Joe Crilley

Joe Mann

From there we travel to Best where the Joe Mann Memorial is located. Pvt. Joe Mann of H Company/502th PIR was killed on September 19, 1944 when he jumped on a German grenade thus saving the men he was with in his foxhole. Among the troopers were soldiers from Charlie Company of the 326th AEB. On the top of the monument is a pelican. An old Dutch fable states "If a pelican goes in search for food for its young and can't find any for it's young, it will thrust his beak into his own flesh, let it fill with blood and feed its young". Every year the Dutch people lay flowers at the base of the Joe Mann Memorial, thankful what he did for their freedom. For his actions Pvt. Joe Mann was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and had a Liberty ship named after him. Pvt. Mann who had both arms in slings from wounds the day before refused to leave his men. He placed his back on the grenade and took the blunt of the explosion. When the officer got to him he only said "My back is gone" and died with out a whimper. The remaining Americans were captured by the Germans but later freed so the story of Pvt. Joe Mann could be told.
St. Oedenrode

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