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Out On The Mudline

Sissell Learns Of Brother’s Wartime Death In Germany

By W. P. Sissell

I was in the 751st  Field Artillery Batalion stationed in Karlsrhue, Germany. The Battalion, like all those we had been serving in, no longer had big guns. The personnel  was being used as the first army of occupation.   

Our business in Karlsrhue was operating three special service facilities: a hotel (including space to sleep a trainload of people and a café, a night club (from 6 to 11 every week night) and a café with the capacity to feed a train load of soldiers  at the railroad station (sometimes more than a train per day came through).  It was a big operation.  We moved to the 751st from the 2nd  and were separated by length of service.  

Upon our arrival, I was contacted by my friend-buddy-who had been serving as supply sergeant in the 2nd.  Don wanted to know if I would like to work with him as his assistant.  We had been in the same outfit for most of our time in the artillery.  I had met Don’s family who visited him several times while were in Georgia and South Carolina.  I usually went with Don to help entertain his sister, Ruth.  

Mail Call

Don told me on the front end that he didn’t expect to do much in the way of supply other than get me familiar with the operation. He usually spent most of the mornings in the Red Cross snack room just down the hall, which apparently was his location this morning.

I had finished all the work orders – had a secretary and a young boy to help and T5 Simpson to get trucks to travel in many directions.  Sometimes during the morning the “mail orderly” came through and dropped several letters on my desk.  One looked like a card of some kind.  When I picked it up I read in the return address area, Ruth Starkey, Tiffin, Ohio.  My mind flipped, for Ruth and I were not pen pals at all, although Don often told me something about his sister.  Then I opened the letter.

Inside I found a card that said-on the outside – My Deepest Sympathy.  The note inside the card read, “I am so sorry about your brother’s death.”  

At the club that night the men put me at a table by myself.  During the evening almost every one came by and sat for a few minutes to talk, especially those with whom I had come overseas.  They let me know that they were my family in the army.  

I have a request to write about my brother Reuel.  I’ll tell you more about him next week.  

A Program

Nannette and I attended the monthly meeting of the Panola County Genealogical Society last evening.  One of the members gave a program based on the Pledge of Allegiance.   I had no idea there was so much meaning in those thirty-one words.  And how many of you know the “why” of the twenty-one gun honor salute-try adding the numbers in 1776?

Our wish for you is a great week.  You can reach me most anytime at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606,, or 662-563-9879.

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