134th Infantry Regiment
"All Hell Can't Stop Us"
Headquarters Company 1st Battalion
Clement Cyrillus McGuire was born August 1, 1912. He was the third oldest child in a remarkably large family of 16 children. His parents were Richard S. McGuire and Mary E. McGill both of whom grew up near the small farming community of Wisner, Nebraska. Both Richard and Mary lived within a large Irish Catholic community residing in the area. Richard chose the occupation of farmer and by the time they were married on January 7, 1909, Richard owned a farm north of Wisner which would later be referred to as the "old home place". He would later acquire additional farms.
Farming was not easy during this period as Richard and his boys relied on draft horses to plow the fields and corn was picked by hand. Clem's brother Jerry recalls in a memoir he wrote about the family that Clem, "Like Ben and Dick, he continued as part of the farming operation when he finished school. At that time, all three farms were in operation and the full impact of the depression had not set in. He had many characteristics similar to our brother Art. They were physically similar, good athletes, good hands and undoubtedly the two best corn pickers in the family. "
"I think he stayed around the farm for a couple of years before moving to town where he worked as a lineman for the telephone company. I do remember him demonstrating his telephone pole climbing technique during one large Sunday gathering. He could scurry up like a squirrel and return to the ground in about three giant steps. It was fascinating to watch!"
"As I recall, Clem was the first in our family and maybe the first from the community to be drafted into the service."
In various ways many members of Clem's family would become involved in some type of work essential to the war effort.
In August of 1940, Congress authorized the President to mobilize the National Guard and less than one month later it passed the first peace-time conscription act. According to Clem's military records in the possession of his family, it was six months after congress passed this legislation on February 6, 1941 that Clem began his enlistment as a Private Specialist 4th Class of the Nebraska National Guard Unit and assigned to Headquarters Company of the 134th Infantry Regiment. Clem would have arrived at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas approximately one month following his enlistment if he joined the call for the 134th Infantry to mobilize at Camp Robinson, Arkansas on January 8, 1941.
After enlisting, he would not see active duty for another 2 years.
Prior to active duty he was discharged as a Private and assigned to the Enlisted Reserve Corps on November 18, 1941. He may have been discharged at this time due to an age law. One month following his discharge and assignment to the Enlisted Reserve Corps, the Axis powers declared war upon the U.S.A.
On January 29 of 1942, approximately 1½ months after the declaration of war by the Axis powers and 2½ months after being placed on reserve, he was recalled to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas at the age of 29 years and 5 months. His military records at the time described him as being 5'10", blue eyes, red hair, and ruddy complexion. His war record also recorded him as being a 1930 graduate of Wisner High School and his civilian occupation was listed as:
"Lineman Senior - Worked for approximately four years for Cuming County Independent Telephone Company, Wisner, Nebraska doing general line work. Installed telephones and serviced them, checked lines. Was trouble shooter and did general construction work for the company."
This occupation would later help to shape his role for the infantry as he was assigned to HQ as a communications officer in the 35th Infantry (134th Infantry Division, 1st Battalion). This assignment began his active military service.
During the time prior to his active duty assignment Clem received the following promotions:
1. June 1, 1942 - Tec 5
2. August 3, 1942 - Tec 4
3. February 15, 1943 - Sargent
4. October 22, 1943 - Staff Sargent
On May 12, 1944 Clem departed for England. His war records show that he landed in England with the 35th Infantry on May 25, 1944. He was with the other Midwestern troops of the 134th that were sent to Cornwall in southwest England.
Clem likely boarded the HMS Javelin in Plymouth Harbor on July 3rd with the 134th for the journey across the English Channel when they landed in France at Omaha Beach at 2:20 PM July 5. After reaching their assigned assembly areas in France and approximately nine days following their arrival in France, the 134th was given orders to attack St. Lo.
During the Battle of St. Lo, Clem was awarded the Bronze Star. Various Nebraska newspapers, including the Omaha World Herald ran articles on the subject of the award ceremony that was held for Clem and other soldiers from Nebraska who received commendations during this battle.
Back side of Citation
There is strong reason to believe Clem was granted leave to Paris following his promotion. In a scrap book kept by his mother, red stars were glued on every newspaper article that mentioned Clem's name. Although his name was not listed in an article about a group of officers being granted leave to Paris, she placed a red star upon this article. Clem's family also has photos of fellow soldiers of the 134th and other units in Paris as well as a photo that appears to show Clem in Paris. The article is dated November, 1944 which is shortly after the St. Lo Battle, his promotion and his Bronze Star citation. The article does not list all of the names who were granted leave so Clem may be among those not listed.
On September 14, 1944 and shortly after the Battle of St. Lo, Clem was appointed to Second Lieutenant in the 134th Infantry APO 35, U.S. Army. Prior to his appointment, he received the following decorations:
1. American Defense Ribbon
2. Good Conduct Ribbon
3. Combat Infantrymen Badge
Clem was with 1st Battalion and the 134th throughout all of their movements in Europe and during all of their battles in France and Germany, including the Battle of St. Lo, the liberation of Nancy, the Gremecy Defensive, across the Lorraine and into Germany. It was around the time of the Gremecy Defensive that Clem sent a letter to his home town newspaper, the Wisner News Chronicle which published his letter about his time and that of a fellow solider from Wisner assigned to the 1st Battalion:
During a battle which occurred near Frauenberg, France on the 12th of December 1944, Clem received this second Bronze Star.
