By Jennifer Martin - email
Kendall Quinn was 18 years-old when he answered the call to join the Army in World War II. After training, he boarded the Queen Mary, headed for Europe.
"It was a luxury boat. But it was converted to a troop transport. And the cabin that was for a couple when it was a luxury liner, there were 19 of us soldiers, all of our equipment, everything that we had," Quinn recalled.
"The first 20 hours, we had air support. then the air support dropped us and we started changing course every 7-8 seconds. Seasick? Honey when you get seasick, you don't say I feel like dying, you want to die. And I got seasick. So we agreed that if we were too seasick to walk to our post, they would tote us so they'd just lay us down across the door," Quinn said.
They docked in Scotland, then took a train to England, where they stayed two months.
Quinn worked as a motorcycle escort with The 512th MP Company.
"They started us at that time loading troops onto the boats. We were loading them to go to battle. Then they loaded us on the boat. And that's when (we went to) the Invasion of Normandy," Quinn recalled.
"We docked D-Day plus 2. And the waves were so high, they couldn't unload us, so we sat on that boat all night. Artillery, our artillery going against the Germans and theirs over against us against the boat out there. The water was full of dead men from the invasion. Just hundreds and hundreds of them," Quinn added.
"The next morning, they hooked our motorcycles with us on it. Let us down the side of that ship. There was 28 of us, honey. Every one of us got out and from then on we were in battle all the way through," Quinn said.
"Most of the time, we were following where Patton had been. Of course there were a lot of snipers left shooting at you. Once we delivered that convoy of diesel fuel or ammo to that Army division we were on our own to get back. Everybody is shooting at everybody. But we made it some way," Quinn said.
"If you stopped that convoy of ammunition and gas or diesel fuel and it got strafed --see those German planes were flying strafing and all of that, if that convoy got hit, you was in bad trouble. Fact of the business, I started with 25 trucks one day, got there with three of them. The rest of them were blown up," Quinn said.
Patton's 3rd Army was advancing rapidly through France. Too rapidly for General Eisenhower. The concern was that if Patton went too far ahead, he'd be cut off from the other American Troops. After several radio calls demanding he slow down, Quinn says Eisenhower himself came to face off with Patton.
"So he had to go to Patton and when he got to the little tent where Patton was and he went in and told him, you're gonna have to stop. Honey, it wasn't a conversation. if you ever heard two men cussing one another. Finally Eisenhower had to pull rank and tell him to shut up. Patton did stop. He was soldier enough that he took orders, he stopped," Quinn said.
It would not be long before Quinn would witness Patton's finest hour.
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