The Remembrances of:
Mike Molloy ~ Russell Vedeloff
2nd Lt. Mike Molloy
1st Platoon, G Co
2nd Bn 290th Inf Regt.
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
2nd Battalion's jump-off coincided with that of 3rd Battalion - 11:15 P.M. on the 24th. G Co was to spearhead the assault, followed by E Co, with F Co in reserve and R Co in support for the sweep through the woods northwest of Wy. We were fanned out as a long line of skirmishers, with the reserves in columns.
Captain Bernard McGraw, G Co C.O., told me to organize a patrol to scout the edge of the woods overlooking Wy. I selected seven men and set out toward Wy at approximately 1:00 A-M. Finding nothing in the woods and seeing no enemy activity in the village, the patrol worked its way back to McGraw.
After several hours, I had the patrol back in position at the edge of the woods around 5.00 A.M. After dashing across the clearing into town, we pounded on doors, to find only sleepy, nervous civilians, but no Germans. While hurrying back across the field to the safety of the woods, the patrol was forced to the ground by fire coming from the direction of E Co. As the angry red tracers streaked low overhead, the men were instructed to shout "Breckinridge" as loudly as they could. Breckinridge was the recognition word between units and individuals, as it was easy to remember. Word finally reached E Co that G Co had a patrol out and we reached the woods. I was ordered to assemble the platoon to reenter Wy at daybreak.
My platoon led G Co toward Wy. Divided in half, the platoon checked each house as they moved cautiously down both sides of the street. Machine guns opened fire on us from the crest of a nearby hill, but we kept moving, amid ricochets and flying masonry chips. Moving the platoon across 200 yards of open field at the end of the street, we began taking fire-from several haystacks. A flanking movement succeeded in eliminating the threat from the haystacks, and several prisoners were rousted and marched off to battalion headquarters.
The threat of German armor, which I estimated to be approximately ten dug-in tanks, forced G Co to retreat onto an exposed hillside, where we were ordered to dig in. Although the Germans had not counterattacked directly with infantry, they had done so with artillery fire. It was devastating. On the 26 December G Co was dug in on the forward slope of the high ground. My platoon had suffered ten wounded throughout the day.
El Paso, TX
Cornelius J. Molloy, Jr.; Age 22; Height 6'; Weight 180 lbs. Born Jersey City, New Jersey. Attended U.S.M.A. July 1941 to June 1944. Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Infantry, June 6, 1944. 1 joined Co. F 290th Inf. Regt. 75th Division October 6, 1944, transferred to Co. G 290th shortly thereafter. Sailed late October 1944 on USS Brazil to Swansea, Wales. Spent November and part of December 1944 in Porthcawl, Wales training platoon and getting to know my men. Experienced VI and V2 Bombs on pass to London. Sailed to France in December and ended up in Yvetot, France. Spent several days in rain, mud, damp and cold. Moved by train through France and Belgium (buzz bombs one mile away outside Liege). About December 18th trucked to site in Belgium. Three nights of foot movement to guard a field that could be used by paratroopers. December 24th close combat began and lasted until January 10th. Moved from Belgium to the Colmar Pocket; then on to Venlo Pocket, and on to protecting the Rhine crossing at Gulik; crossed the Rhine by bridge and attacked Polson. I became company commander in April and we attacked Kivchlinde. Ended up in Wittenas as the war ended in Europe. The division moved to France and Co. G 290th Infantry was guard company at Camp Pittsburgh, Mourmalon Sur Ay, France. Left the Division October 6, 1945.
1945 - 1947: USET Hq. Command, Frankfurt, Germany (Captain)
1947 - 1949: Asst. Adj. and Adjutant Camp Carson, Co. (Captain)
1949 - 1950: Commanded 2nd Bn. Hq. Co. 30th Inf. Div. Ft. Benning, GA (Captain)
1950 - 1951: Commander 3rd Div. Hq. Co. and Hqs. Commandant 3rd Div. Korea (Captain-
1951 - 1953: Ft. Benning, GA Adj. 30th Inf Regt. and Inf Advanced Course (Major)
1953 - 1956: Infantry Instructor AAA-GM School, Ft. Bliss, TX (Major)
1956 - 1957: C & GS School, Ft. Leavenworth, KS (Major)
1957 - 1960: Asst. Opns Officer, Antilles Comm. Ft. Brooke, Puerto Rico (Major - Lt. Col)
1960 - 1962: Office Chief Research and Development Manpower Div. Washington, DC (Lt. Col)
1962 - 1964: Deputy Chief International Div. OCRD (Lt. Col)
1964 - 1967: Ft. Dix, NJ; USATC; Deputy Comm. 2nd Regt.; CH. Instr. Cmd; CO lst AIT Brigate (Lt. Col - COL)
1967 - 1968: Deputy Comm. Army Concept Team in Vietnam (Col)
1968 - 1971: Chief Inf. Test Div. Test and Evaluation Comm. Aberdeen, MD (Col)
Chief Test Operations Test and Evaluation Comm Aberdeen, MD (Col)
1971 - 1974: Senior Standardization Representative Ottawa, Canada (Col)
Retired July 31, 1974 (Colonel (06)
I spent 16 years in Real Estate; founded Century 21 Office as Broker, in 1983, and retired my license in 1993.
