Sometimes From Little
Things, Big Things Come
Last week I
posted to a Facebook thread about a Company H
505th Parachute Infantryman who was at
the 75th Anniversary in Normandy. His
name is Forrest Huff (Huffstetler). This was posted
by Siebe Postma to
Leslie Cruise’s timeline.
I’ve known Les for a bit and
went to find a Morning Report with Mr. Huffstetler
name on it. Came across a Company H
Morning Report with both Huffstetler and Cruise
on furlough near the end of July 1944.
Last night on the thread I saw
that a son of
Jack Gividen mentioned that his father was also
on the Morning Report. I located a Morning Report
that also included the
Record of Events for Company H between June 11,
1944 and June 25, 1944. Was able located a Morning
Report showing when his father was wounded.
Mr. Cruise’s and
Gividen’s Combat Infantryman Badge General
Order. I went back to the Record of Events and
scrolled down a bit further and found that
Technician 5th Grade Daniel Lei (T/5 ) was killed on June 22,
1944. It spoke of
what happened that day
to T/5 Lei.
He was the Company Mail Orderly and the Battalion
Runner for Company H.
was killed by artillery fire moving between
Battalion Command Post and the Company Command
Post. Then I went out and found the Morning Reports
Lei death and his Medical Record as well, which
backed up that he had been hit in the chest by
Being the Company Mail Orderly
that means he would have known everyone in the
Company. Think Radar O’Reilly from Mash. Being the
Company Runner as well Lei knew the Headquarters
Section of Company H along with the 3rd
Bn Headquarters men as well.
Then on June 24, 1944
it said that
T/5 Kenneth E. Geiler went Missing in
Action after the Battalion Ammunition Dump
exploded. Geiler was attached to Company H from
Headquarters Company Third Battalion.
Geiler was the Supply Clerk. His job was to
resupply everything needed. In this case Geiler
went to the Ammo Dump to retrieve more bullets and
T/5 Geiler was
identified but it took a bit as he had
been badly burned from the explosion. He was
another man that would have known the men from both
Headquarters Company Third Battalion and Company H.
Both of these men, Lei and
Geiler, were in Sicily and Italy as well. I went to
look for the General Order showing their Combat
Infantryman Badge. Neither Lei or Geiler was
listed. I then went out and looked for another
Veteran from Company H who was killed in Normandy.
I then located the Morning Report
for the death of Private Richard A. Vargas.
Private Vargas was
killed June 7, 1944 defending St. Mere Eglise.
Private Cruise was good friends with Vargas. They
were both on the line June 7, 1944 when artillery
came in. Vargas was hit in the leg and was bleeding
badly. Private Cruise tried to stench the bleeding
but it was no use as Vargas bled out shortly after
he had been wounded.
I went searching for Private
Vargas’ Combat Infantryman Badge as well and once
again nothing on the 505th Parachutes
Infantry General Order 12 1944 that mentioned Vargas, Lei
Since they were all
Veterans they should have been there but they
were not on General Order 12 1944 for the three
Campaigns, Sicily, Italy and Normandy. Then went to
Brandon Weigand’s Index to the General Orders for
the 505th Parachute Infantry book and the same
thing, nothing there.
General #12 Orders was created
August 15, 1944 and that means that the 505th
didn’t award the Combat Infantryman Badge to the men who
were killed in Normandy. At the end of WWII both
the 507th and 508th Parachute
Infantry Regiment Awarded the Combat Infantryman
Badge posthumous. No General Orders have been
located yet for those men in the 505th
Parachute Infantry men.
The photos for this article are
in this order, Cruise, Gividen, Geiler, Lei and
Vargas. These men were all part of Company H of the
505th Parachute Infantry but only the
first two, Cruise and Gividen have received the
Combat Infantryman Badge. Hopefully I will be able
to locate some record showing that the remaining three men
have received the Combat Infantryman Badge. Maybe a
family member received the Combat Infantryman Badge
and the Purple Heart. Time will tell.
I do find it interesting that I
looked for this information almost 75 Years to the
day of T/5 Geiler’s death in Normandy.
Brian N. Siddall
June 24, 2019