1st Lt. Clement C. McGuire, while serving with the Army of the US, distinguished himself by heroic service in connection with military operations not involving participation in aerial flight against an enemy of the US. On 12 December 1944, in the vicinity of Frauenberg, France, 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry, was engaged in action against the enemy. One Rifle Company had crossed the Blies River into Germany and in so doing had been badly depleted by casualties. The Battalion Commanding Officer ordered wire communications be established between the rifle company across the river and the rest of the Battalion. Lt. McGuire, Battalion Communications Officer, 1st Battalion, 134th Infantry, realizing the extremely hazardous mission, chose to go himself rather than send his wireman. Lt. McGuire successfully strung wire to the rifle company under the constant heavy artillery, mortar and small arms fire in the area, doing so by crossing a foot bridge which had been hit by artillery fire and was definitely a precarious crossing, pronounced unsafe by the engineers. His heroic action was instrumental in the success of the river crossing and is in accordance with high military tradition.
He was discharged on November 14, 1945. His reserve appointment of 1st Lieutenant expired April 1, 1953. He was given honorable discharge on this day and placed on standby reserve with an inactive status.
In the memoir about the family, his brother recalled the following about the period following his discharge from active duty:
When the hostilities in Europe were finally over, he had survived. After some waiting around for "red tape", orders and transportation, he was finally on his way back to the states on board a troop ship. An ability of his, which in his case was almost an art form, was a great gift of playing cards. In later years, I learned abundantly from him and most often I paid for the lesson. But I came to believe that he was the best card player I was ever around. That ability came into good use on the way home. Most of the time, day or night, was spent playing poker. I don't know how much money he collected prior to docking but it was significant. One guy who lived in South Carolina owed him about $1,800. He gave Clem a check and asked that he hold it for a few days until he could transfer some money. One might assume the check would be worth little more that the value of the paper it was written on but a week or so later Clem took it to the bank and it sailed through. Eighteen hundred dollars is a lot of money by today's standards, but in 1945 it was a small fortune. I have no idea where the bulk of the money went, but he did buy a very nice car (a 4-door Dodge, I believe) which by the way he later loaned to me for my first date.
At the welcome home party, Pat McGill composed one of his first parodies which he and his wife Bly performed and naturally, it was to the tune of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE. Pat and Clem had been close since childhood and Bly had been a friend since high school days so it was no surprise that when their fourth son arrived toward the end of WWII and Clem was in the middle of the battle for Europe, they named him Clement. I'm not sure if Clem knew of this before he returned to our shores in the mid 1945 but I'm sure he was proud. The words were:
"On a farm straight north of Wisner, just across the county line lived a pair with silvery hair; they had a son named Clementine. There's no feller any sweller than this redhead Clementine, You wouldn't believe he would be a fighter, to see him on a telephone line. Seven others of his brothers went to fight for Uncle Sam, Clement said unto his Mother, Every Friday we'll have ham.' But for K-rations and C-rations, Clement didn't give a damn, So instead of ham and eggs, every day he just had spam. Uncle Sam wrote to Hitler, 'I'm sending Clementine,' Hitler said, 'Go ahead and send him, he'' not cross the Ziegried line', Clement said, 'We sure will show him; what's more, we'll cross the Rhine.' So determined to stop that German, was this red head, Clementine. Once again, they wrote to Hitler, telling him, 'Get out now while you could.' When they finally got his answer, it was 'Auch, I guess I would, Clement wrote a homebound letter saying, 'They need another man, 'To do a repeat performance on the Emperor of Japan. Later on he wrote another, it was addressed to his Mom, Saying 'They won't need me now Mother, they are using the Atomic Bomb,' It was lucky that the game of poker lasted on to here from France, If the game lasted any longer, Clem would have won the Captain's pants. Even though the war is over, there will still be one more boom, That will be the day some lucky lady takes our Clement for her groom!"
After a round of parties celebrating his return, followed by a bit of time loafing around Omaha, he returned to Wisner and went back to his old job at the telephone company. I suppose the natural instincts of "family" began to strengthen, because he now had attained the ripe old age of 33. The supply of eligible young ladies in Wisner was apparently not abundant, so he began frequent trips to Omaha where he stayed most often with Uncle Pat and Aunt Lib. Of course in Uncle Pat he had a kindred spirit who also loved the deck of 52 cards. Pat was always a "matchmaker", a role in which he was operating on one specific weekend when Clem came to town. A date had been arranged with a lady, an individual whom Mart (his brother) had dated but she had been called out of town. Uncle Pat knew a young lady from Holy Name Parish who was living with her parents just a couple blocks away. It seems that a party was being held at the home of another of Mart's acquaintances and the Schwaab family including their daughter Cecilia would meet them there. Following the party, Clem was to later say about Cecilia, who is known to the world as "Ceil", that he knew she was the girl for him.
Their relationship was filled with laughter. Within a short while, they did become engaged and according to Ceil, "I received my ring while in the car in the yard out at the farm." I don't know if they got engaged on their way to visit or if they had been at the farm for an evening meal but it led to a wedding at Holy Name church on the 26th of October, 1946.
Their first child Sandra was born on November 12, 1947 and the last in line, Philip on September 27, 1960 so the eight children arrived in just under 13 years.
Approximately 25 years after he was discharged from the Army, Clem passed away of heart disease on January 22, 1970 at the early age of 57.
Thanks to 1st. Lt. Clement C. McGuire's son, Phil McGuire, for submitting this biography and photos.
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