Combat Inf. Badge
Legion of Merit (3)
Bronze Star (3)
Army Commendation Medal (2)
Pre Pearl Harbor Ribbon
American Defense Ribbon
European Theatre Operations (3 stars)
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal (w/OLC)
Korean Service Medal (4 stars)
Vietnam Service Medal (4 stars)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/palm
UN Service Medal
Vietnam Distinguished Service Order 2nd class
General Staff Indent. Badge
Meritorious Unit Comm.
1st Squad 2d Platoon H Co.
2d Bn 290th Infantry Regiment
75th Infantry Division
24 25 26 Dec 44
Russell R. Vedeloff, Age 18, Height 6 ft., Weight 156 lbs. Born Nellis, West Virginia. Spent most of my youth around the vicinity of Montgomery, WV prior to entering the service March 18, 1944. First reported to active duty at Ft. Thomas, KY and after processing was assigned to Camp Wheller, CA (near Macon) for 17 weeks of Infantry Basic Training completing my basic training July 20, 1944. Was given ten day delay in route and assigned to Camp Howzie, Texas for further advance training. After approximately 2 1/2 months was shipped to Camp Breckenridge, KY on or about Sept. 1944. I was assigned to Heavy Weapons Platoon Co H, 290th Inf., 75th Div. The division departed Camp Breckenridge, KY for Camp Shanks, NY (Oct. 15 o/o/about) for further assignment to Europe. After processing at Camp Shanks for a few days, I departed for Europe on the S.S. Brazil with approximately 10,000 other soldiers. We arrived at Swansea, Wales o/about Nov. 4th, 1944. My company was assigned to Port Talbot, Wales, and we were housed in Morgam Castle for further extensive field training. Sometime about 8-10 Dec. we set sail on (LST's) Landing Ship Tanks, landing at Le Havre, France (13 Dec 1944 o/about). After a long convoy ride in open jeeps we bivouacked near Yvetot in a muddy field where we were told about the German breakthrough in Belgium and that our Div. was being sent there to engage the German Div. After a long, miserable, open convoy ride in open trucks with freezing rain, we arrived at o/near Soy, Belgium on 24th Dec 1944.
This was my first sight of death and destruction. It occurred when we walked into the village of Soy and I saw a soldier standing near a burning tank and two American soldiers lying in the street dead. The live soldier was a member of A/Borne [1st Bn 517th Para Inf -Regt or 509 Para Inf Bn] and he greeted us by saying Merry Christmas, Welcome to Hell! After an over night walk through dense forest we arrived early in the morning and proceeded to attack the village of Wy, Belgium with disastrous results and heavy casualties. We went back to the forest, regrouped and took back the village 26th Dec. The Co I was assigned to was still holding Wy when I was wounded o/about 28th- 29th Dec. I was shipped to a tent hospital in Liege, Belgium, and later put on an air flight to England. I was admitted to a hospital at (Hay) Herefordshire where I stayed for approximately 40 days, I was well enough to return to my unit.
Around March 1945 1 was processed and shipped back to the 75th Div. I arrived back at the City of Dorsten while our unit was engaged in a bitter fight at the railway station. I stayed with the Div until the war ended in Europe VF- Day, May 8, 1945 ending up at the City of Arnsberg, Germany. Later we were shipped to Hagen, Germany and began our mission as the 1st Occupation Forces in Europe, our boundaries being Hagen and vicinity. We did our job well but it was not for long. The 75th Div was sent to Camp St. Louis near Reims, France to set up assembly areas for troops in other divisions to be processed for shipment to Japan and some to return to the states.
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My job was in the recreation and entertainment section. Movies, books, shows, parties, etc.
I re-enlisted in the army at Camp St. Louis for 3 more yrs, which finally came to a happy ending 32 years later, both military and civilian.
I found out in 1967 that the 75th Inf. Div still existed as an active association. I joined the association and have been very active since then.
My military career has been flawless of which I am very proud. I have the following decorations, both WWII and Korea: Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Amer Campaign, Good conduct (4 awards), ETO Occup Army, Three Battle Star Combat Inf Badge.
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Copyright 2001, J. R. Puckett
Email: J. R. Puckett