134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
Biography of Troy R Bader and Account of His Death - by Bram Temmerman
Troy Russel Bader was born to Fred Bader and Linna Victoria Bader on January 1, 1907, in Esther, St Francois County, Missouri. He was one of the five children the Bader Family had. "Troy was called Speedy by his family and has always been referred to as Uncle Speedy", a relative of Troy R. Bader remembers.
Like many American families, the Bader's descended from European immigrants who had left everything behind to find a better life in the new world. In the case of the Bader family it was Troy's grandparents who decided to trade the Westphalia and Wurttemberg regions in Germany for the State of Missouri.
During his youth Troy worked as a salesman in a grocery store and later in the lead mines together with his father. Working in the lead mines was an obvious job when you lived in Esther. The town was nestled in the heart of St. Francois County's Lead Belt, a region also known as the Mineral Area. In this area there were numerous mining companies in the various towns that were located there. Troy probably worked for the Doe Run Lead Company since it was the only mining company located in Esther.
At some point in the 1930s Troy decided to quit his job in the lead mines and he moved to the city of St Louis, Missouri. There he got married to his first wife and they had 2 children, a son (Raymond) and a daughter (Ethel May). Unfortunately, their marriage did not last and they were divorced.
On June 12, 1941 Troy enlisted in the U.S. Army (ASN: 37058996) and completed his basic training with the rank of Private. Somewhere between 1942 and 1943 Troy was stationed in Fort Des Moines in Iowa. There he met another woman with whom he had a relationship and 1 daughter, however they never married and the relationship did not last. Eventually Troy married his 2nd wife Imogene but they never had any children. In late 1944 Troy was sent overseas to the European Theatre of Operations. According to his children (Raymond & Ethel) Troy went AWOL before he was sent overseas to see his children and his first wife one more time.
On December 24, 1944 he joined the 134th Infantry Regiment as one of the 283 replacements that arrived that day. He was designated as a rifleman in the 2nd platoon of Company G (2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment). Together with the rest of the Division he would celebrate Christmas in the relative comfort and safety of the old French Army barracks in Metz, France before moving out towards the Ardennes front.
On December 29, 1944 the 134th Infantry Regiment attacked toward Lutrebois, Belgium. Lutrebois is a small village located about 5 - 6 kilometers south of Bastogne. While the 3rd Battalion was engaged in the village of Lutrebois, the 1st Battalion moved towards Marvie and the 2nd Battalion took up positions in the valley South of Lutrebois in an effort to fill the gap between the 134th Infantry Regiment and the 137th Infantry Regiment in Villers-La-Bonne-Eau.
On January 1, 1945 Troy celebrated his 38th birthday and the beginning of a new year on the frontline. On that day the 35th Infantry Division advanced 1.1 km along a 15.8 km front. In the afternoon the 2nd Battalion's assault had put Company's E and G (Pvt. Bader's Company) across the valley south of Lutrebois and into the woods, just short of the positions formerly occupied by I and K Companies. At that moment a sharp German riposte struck the two companies, isolating them completely by nightfall.
On January 6, 1945 Troy R. Bader was reported Missing in Action. At 0730 hours the 2nd battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment moved forward from their positions in the valley south of Lutrebois in an attempt to secure positions alongside the Lutremange-Lutrebois road. They were met by strong enemy fire from positions to the northeast and were forced to withdraw. It is probably during this action that Pvt. Troy R. Bader was separated from his unit (2nd Platoon / Company G) and is later reported MIA on January 6 in Company G's Morning Report of January 10th.
On January 13, 1945 a Graves Registration Detail under the command of 1st Lt. Eldephons C. Reischel was clearing an area southeast of Lutrebois of dead bodies because an Artillery Battalion was setting up positions in that area. At about 1600 hours, Lt. Reischel and his crew found the bodies of six members of the 134th Infantry Regiment who apparently had been taken prisoner and then were executed by their German captors. Three of the men had been wounded prior to their capture because wounds in their limbs or shoulders had been dressed with bandages from American first aid packets. But they, as well as the others, each had a mortal wound, usually a single one, from the penetration of a small arms bullet through the head or through the vicinity of the heart. (Many thanks to Roberta Russo for giving us this information)
One of these six soldiers was Pvt. Troy R. Bader. He was probably taken prisoner during the attack of the 2nd Battalion on January 6, 1945. The other five soldiers were members of Company C (1st battalion) who all had been reported Missing in Action on January 5, 1945. They were probably taken prisoner during an attack of the 1st Battalion on January 4, 1945 that tried to break the German defenses in the woods east of Lutrebois.
Troy R. Bader was listed KIA on January 12, 1945, but he was probably killed somewhere between January 6 and January 8. The Graves Registration Unit report states that the bodies of the six men were all covered with snow. By reading the unit journals of the days between January 5 and January 13 we can conclude that it had not snowed since January 8th, so he couldn't have been killed after January 8, 1945.
On January 15, 1945 the 3048th Graves Registration Company received the body of Troy R. Bader and evacuated it to the American Cemetery at Hamm, Luxemburg. He was given a Christian burial by a Protestant chaplain. An obituary concerning his death was placed in the St Louis Post dispatch of February 22, 1945.
Section of area cleared by Graves Registration where the bodies were discovered
Gully where Troy Bader's body was found
Today, Troy Russel Bader has found his final resting place at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial among thousands of his comrades.
Thanks to Bram Temmerman for the photographs and the biography. Mr. Temmerman lives in Belgium, is a member of the study group "35th Infantry Division Belgium", and has adopted the grave of Pvt. Bader.