I’ve been re-reading George Lineberry’s letters that he wrote to his siblings while he was in WWII. He was a private first class in the 101st Airborne 502nd Paratroop Infantry Regiment Headquarters 2nd Battalion, Company F. Below is a letter that struck my interest again tonight.
V-mail postmarked July 17, 1944
an old ammunition dump in France or a Robot plant
Hello Johnnie, Julia and sons,
I will write a few lines to let you know i am still going an hope this finds you the same.
Well I guess you know we came to France a little after midnite June 5th I was in the first combat tonite to hit the ground to be exact plane no 9.
We got the presidential citation I can’t say where or when. there sure are some fine cattle around here brought in here from Germany we have been getting plenty of milk & butter but that is all they have, plenty of cider to drink, black bread only a few eggs.
We all have under estimate our enemy to much I would not believe another paper. The people here are better off then they are in England that is what I think. the wooden shoes the people wear is enough to kill a horse.
Johnnie will you send me some cakes, candy, Baby Ruth we get enough hard candy and cig this is the hungriest bunch of men I ever saw.
Did Sister go the visit Leonard I have just wrote him for the first time. Well how does it feel to be back in the stand again if they don’t draft men over 26 any more they should turn us a older ones out. I better close as it is so dark I can’t see 11 p.m. an raining call Virginia tell her I will write sometime.
In George’s next letter he answered a question from his brother:
you ask me where I jumped in France it was between Hiesville an Boutteville north of Carentan.
Since he indicated that they received a Presidential Unit Citation for work done on June 6 in France, I asked my husband, Keith, about it and he went on wikipedia which lists that the 101st received a presidential citation for their involvement with the invasion at Normandy.
According to wikipedia “The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and allies for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy on or after 7 December 1941 (the date of the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the start of American involvement in World War II). The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions so as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross to an individual.”
More on the specific Presidential Unit Citation for their D-Day heroism.
If you visit the 101st Airborne Division During WWII and read about their D-Day involvement it matches what George said in his letter. He was there! He was not able to share much in his letters, you might miss his comments to learn of his action.
Further Reading of my progression in learning George’s story:
- George & D-Day – this post
- My great Uncle George
- More about George
- Learning Uncle George’s story – the final post of my quest.