babe_stel T5 GERARD "BABE" STEL - C Co

"I always used to sleep under the ammunition trailer, never had to fight anyone for a bed."


1. Medals and Special Honors I received while in the Army:

Purple Heart


2. Some funny things I remember about the war:

On the front while fixing breakfast over our little stove, we used to get up in the morning and sing. "Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day." Another time one night when I was supposed to be on guard duty and the guy didn't wake me up, just threw the watch into me while I was sleeping. When I woke up I heard the ticking of the watch and got up and stood guard for about one hour. I told the next guy I just felt so good that I stayed up all night. We were lucky nothing happened that night.


3. My memories of the way we lived in Europe:

After six months on the front we finally got into a house. We had fresh vegetables out of the garden, potatoes out of the basement, and I killed two chickens and we all had a nice chicken dinner. A great change from cans and "C" rations.


4. My most vivid memories from World War II:

I always used to sleep under the ammunition trailer, never had to fight anyone for a bed.


5. My memories about the conditions of the countries I was in during the war:

The towns were all tore up. I prayed a lot during the time I served and was lucky to have come through everything all right.


6. Something from the war that is difficult to talk about, but I'd like future Americans to know:

When I had my accident it was at the "Bulge". It was raining and it was pitch black out. I was driving ammunition to the tanks and I hit another jeep pulling a trailer head on. I remember lying in the street praying no one would run over me. Another jeep came and picked me up. They took me to a house somewhere, gave me a cigarette, took x-rays and left me on the table all night. They were surprised in the morning that I was still lying there where they left me. I remember being on the airplane going back to England and a nurse giving me a shot. I never got back to my outfit after that. I was in several different hospitals before coming back to the states. In one hospital I remember seeing a guy with a bullet stuck in the middle of his forehead. It was in a hospital in England that I received my Purple Heart, which was the only medal of any kind I received even though my discharge states I served in three battles and received four medals.


7. In spite of the hardships of war, I'm proud to have served my country in World War II because:

I was proud to have served my country in Europe rather than having the war come to the United States.


8. My message to my lifelong Buddies in the 818th:

My first reunion was in 1992 in Milwaukee after reading about them in the D.A.V. magazine. Although Co. "C" has a small turnout I have enjoyed the friendship and the sharing of memories with the whole battalion at each of the five reunions I have attended and may we meet again and again as the war was a very important chapter in out lives.

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