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 William Brunsman 505 3rd I Co.

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gwbman

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Date d'inscription : 07/02/2017
Localisation : Kentucky, USA

MessageSujet: William Brunsman 505 3rd I Co.   Dim 12 Fév 2017 - 18:06

William J. Brunsman 2nd Lt.
82nd Airborne 505th PIR RCT 3rd Battalion I Company

5 Theatres of Campaign, Sicily, Naples Foggia, Normandy, Ardennes, Rhineland.
Recipient of the Silver Star, Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster and Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster. 4 Jump Stars and 1 Bronze Arrowhead on his European Theater Ribbon.

Volunteered from his home town of Connersville, IN and sworn in at Indianapolis, IN.
Sent to Camp Shelby, MS. for Basic Training 3-Apr-1941, 38th Division.  
After Basic he was then transferred to the Panama Canal, Jan-1942 on the John L. Clem. He was stationed there as a Communication Sgt. on the Gatoon, Pedro Miguel, and Miraflores Locks. 7-Dec-1941 he had been home on leave and was leaving to come back and his Dad informed him the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor. It was the first time he had seen his Dad cry. It was also the last time he saw his Dad as he died while he was overseas. Went to OCS at Ft. Benning GA. January through March 1943, and while there he volunteered for Paratroop Jump School. One reason he joined was that these were elite men and not just anybody could make it, and of course the Jump Boots and Baggy Pants. 9 in his group of friends volunteered but he was the only one to make it. In training, one class he said he paid particular attention to was parachute packing as he had to pack his own chute for his first jump. He then went to New York where he embarked 29-Apr-1943 on a transport ship and arrived Casablanca, North Africa 10-May-1943. While on the ship he was awarded a U.S. Navy Expert Pistol Medal and Ribbon for his pistol shooting. He was issued an M1 Carbine as an Officer but in Africa he got an M1 Rifle which he said was a superior weapon.

He then traveled through Rabat, Oujda, Kairouan, Tunisia where they departed for the Division’s first Combat Jump into Gela, Sicily 9-Jul-1943 Operation Husky I the first Regimental size Combat Parachute Attack. They were attacked by the Herman Goring Tank Division and he took out a tank with a gammon grenade but got hit by shrapnel. I ask him if he put in for a Purple Heart and he said no as he just had his Medic dig it out. He said it burnt like fire though. After the Sicily operation they loaded onto the planes to jump near Rome but the drop was cancelled, he thought by General Mark Clark because there were too many German Forces there. They then loaded again for a night drop, his 2nd jump near Salerno, Italy on the night of 14-Sept-1943 Operation Avalanche. This Operation was in support of General Mark Clark’s 5th Army which was having trouble getting off the beach and to reinforce the 505th PIR which had jumped in the night before. After the beachhead was secured he then went on into Naples. He was in Naples when the Post Office was blown up. He then went to Ireland and then to England. While in England training for the D-Day Invasion, he volunteered for an experiment to jump at a lower altitude than normal. When he jumped his chute made 1 oscillation to the right and then 1 to the left and then hit the ground hard. His 3rd jump was into Normandy, D-Day H-MINUS 6-June-1944 around 02:00 near the first town liberated, Ste. Mere Englise, Operation Neptune, where they were successful in their objective of securing a road to keep the Germans from reinforcing the Utah Beachhead. After D-Day while fighting through the Hedgerows, he was wounded in the upper left thigh by shrapnel from a German Artillery Burst. When he got hit, he looked down at his leg and could see the big white bone and kneecap, and his first thought was he had lost his leg. His Medic gave him some morphine and he laid in a ditch all night till the next morning when he was picked up and then transported to a hospital for surgery. He received the Purple Heart for this. 3 months later his 4th and last jump was at Grosbeek, Holland, Nijmegen Bridge 17 Sept 1944 Operation Market Garden. When he hit the ground in Holland his BAR man landed on top of him. In Holland he shot a cow so his men could have fresh meat. General Jim Gavin came by and asked what was going on. He told him he had shot the cow for fresh meat for his men. Gavin then explained that they could not do this and the army would have to pay a fine. When returning from the field one day, Captain Jack Isaacs told him a mortar shell had come through the roof of the house they were staying in and landed on his bed but did not explode. He then went to Theux, Belgium and and stayed with the Jean Pierre Bouffa family. He was in the Battle of the Bulge-The Ardennes Offensive where the snow was deep and they only had field jackets, no overcoats. They were not allowed to light fires and men were sick. He said “We lived like animals“. One day while moving through the forest something got up in front of him and he shot and killed a deer. During a German artillery barrage, an 88mm shell skipped by him but didn’t explode. When he got to the Siegfried Line, he could see the Dragons teeth, concrete blocks to keep tanks from getting by. He also saw the trenches from WW I which had not filled in yet. On 2-Feb-1945, after crossing the Siegfried Line and just over the German border at Losheimergraben, he and his Sergeant took out German pillboxes. When he and his Sergeant went towards the first pillbox he had a bullet go through his right arm and sleeve of his field jacket and one went through his leg and pants, he then got hit in the left foot. Then with his lead scout they maneuvered to the rear of the pillbox where he mounted the pillbox and threw Gammon Grenades down the chimney until all enemy surrendered. His Sergeant was shot and killed during this action. The Platoon captured about 20 German prisoners. He was transported back to the hospital for surgery where they removed two bones and the bullet from his left foot which he kept. He received the Purple Heart and Silver Star Medal for this action.

After surviving all this, his ASR score was 126 he put in to come home. When putting in his request to come home, Col. William E. Ekman, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Commander, wanted to meet with him personally and offered him a Captaincy with the Regiment to stay in but he said “I thought my luck had run out“. He was discharged as a 1st Lt.

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Gennaker

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Date d'inscription : 26/01/2012

MessageSujet: Re: William Brunsman 505 3rd I Co.   Dim 12 Fév 2017 - 19:09

Very impressive record indeed! thanks for sharing. Love to hear more stories if you got any... what was Ed Krause like, 3rd Battalion Co?

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Patty
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Date d'inscription : 26/01/2012
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MessageSujet: Re: William Brunsman 505 3rd I Co.   Lun 13 Fév 2017 - 3:12

Thank you for sharing Smile

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