134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
Pvt. Michael Linquata, Medic Company D - 134th Infantry Regiment, attended the dedication of this monument in Lutremange, Belgium on September 14, 2002, with a contingent of four veterans of the 35th Division and their their wives and children . This monument is dedicated to the 35th Division and General Patton. Lutremange is a small village in Belgium about five miles south of Bastogne.
Pvt. Linquata wrote the following article, which originally appeared in the "35th Divisionnaire" newsletter:
On September 14th, in the little town of Lutremange, Belgium, four veterans of the 35th Division participated in the dedication of a plaque to honor the memory of our men that fought there and to General Patton.
The town of Lutremange is about one mile from the Luxembourg border and about five miles southeast of Bastogne.
Our host organization is known as the "Triangle of Devastation".
The three towns in that area known as the Triangle of Devastation hosted the event.
Veterans in attendance were Michael Linquata, 134th, Company D, 2nd Platoon Medic, Earl W. Gray of the 137th Regiment, who was wounded in action, William H. Cole of the 134th Regiment, Company C, also wounded in action, and Ed Brown, of 134th Regiment, C Company.
Other Americans in attendance were Dr. Peter Bookas of Churchville, PA, brother-in-law of Angst Taso Anarow whose father passed away last December. Mr. Anarow said his father would have attended if he had lived. Also Shirley Theis and her two daughters. Shirley's father was killed in Lutribois on January 1, 1945.
Shirley Theis and I both gave a speech. My speech will be enclosed with this letter as well as a photo of the plaque and of the monument.
The mayor of Houffalize, Monsieur Hose Josi Lutgen, welcomed us in the City Hall where wine was served and gave a very moving speech. He said that the people of Belgium and particularly of that area would be forever grateful for the sacrifices that the Americans and the 35th Division endured. We were each given a medallion from the town.
We visited the huge monument in Bastogne that was erected in honor of all Americans that fought to liberate the area. All the states including Alaska and Hawaii are on the monument as well as all of the divisions that participated in the liberation. And on the columns is the entire story of the Battle of the Bulge.
In Clervaux, Luxembourg we were received in a castle, there the distinguished head of the C.R.I.B.A. in Luxembourg, a Monsieur Camille Kohn gave each of us a medal from the Government of Luxembourg. To be entitled to this we had to have fought in Luxembourg during the battle and one had to return to receive this honor. Of course each of our four veterans did, so we received the medal.
One of the towns we visited was Le Gleize, the western most town that the German Army penetrated. A tiger tank sits in the town square as a monument.
After the hostilities ceased, the American Army sent in men to remove the German and American ordinances.
As the U.S. soldiers were disposing of this now useless military equipment, the local population wanted to know what was to become of this tiger tank? Of course the soldiers responded that they had orders to get rid of it. Well the local population traded with the Americans one gallon of alcohol for one, now useless tiger tank, a fair trade and a monument for the town.
We visited the Henry-Chapelle American Cemetery in Belgium where Shirley Theis and her two daughters visited and paid their respects to Shirley's father's (Homer Ricker's) grave. Last year seven more bodies of American soldiers from WWII were recovered and buried in the cemetery, 57 years after the hostilities.
The Deputy Burgomaster of Bastogne awarded each of us a medallion and certificate of appreciation for participating in the defense of Bastogne.
There were around five or six in the committee that acted as our hosts. Pascal Hainaut and his wife Natale were our principal hosts with a committee of five. They entertained us in a different home every night and drove us miles and miles around the countryside visiting museums and monuments. Many of the monuments were dedicated to the 35th Division and the Third Army.
Each of our hosts had a private WWII museum in their attics complete with uniforms, equipment, guns and all of the paraphernalia that the American and even German soldiers had. The size and extent of the museums of these homes amazed me.
If any of the veterans of the 35th intend to visit Belgium, I strongly recommend that you contact Pasqual Hainault at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be very happy to welcome you as he welcomed us, and to show you around the battlefields and the monuments.
Speech Made by Mike Linquata During Their Visit to Belgium
On behalf of the 134th Infantry Regiment of the 35th Division I extend greetings to our Belgian friends. I feel honored to have been invited to participate in this ceremony.
Today, we would not be here, recognizing the great effort that the American Army underwent if we were not successful in driving the German Army out of this beautiful country and back into Germany and to total defeat.
You have the misfortune to be located on the borders of Germany and France. As you will always remember, the German Army went through occupied Belgium in 1940. The Americans liberated your nation in 1944 and before the year was out, the German Army once again occupied this area. And again the American Army had to drive them out, and ultimately totally defeat the Third Reich.
The American and German Armies caused tremendous damage, death and destruction in Belgium. And for this, I have been saddened. But this was the only way that the Americans could free Belgium and the rest of Europe. Liberate you so that you would not be under the heavy hand of a German dictatorship. Free you so that you could have your own government and way of life.
