Joe Crilley


Leaving Margraten, my brother Dave and I travel to Bastogne Belgium, to the battlefield that made the 101st famous. They became known to the world as "the battered bastards of Bastogne" and it was one battle that my Father did not fight but haunted him for the rest of his life. My Father was able to get out of the hospital even though he was unfit for duty. He arrived at Mourmelon, France just as the Screaming Eagles were getting ready to race to Bastogne in trucks to control that important junction city of seven roads. The story was that my Dad missed the last truck going to the soon to be encircled city but this was not true. As it turned out, Baker Company/326th was the first unit to arrive in this pivotal city. My Father was most likely told to stay because an officer recognized he was not combat ready. If he did go he probability would have ended up in the field hospital which wasn't good, because the Germans infiltrated the American lines and captured it taking all the doctors, medics and supplies. Anybody unable to walk was killed. Later, elements of the 327th GIR caught up with some these Germans and treated them in a similiar matter. It wasn't until 50 years after the battle that my Father finally told my Mom the true story.

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