholarship was recognized in his award of the George Xavier McLanahan Memorial Scholarship and his sterling character in the Smith Lewis Multer, Jr. memorial Scholarship awarded to a worthy student of limited means who, in the judgment of the Headmaster, has exhibited promise in scholarship and qualities of leadership and wholesome influence in the general activities of the School.

Shortly before taking his Princeton degree cum laude in the School of Public and International Affairs, he enlisted in the Ski Troops and was sent to the Aleutians. Offered a commission, he preferred to be with the troops as a private because he felt he could not be a good officer without understanding and sharing the life of the ordinary soldier. After a tour of duty in the Aleutians, he was returned to the United Sates to instruct troops in ski warfare. But feeling that he was not doing his share in the war, he transferred to the Air Corps, and again turned down an appointment to Office Candidate School when many Air Corps training units were curtailed. Instead, he applied for immediate service in Europe, and was shipped overseas with the 398th Infantry Regiment. His Bronze Star Medal was awarded for heroic action in France on December 20, 1944.

“Ordered to move his mortar squad to a position within seventy-five yards of the enemy during a determined counter-attack by hostile forces, Sergeant Reinhart proceeded to execute the mission despite the fact that casualties had incapacitated all other members of his squad. Carrying the weapon and ten rounds of ammunition for a distance of three hundred yards, he single-handedly put the gun in action and by accurate delivery of his fire was instrumental in repulsing the attack, although he himself was the target of enemy small arms fire throughout the action.”

Offered a commission in the field, he returned briefly to Paris, then hitch-hiked back to his men for his last battle. On April 7, 1945, outside Odheim, this gallant soldier gave his life for his troops in an action which won him the Silver Star posthumously.

“Engaged on a tank-supported attack on strong enemy positions…Lieutenant Reinhart and his heavy weapons platoon were left in a precarious position fifty yards from the enemy entrenchments when the tanks were forced to withdraw…. Skillfully deploying his men under hostile mortar, artillery and small arms fire, Lieutenant Reinhart directed their withdrawal while continuing to furnish supporting fire for the riflemen until his movements attracted heavy fire which killed him instantly.”

His devotion to duty and ideals will ever remain in the annals of Andover pride and tradition.

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Robert A. Jordan ’44

Jordan '44

Robert A. Jordan '44

(1926–    )
Army, Corporal

Two weeks following graduation in 1944, the Army was “testing” me at Fort Sill Field Artillery Training Center in Oklahoma. Previously, I wondered if graduation from Andover might influence evaluators to assign me to a “special” unit. Testing involved height, weight, and physical condition emphasizing feet. Those of us passing the tests were informed that we were “Mule Packers” requiring height and strength to load disassembled parts of 75mm howitzers onto specially designed mule pack saddles together with related ammo and supplies, plus physical conditioning to lead mules long distances over rough terrain.

The Army’s assignment was to a “special” unit but not of the kind I had imagined!

Following WWII, Jordan volunteered for service in the Army Reserve, and then transferred to the Naval Reserve as an Ensign after passing the Certified Public Accountancy exam— following which he was called to active duty in the Korean War in 1950. He was discharged from the Navy as a Lieutenant, ending, he says, his “checkered military service.”

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Robert Coulson ’43

Coulson '43

Robert Coulson '43

(1924–    )
Army/AUS, Sergeant

Like many graduates, I was drafted in the spring of 1943, not into the Fighting Army, because of my thick glasses, but assigned to a Mobil Laundry unit as a mechanic, which killed any dreams of heroism and medals. It only got worse. I learned that we were about to be shipped to India, so I had visions of being up to my elbows in mountains of soiled G.I. skivvies being washed in the dark river water of Burma. What could be done?

Thankfully, my father was a Wall Street lawyer with friends in Washington. We took lunch with a kindly Congressman in the Capitol dining room. As if by magic I was transferred to an Army Harbor Craft Company and shipped off to Southampton, England, where I was put in charge of a high-speed launch, which I ran for the next two years, blasting out into the English Channel to meet Navy ships and troop transports. That good Congressman, combined with what I must have learned at Andover about how life works, probably saved my life.

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