After hostilities ceased, the American people sent aid to our allies and our former enemies too. We helped rebuild Europe. However money does not bring the dead back nor does it heal the severely wounded. War has a terrible price.
When I was 18 years old I was drafted into the United States Army. I was then trained as a medic. One of those duties was to care for the wounded. I was 19 years old when I crossed the Atlantic in October 1944 on the Queen Mary. This was the average age of the American Infantry, between 18 and 20 years old. I was one of 13,000 American troops on that vessel. Prime Minister Winston Churchill made that voyage with us. Of course his accommodations were better than mine. The first two weeks of combat I spent in Habkirchen, Germany, just north of the Saar and the next two weeks here in Belgium. The last time I was here the weather was bitter cold and when we were not on the attack we slept in frozen foxholes in the ground. The average infantryman was in combat about two weeks, before he was wounded, captured, or killed. I was in combat about a month total. I haven't been back to Belgium since. I do hope my accommodations are better this time. (I'm sure they will be.)
On January 4th, 1945, in the vicinity of Marvie, the Second Platoon of Company D, which I was the medic, and Company C, went too far into the German lines. We engaged in fierce combat for about two or three hours. We left about a 100 German soldiers dead, frozen in the cold snow. We lost an equal number of dead, wounded or captured. Our captain left me behind to care for 20 wounded. Two hours later as evening was approaching I surrendered the wounded and myself. I was then held prisoner, under terrible conditions. The U.S. Army reported me as missing in action. For three months, my folks did not know if I was alive or dead. The day before I was liberated by the American 7th Division, my folks were informed that I was a prisoner. A week later they were told that I was again in the U.S. Army control.
As a free people, we know that freedom has a price. It does not come cheaply. We have to pay taxes to maintain our government. We have to respect each other's rights to property and privacy, and the freedom of movement to come and go as one pleases. To engage in the occupation of ones choice, and the freedom to express political opinions.
Yes, freedom has its benefits and it has its price. We must be forever vigilant. We must not get too complacent or we will lose our freedom. You well know, history can repeat itself, be careful, that it does not.
Combat Medic Company D
134th Infantry Regiment, 35th Infantry Division
3rd U.S. Army
Speech Made by Camille P. Kohn, President of CEBA
Dear veterans and veteran's families, ladies and gentlemen,
It is my honor and pleasure to take the floor here to tell you of the warm feelings of the municipality of Clervaux and of CEBA staff.
First of all, let me express my sincere thanks to all of you for coming to Luxembourg. Special thanks to our common Belgian friends Pascal and Nathalie Hainaut, who guided you to this historical city today. I welcome most sincerely my good friend Christian W. de Marcken from Paxton, Massachusetts, and his lovely wife.
It was a great day yesterday at Lutremange for you veterans and families and for the town's people who wouldn't miss to share that very nice ceremony with you. I was glad to participate in the unveiling and inauguration of that fine monument.
I would like to welcome you most warmly in this medieval castle, especially the 35th lnf. Div. veterans and their wives and also the daughter of Cpl Homer D. Ricker Jr., 134th Inf. killed in action at Lutrebois on New Year's Eve 1944. To her we would like to offer our honest sympathies.
Dear guests, you are to know, that our country was liberated between the 9th and 13th September 1944. There is no language which could nearly describe those days. A normal free life had returned into our country, we felt like new-borns, the nightmare we had to undergo during four and a half years and imposed upon us by a neighbor country, was gone. But three months later, all of a sudden, on December 16, 1944, news got around: The Germans are back! And this meant the beginning of another national tragedy, for Luxembourg and Belgium. However, due to the quick reaction of General George S. Patton and the rapid move of his valiant 3rd Army, the disaster was limited. Slowly but surely American soldiers liberated town after town in the Belgian and Luxembourg area. But while they did so, they had to fight twin enemies: the never ending tremendous cold and the Teutons. American soldiers went through an ordeal of fire and an Antarctic winter that has been more suitable for eskimos than for American soldiers. By the way, it was the first time American soldiers had to fight in snow and ice. Due to that brutal weather condition, more than 15,000 GIs were disabled by frostbitten feet or trench foot. Besides they felt the first pangs of fear, the first presentiment of death since their birth. They saw death in many many forms, in the most cruel and grotesque forms and most of them survived only by a lucky chance.
