The Remembrances of:
Maine National Guard
Military Policeman - North Africa & the Pacific
Rifleman - Co A, 289th Infantry regiment, 75th Division- Europe
Decorations and Citations:
European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon
World War II Victory Medal
Good Conduct Medal
American Defense Service Medal
Asiatic Pacific Theater Campaign Ribbon
American Theater Campaign Ribbon
Donald C. Bryson enlisted at age 18 but was disqualified for physical reasons.
He was very disappointed as all his buddies were enlisting. Most of them would
be sent to the Pacific. In 1941 was honorably discharged from Co D 103rd Infantry,
Maine National Guard. He then worked in a shipyard for a few months
In 1942 he re-enlisted and was assigned to the MPs stationed at Fort Niantic, Ct.
in Co D 756 MP Bat.. He served in North Africa guarding POWs on site and on
the troop ship back to America. On his return in 1943 he married my Mother.
He had an operation at Fort Devens in 1943 to correct a condition
that prevented him from joining the infantry. He was then assigned to Camp Breckenridge,
the 75th Div, Co A, 289 Inf Reg.. As a Rifleman he fired and operated M-1 BAR,
light machine guns, .30 and 50. caliber. My Father was familiar with guns as he hunted
in Maine. With his unit he went to Wales, then Le Havre, and then to the Ardennes region.
His records show he was wounded Jan 20, 1945. Shrapnel blew through his chest,
perforating a lung. He also lost chunks of his thigh. His life was saved by Neil Ralph and
another fellow who improvised a litter made of pine bows and got him evacuated
to an aid station. He was in a field hospital in Liege before being sent to England.
In July 1945 he went to the Pacific as an MP and was stationed in Manilla.
He was honorably discharged December 24, 1945 and returned to Maine
to my Mother and his daughter who was born in January 1945. The rest of us,
3 more girls and a boy, wouldn't be here if not for Neil Ralph. My brother Neil
is named in his honor.
We grew up with his story and even though my Dad died in 1953 we still had
his Army uniform, medals and the shrapnel that was able to be removed.
My Mother used his big Army coat to cover the hood of our car so the battery
wouldn't freeze in the Maine winters. My Mother remembers him saying a lot
of his squad was killed or wounded and that the cold was brutal but that the
forests reminded him of Maine. He also talked about the terrible killing in the Huertgen Forest.
He didn't talk much about his war experience except that Neil Ralph saved his life.
My Mother said he seemed disillusioned with the Army.
His brother, Richard Bryson, was severely wounded at Anzio but did survive
with a steel plate in his head and partial paralysis on his left side.
On a personal note I would love to hear from anyone who may have known
my Dad or Neil Ralph.
Page URL: My 75th Division Dad
Copyright 2001, J. R. Puckett
Email: J. R. Puckett