American who fought for Soviet army in WWII


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Mar 21, 2009
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American who fought for Soviet army in WWII

The United States entered World War II on December 8, 1941 after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941. I was in my last year of high school in Muskegon, Michigan. I graduated on June 7, 1942 from St. Joseph High School in Muskegon and had a scholarship to attend Notre Dame University, which I did not accept. Instead, I enlisted in the United States Army and volunteered for the Parachute Infantry.

I was inducted on September 17, 1942 at Fort Custer, Michigan. I went through the usual induction exams and tests and received my uniform and clothing allotment. I and 10 men who had also volunteered received orders' to proceed to Camp Toccoa, Georgia, and I was put in charge of the detail and given temporary rank of Corporal. We traveled by train from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Toccoa, Georgia, arriving in the evening of the second day. We were picked up by trucks, transported on Highway 13, past a casket factory to Camp Toccoa, which was formerly known as Camp Toombs, after a Civil War General. I was assigned to a barrack with double bunks which was to be my home for the next three months. We were further processed for the next week, issued additional clothing, equipment, and weapons. One of mine was a 8 pound Garand M-1 30 caliber rifle with bayonet. We received basic infantry, advanced infantry training (AIT). The last month was A and B stage of parachute training. All of our training was at "double time" and pushups were common place, 10 to 50 at a time. We trained on a rifle range at Clemson, South Carolina, forced marched 32 miles, with full-field equipment to and from Clemson. Everyday we would run the mountain called "Currahee", one and a half miles up and down, three to five days a week. We ran the obstacle course back and forth over a stream between two hills; followed by 30 minutes of hard calisthenics with between one to four mile runs daily. I was assigned to I Company 3rd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment. I became part of I Company Headquarters as a radio operator.

506th PIR History of Joseph R. Beyrle 1942-1945

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