134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

S/Sgt. Mitchell (Mike) R. Helton

Company B

S/Sgt. Mitchell (Mike) R. Helton

He quickly rose in rank to S/Sgt while fighting in Europe

Company B

Mitchell (Mike) Helton is on front right, holding jacket.

Company B - Going Home


Falls City Journal
Bill Schock
July 15, 1994

Fifty years ago today, beginning at 5:15 a.m. Company B, Falls City National Guard unit, was a part of the 134th Infantry which began attacking Hill 122, just outside of St. Lo, France, the Germans' most important and most heavily defended position in the St. Lo area. The 29th Division had been unsuccessful in dislodging the Germans from Hill 122 and entering St. Lo, the hub of the Germans' communications and transportation route on the Cherbourg peninsula, during three weeks of operations prior to the 134th entrance into the front lines.

I asked S/Sgt. Marshall Maddox, who is in charge of training for Company B, if he had any books detailing the St. Lo battle and the part played in it by the Falls Church unit. He came up with seven, which is evidence of the importance of the battle to the Allied breakout after the D-Day landings.

Company B was part of the 1st Battalion of the 134th which took Hill 122 after some of the fiercest fighting of the European campaign.

"The 134th Infantry Regiment Combat History of World War II", does an excellent job of detailing the battles for Hill 122 and St. Lo. Three Falls Cityans are singled out. Here are some excerpts:

"When Cpl. Robert W. Godfirnon and Pfc. Mitchell (Mike) R. Helton, both of Nebraska, saw two of their comrades lying wounded in a field where danger of continuing machine gun fire remained, they crawled out to the wounded men, and blinding the enemy machine-gunners with smoke grenades, were able to return them to safety."

"Dramatic rescues were being made all afternoon. Company B's Staff Sgt. John E. (Gene) Weick dragged an unconscious comrade back across a meadow; several times he had to stop during heavy artillery concentration, and then he would shield his comrade with his own body; finally, he was wounded as he tried to lift the man over the hedgerow."

All three men received Silver Stars for their heroism. In subsequent fighting, the 134th was the first into St. Lo, but then had to withdraw to give the 29th Division, which had battled the Nazis since D-Day, the honor of going into the city.

In four days of fighting the 134th Infantry had withstood over 900 killed and wounded. St. Lo became a measuring stick for tough combat the rest of the war.

Men of the 134th who took part in that epic battle and still living around here include Crete Motsinger, Virgil Martin, Bob Herbster, Rich Huettner, Jim Heiser, Merlyn Goolsby and Orval VonSeggern. Some living away who come to mind are Bud Johnson, Fresno, Calif.; John Jones, Ventura, Calif.; Ernie Kammerer, Omaha; Bud VanWey, Leavenworth, Kan.; Harry Finley, St. Louis, Mo.; Gene Weick, Oregon; Mike Helton, Gilbertown, Ala.; George Elshire, Westminster, Colo.; C. D. Foster, Missouri Valley, Iowa; Raymond Leubs, Las Vegas, Nev.; Walter Stump, California, and Keith King, Carthage, Mo.

And I've probably missed a number of them. I won't try to name those who have passed away since the war's end, but that would include many locally and living away.

Cite Two Youths For Gallant Deed

Pair of Former Falls Cityans Rescue Two Wounded Comrades Under Fire

With U.S. Army Forces, France - (To the Journal) - For crawling right up to an enemy gun position in Normandy and hurling smoke grenades into the nest to blind the Germans while they effected a rescue of two wounded soldiers, two American infantrymen have been cited for "gallantry in action."

They are Cpl. Robert Godfirnon, formerly of Falls City, and S/Sgt. Mitchell R. Helton, Springfield, Mo., also formerly of Falls City.

The two wounded soldiers who were buddies of the men had been wounded by machine gun fire. Godfirnon and Helton crawled to a point directly in front of the enemy position and tossed smoke grenades which blinded the Germans. They dragged their buddies away from the field and carried them to a medical aid station.

Cpl. Godfirnon, who was born and reared in Falls City, is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Godfirnon of Los Angeles, formerly of this city. He entered the army in January, 1941.

Helton is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Helton, Springfield, formerly of Falls City.

According to word received here, S. Sgt. Mitchell (Mike) Helton, formerly of Falls City, was wounded in action in France on July 17 and again on July 29. He was, however, able to return to his unit on August 22. His wife, Mrs. Madge Helton and daughter, Sharon Rae, are now making their home at Springfield, Mo. They recently received a Purple Heart that was awarded to Sgt. Helton.

Thanks to Jeanette Kearley for submitting these pictures and information. Ms. Kearley is S/Sgt. Helton's daughter.

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