Bulgebuster News     Last updated on 02/02/2014
Some information has been excerpted from the 75th Infantry Division Veterans' Association Newsletter - "The Bulgebuster."
To contact the 75th Division Veterans' Association write to: 75th Division Veterans' Association,293 Nancy Belle Lane, Missouri City, Texas, 77359.
For research suggestions click here or scroll to the bottom of the page.

2014 REUNION INFORMATION UPDATED ON 12/28/2013.   click here.

The 75th Infantry Division (WWII) Challenge Coin

Bronze Star for all WWII Veterans who earned the CIB or CMB

Wikipedia offers the following explanation of the history of the Challenge Coin: "There are several stories detailing the origins of the challenge coin. According to the most common story, challenge coins originated during World War I. American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons.

Some were wealthy scions attending colleges such as Yale and Harvard who quit in mid-term to join the war. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck.

Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilots' aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land.

Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Unfortunately, saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine.

Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner - a challenger would ask to see the medallion. If the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued on throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive.

According to another story, challenge coins date back to the second world war and were first used by Office of Strategic Service personnel who were deployed in Nazi held France. The coins were simply a local coin used as a "Bona Fides" during a personal meeting to help verify a person's identity. There would be specific aspects such as type of coin, date of the coin, etc. that were examined by each party. This helped prevent infiltration into the meeting by a spy who would have to have advance knowledge of the meeting time and place as well as what coin was to be presented, amongst other signals, as bona fides."


The 75th Division Veterans' Association is now offering its own beautiful version of the Challenge Coin.  Please click here for ordering information and a larger image of the coin.  What a great gift for your 75th Veteran!  The Association is also offering other collectibles and merchandise.  If interested, please inquire  about merchandise that is offered and availability.

The hat pictured here is one of the items offered and is available in red, white and blue for $15.00 USD (Price, style, and availability is subject to change for all items).  The picture is a sample photo.  Contact (contact information unavailable at this time) for more information, current pricing, and to place your order. 

Additional items available include:

Lapel Pins: $8.00 USD

Commemorative Coins: $14.00 USD

Belt Buckles: $40.00 USD

75th Division History Book: $10.00 USD

 

The actual product may vary.  The 75th Division Dad website receives NO proceeds from the sale of any items offered by the 75th Division Association.  I only post these offerings as an unsolicited complimentary service to the Association.  Should you have problems receiving your order or any other issues, you will need to contact the Association for assistance.  Thank you.

 

The 75th Division In The News

News coverage of 75th Veteran Jim Butz receiving French Legion of Honor.

WWII Photographs

Folks, I once again make my plea.  Please do something with those WWII photographs that your Dad or Grandfather stored in that chest up in the attic.  The photos that I have posted from my collection were found by chance and I immediately converted them to digital format - I got lucky. Please take some time, dig out those old photos and convert them to digital.  If you would like, I'd be happy to post them on the website.  I would need them in digital format first.  You can save them to a CD and send me a copy or send them to me via email.  Let me know if you would like to send me a CD and I'll provide my mailing address.  I can't stress how important this issue is.  These photos will literally rot away if not converted to digital.  If you think it may be awhile before you can get around to converting them, please place them in a photo safe binder.  Store the binder in a cool dark place, such as a closet, and where the humidity is relatively low and constant.  I know this might be difficult to achieve.  Keeping them out of the light and especially out of direct sunlight is the primary objective.  Thank you.

The 75th Division In History
From the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive

At about 3 minutes 23 seconds into the video, the documentary moves to Stalag VIA in Hemer, Germany.  The 75th Division took part in the administration of this liberated slave labor camp that held prisoners from Russia, Italy, and other countries.  The film documents the camp's celebration of May Day.  75th Division General Ray Porter is shown in the video as well as other 75th Division soldiers.

New 75th Division Veterans' Association Chaplain

Please welcome Dr. Ronald Duncan as the new Association Chaplain.  He dedicated 36 years of ministry to Churches in Texas and the Midwest.  He also served as a Chaplain in the Indiana National Guard and the Army Reserve.  He attained the rank of Colonel prior to his retirement.  Dr. Duncan has been married for 45 years, has three children and six grandchildren. 

Bronze Star Medal - 75th DivisiondadWorld War II Veterans who earned either the Combat Infantryman's Badge (CIB) or the Combat Medic Badge (CMB) during the time period of December 7, 1941 through September 3, 1945, are eligible to receive the Bronze Star Medal.  This includes those who would be receiving them posthumously.  If you are unsure whether or not you or your Veteran earned the CIB or CMB you will find that information on the Veteran's discharge paper.  To get the ball rolling you will need the discharge or you will need to request a copy from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri.  The next step will be to contact the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.  Here's the link with information and instructions on how to order > NARA

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French Legion of Honor Awarded to 75th Veterans

Congratulations to Emery Antonucci, Peter Taffae, Jim Butz and Bill Brunger who recently were recognized by the government of France with the French Legion of Honor.  Here's some news coverage of the Jim Butz ceremony.

