By Jennifer Martin - email
Howard Miskelly was just 18 years-old when he made his trip to the draft board. He remembers it like it was yesterday.
"Mr. Jones was about 5'2 at the draft board. And he weighed about 130 pounds, but he was tough as nails. You go in and you register and he said to my dad, you're a farmer and Howard can get a 6 month deferment to help you gather the crop. My dad straightened up and said, 'Me and Bud don't want a deferment, do we Bud?' I said 'no sir.' He said 'Mr Jones, we want to do our part. We," said Miskelly
With that his Army career began. It was 1944 when he shipped out.
"We were in the convoy going over, took about 8 days to get over there. Pretty bad sleeping conditions and I get nauseated really easily and seasickness was pretty tough," Miskelly said.
"We went up north of Liverpool to a little bitty port there. This is D-Day plus about 160 or 70 and we landed at Normandy it was just as quiet as it is today because they were long gone," Miskelly added.
He was part of the 406th Infantry Regiment, 102nd Infantry Division.
"We had to go over the Roer River and that was not a wide river, but it's pretty deep. And all the units are preparing to cross. We got all ready and got the bridges swung and the Germans blew it down up above the river night before we were going to come across. It took us several more days to get across that," Miskelly said.
"We went from the Roer River to the Rhine River and then we defended there for a little while and then when we were able to cross we went from there to the Elbe River where the war ended," Miskelly added.
"We had some awful tough battles," Miskelly explained.
"Crayfield Germany was our worst nightmare. We took that down in the black dark, room by room, house by house, the 102nd Infantry Division did. And that's frightening. Lost lots of people," recalled Miskelly.
"One other thing we did. We captured an SS training camp. That was very difficult. It was kind of a valley going up through there and they were putting the shells to us. And we didn't have any cover to speak of. And my best friend in the war, was as close as you and I and he got shot right through the heart. Those things hurt you and you never forget em," Miskelly said.
After the war ended, Miskelly was offered the chance to go home, but he signed up for 6 more months. He managaed an officers club in Germany and later worked at an outpost on the border between Germany and Czchekolslavakia.
"The Lord didn't stop there, he gave me this wonderful wife, we've got five children and the Lord's just been so good to me I just can't tell you," Miskelly said.
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