Dear veterans, we never could forget your achievements. It was a hellish period you had to live through, especially in the area of the Belgian villages Lutremange- Lutrebois- Villers- La- Bonne- Eau. Roughly elements of 3 German Divisions: the Panzer-Lehr Division, the 1st SS Panzer- Division and the 167th Volksgrenadier-Division, had attacked the Santa Fes but finally beaten off. Anyhow, this fierce fight became a bloody but also a brilliant page in the history of the famous Harry Truman Division. Today it is almost incredible, that the 137th Regiment fought about 13 days, before it battered down the enemy defenses of Villers-la-Bonne-Eau. Unfortunately the companies K and L /3rd Bn were lost in that inferno. It took 5 days of constant assaults by the 134th to capture Lutrebois. It is hard to believe, that the Luxembourg village of Harlange was held by the Germans till the 10th January 1945 by the 28th Cav Rec Sq of the 6th Cav Group. Only these facts bear witness enough of the relentless combat in that area. Before this, on the 27th December, while under the control of Patton's 3rd Army, you conquered 3 Luxembourg Ardennes villages. They were Boulaide, Baschleiden and Surre. At Surre the 137th Regiment met an obstinate resistance and only after several hard fights, it was able to capture the town. The 320th Regiment ran into considerable difficulties in capturing Boulaide and Baschleiden. With the cooperation of CEBA, the people of these two villages erected a nice monument in Boulaide to the honor of the 35th Inf. Div. The 134th Regiment conquered the Luxembourg village of Weiswampach on the 26th January 1945 with the support of the 6th Armored Division. Company C of the 1st Bn lost 12 men killed in action during the conquest of Weiswampach. Next to the town hall a nice monument for those 12 men has been erected in 1999.
The battle lasted 45 days and closed with a horrible casualty list for our American liberators: 19,000 dead and 47,000 wounded. That means on an average 422 dead GIs every day! It means 1044 GIs wounded every day. These figures are shocking and still beyond our comprehension. The battle in which you men had to take part, is a blood-and-thunder chapter of Luxembourg's history; it is a chapter of the US Army's history; it is a chapter written with blood and tears. From the green fields of grass, the white wooden crosses and Stars of David shot up like mushrooms. Up to now, the historians never mentioned or considered, how much of writing paper they needed for all the official messages to parents, whose beloved sons were killed and who had to be informed about such horrible bad news. These letters began usually with the opening words: "with our deepest regret", and many an American mother would run a great risk of having a heart attack, being informed that her beloved son was-killed. This, son might be a husband or already a father; he might be the only son of parents who were still alive; he might be the brother of a large number of brothers and sisters; he might be all four of these at the same time. These are our reflections, our feeling, as we stand before their graves or their monuments, and these sentiments ought to be, and really mean: everlasting gratitude, to the individuals and to the great nation which they belonged to.
Dear guests, among you are 2 medics, who served with the 110th Medical Bn. The self- sacrificing work of the medics is hardly mentioned in the history books, too! I have to mention, here and today, the 2 or 3 aid men assigned to each rifle company were the first link in the medical Service's long chain of evacuation. They were always on the run. They had no weapons; they fought only with morphine, sulfa and plasma. During the battle many frontline stations were overrun by Germans and more than 247 staff members, medics and surgeons, were killed or captured. The medical Service saved about 96 per cent of the 369,000 men wounded in the European Theater. These brave medics and surgeons did a wonderful, but very dangerous job, they saved the lives of thousands and again thousands of wounded GIs and these facts should be much more mentioned in the war literature.
Dear veterans, you fought for your native country, but, at the same time for our concern; for our freedom, our independence and for our prosperity. We can never make up for what you have done for us! No stone can be huge enough to erect a monument for our American liberators, no flowers can be beautiful enough, to decorate the graves of your fallen comrades in arms, no reception can be nice enough for American war veterans.
You didn't like war, you didn't start war, you didn't make war, but you finished the war, the most cruel and horrible and absurd war within living memory. You men changed the world. You have written world history.
Freedom for Europe was your mission, capturing that spirit for generations to come, was and is our mission since post-wartime!
The recollection of thousands and again thousands of young American soldiers during the years 1944-45 will never fade from our mind! Thank you for what you have done. God let you come out safe from the disaster. Thank you dear friends from overseas, representing a great nation that defends almost everywhere in the world freedom and peace and thank you for fighting to prevent any new tyrant coming up. When back to the States, please convey the message of our most sincere gratitude and let all your friends and acquaintances know, what we feel and that we will be thankful forever! God bless you!
To read more about the battles fought in and around Lutremange, see Chapter IX "The Ardennes Bulge" in the 134th Infantry Regiment Combat History of World War II.
Pvt. Michael Linquata served as a Combat Medic with Company D, 2nd Platoon, 134th Infantry Regiment. On January 4, 1945 he surrendered twenty wounded men and was held captive as a POW for 88 days. CLICK HERE to read about Pvt. Linquata's experiences during the War.
Thanks to Pvt. Michael Linquata for this photograph.
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