Joe Consiglio receives French Legion of Honor in 2012

As a WWII Veteran, do you qualify for this prestigious award? 

United States veterans who helped in the liberation of France during WWII could be eligible to receive the French Legion of Honor Medal, previously issued only to WWI Vets. The French Government has asked the Secretary of VA for assistance in identifying qualified U.S. veterans for medal consideration, to be reviewed and approved by the Legion of Honor Committee in Paris, France. French consulates in the US will distribute approximately 100 medals each year. Members of the Army Air Corps. Navy, and Coast Guard who participated in one of the four major campaigns in the liberation of France (Normandy, Southern France, Northern France and the Ardennes) are eligible.  I believe the Colmar campaign (in which the 75th Division was a major combatant) falls under these qualifications.  Those applying must have written documentation (normally a copy of military separation order,. DD-214, and other official orders which verify military history during combat).

Any previous military awards such as the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, etc., would indicate meritorious actions during combat operations. Copies of these documents should be forwarded with the request for consideration for the French Legion of Honor to the Defense Attaché,. Embassy of France, 4101 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007 (for more information, call 202-944-6502 or FAX 202-944-6538).


 The Greatest Generations Foundation (TGGF)

Are you a WWII veteran?  Have you had the desire to return to where you served overseas?  Are you short on funds to be able to fulfill this desire?  The Greatest Generations Foundation may be able to help.  To learn more, visit their website by clicking the picture below.

 

Featured Websites

 

Grandmenil.com

 

Recommended Reading

 

"The Hotton Report" by Robert K. McDonald

"The Hotton Report" chronicles the combat activities of the 75th Infantry Division as they fought to capture Hill La Roumiere near Hotton, Belgium in late December of 1944.  Well written and historically accurate.

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

Research Information

I receive many emails asking for my help in finding out information about a loved one or friend who fought in WWII.  Here are some websites and information to jump start your search.

 

This should really go without saying but your best resource is usually the Veteran himself - if he is still living, of course.  Because many combat Veterans tend to shy away from discussing their military and wartime experiences, it may be difficult to get up the courage to present your questions to your Veteran but... there's no time to waste.  I know from personal experience with my dad that talking about the war is not something many of them want to approach.  Be prepared, be understanding, be gracious and know when to stop and return to the subject with them at a later time.  Try and arrange to record the conversation but ask permission first.  In some cases, you'll still need the Veteran's discharge paper because sometimes they can't remember the unit(s) they were in.  Ask if they would consider attending a 75th Division Reunion.  Many Veterans tend to open up more once they get around their wartime comrades who were there to see and experience the same things that they did. 

 

If your Veteran is deceased, you will need to find or obtain a copy of the Veteran's discharge paper.  This document should list some important information you will need such as: Ranks achieved, unit(s), campaigns, awards and medals, as well as several other important items.  If you don't have this document, see if you can obtain a copy from a relative.  If one can't be obtained from within your family, the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri might be able to provide a copy.  Onceyou know what unit your veteran was in you have a real place to start.  Find the Veterans' organization associated with your veteran and contact them.  If your veteran was a member of the 75th Division write to the 75th Division Veterans' Association and ask that your query be published in their monthly newsletter, "The Bulgebuster."  Be concise but also be as specific as you can, include the information you have and be sure and list your contact information.  If you have a photo of the veteran (from the period) you might include it as well.  To contact the Association. write to: 75th Division Veterans' Association, 2939 Nancy Belle Lane, Missouri City, Texas, 77459.  You might also consider joining the Association, if you are eligible.  Membership in the Association now includes sons and daughters of 75th Veterans.  Although you would be titled as a "Associate Member."  Write to the above address to join.  Member Rosters are available - I think they cost about $10.00 - Great for research because they include the Veteran's contact information as well as what unit(s) of the 75th Division they were assigned to.

 

As I've already stated, a Veteran's Discharge paperwork is essential to beginning serious research.  From that you can obtain enough information to contact the applicable Veteran's groups and Associations.  If you're going to get details, they likely will come from a 'buddy' or fellow veteran that served with your veteran and remembers him.  Even if you can't find one of his buddies, Veterans who were in the same unit can shed light on the activities your Veteran probably experienced. 

 

The ranks are dwindling and time is precious if you are seriously interested in doing this research.  Once you have the discharge information, you can also contact the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and request what are called "Morning Reports and Unit Rosters."  The link provided can give you the details.  Having offered all that, you should be forewarned that obtaining these records can be time consuming, costly, and difficult.  The NARA is not as responsive, in many cases, as we would like them to be.  Therefore, you might consider hiring someone who will do the work for you and probably get you better results in the long run.  There are many services out there, one example is Golden Arrow Military Research.  Another very good resource tool can be found here > "Dad's War" - Finding and Telling Your Father's WWII Story.  (I have found that the "Dad's War" website has been somewhat neglected and several of the links are broken but it's still a good place for research ideas).  Also, Fold3 is a very good ancestry style website but focuses more on the military side of things.  You can do a basic search for free.

It takes time and effort but don't give up!  May you have great success in your research!

 

 

 

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