|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||118 KB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Jimmy Carter
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2015 Jimmy Carter
All rights reserved.
Kenneth, his friends called him Kenny, was born March 1, 1927, in Terre Haute, Indiana. Terre Haute is a city in Vigo County, near the state's western border with Illinois, seventy-five miles west of Indianapolis, as of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 59,614. The name of the city is derived from the French phrase "terre haute", meaning "high land" it was named by French explorers in the eighteenth century to describe the plateau-like rise of land next to the Wabash River. The construction of Fort Harrison during Tecumshehs War" marked the first known population of European Americans. An Indian Tribe Village called "Weananu", also known as "Rising Sun" already existed near the fort. Captain Zachary Taylor defended the fort against British, inspired six hundred Native Americans during the Battle of Fort Harrison, September 4, 1812. The orchards and meadows kept by the local Wea population became the site of present day Terre Haute a few miles south of Fort. By 1830, the few remaining Wea Indians departed, due to pressure from the white settlement.
The completion of the "Wabash and Erie Canal", The longest man made body of water in the Western Hemisphere, brought prosperity to the area, the canal, along with the "Terre Haute and Indianapolis Railroad", quickly gained the reputation as a transportation hub. Terre Haute's famous "Four-Cornered Race Track" was the site of more than twenty world harness racing records and helped trigger the city's reputation as a sporting center. Terre Haute became a city in 1853. Terre Haute has a sister city relationship with Tajimi, Japan.
Kenneth's childhood development years were spent on his father's farm, near Terre Haute. Every year, Kenneth, his father and brother Leo, armed with axes and saws, would go into the woods to lay-in a large supply of wood to ensure that the family would have enough fuel to sustain their heating and cooking needs during the extreme temperatures of the winters in Indiana. On occasion, a tree that was cut down contained a bee hive, they would gather buckets of honey to take home. The work was hard and exhausting, but Kenneth was always ready, willing and able to do his part, he was also motivated by knowing that his mother would have a sumptuous dinner waiting for them when they got home. Kenneth also participated in the "hog rolling" or butchering of hogs. As many as twenty neighbors would gather in the fall to augment their meat supplies, they would share in the work and meat from the hogs. A neighbor, whose name was Fred Lamb, had only one job, which was to dispatch the hogs quickly and proficiently with the blunt end of an axe. The others scraped the hair off the hogs, butcher them and boil-down the lard. When the butchering was at the Anderson farm, Kenneth's mother would cook a huge meal for the crew, featuring a large platter of pork livers and a special treat, the "cracklings" or pig skins. The events were as much social gatherings as just occasions to obtain meat. To make some money, Kenneth set box traps cottontail rabbits and muskrats, for which he received a dollar for each of their pelts. He also caught fling squirrels, which became pets.
Kenneth attended and graduated from Concanon School, which was a twelve grade school. In the eleventh grade, he cut a finger in wood shop that was so severe that he almost lost his finger and it never healed correctly. He graduated in May of 1938.
Between the years from which he graduated in May 1938 and when he was drafted in May of 1942, Kenneth worked in various jobs, one was as a fireman on the Pennsylvania Railroad. Kenneth was slight of build and it was a hot and energy sapping job. He spent his days shoveling coal into the firebox on the engine, he would come home black from the soot that emitted from the firebox.
Kenneth married his High School sweetheart, Ann Dingle, who was attending St. Mary Of The WOODS COLLEGE in West Terre Haute when they were married. Later in life, Kenneth would often reflect on the etchings on a tombstone that he saw in England: it said "Ann Smith – the children of Isreal wanted food and the Lord sent them manna; old man Smith wanted a wife and the DEVIL sent him Anna".
When he received his draft notice, Kenneth reported to he Induction Center at Fort Harrison, his older brother, Bernard, who had been drafted earlier, was stationed at Fort Harrison as a Military Policeman "MP". Bernard was a "free spirit", who would leave the post whenever he felt like it: often other Military Policemen would be sent to bring him back, but due to tips from friends and family that the MPs were searching for him' Bernard would make it back to the fort before the MPs could catch him. Sometimes he would be locked-up in the brig anyway. When he was released, he would resume his duties until he decided to leave again. The first evening that Kenneth was at the Induction Center, his brother Bernard found him. Bernard said to Kenneth, "Lets go" Kenneth asked "Go where?" Bernard said, "Come on, we are going to town", Kenneth answered, "I am not supposed to leave the post!" Bernard told him, "That's okay, I know how to get on and off the post without being seen". Kenneth reluctantly replied. "Okay". As they departed Fort Harrison, Kenneth thought to himself, "This a very inauspicious start, my first day in the Army and I am already absent without leave!". They went into town, had drinks at several bars and restaurants, then they returned to the post, as Bernard had assured him, they were not caught.
Sometime after Kenneth's first day in the Army, Bernard was attached to a unit whose primary job was to bring German prisoners of war to the United States; the unit, along with relief troops for the North African Campaign, boarded a ship in Norfolk, Virginia, where the ship departed the Continental United States and proceeded to Morocco in Africa. There the relief troops disembarked and the German prisoners were boarded, from there the ship proceed to Algiers to pick-up more German prisoners and then return to the United States. Bernard made two cruises to pick-up prisoners. After that, he returned to Fort Harrison, where he got into an argument with an Army Captain; it isn't clear what the argument was about, but the longer that they talked, the more heated the argument became, finally the Captain said, "I am your Superior Officer and you will do what I tell you to", that was the last straw for Bernard and he decked the Captain. The Captain, who was no match for Bernard, had him arrested and wanted to court marshal him. MPs were dispatched from a facility in Miami, Florida to escort Bernard to that facility. While he was there, by a sheer stroke of luck, Bernard encountered a Colonel that he had previously worked for. The Colonel really liked Bernard and managed to absolve Bernard of all the formal charges that were levied against him. Bernard was honorably discharged shortly after that.CHAPTER 2
On the second day that Kenneth was at the Induction Center, he was administered a series of tests, his score on the Intelligence Quotient "IQ" Test was 140, one of the highest scores recorded at the Induction Center. He was immediately dispatched to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and was enrolled in the Medical College to begin training for being a doctor in the United States Army. Kenneth studied there for two years; then in 1944, the build -up for D-Day began, Kenneth, along with four others with the highest grade point average who were there in training at the college, were pulled out of college and made instant Front Line Medical Technicians and were sent to Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky, where they participated in maneuvers with other troops in preparation for being shipped out. From there, Kenneth was sent to a British Military facility outside of London, England, where he worked in the Dispensary. The Dispensary did not have a centrifuge, Kenneth helped design and build a centrifuge for the Dispensary. The chief food staple at the Dispensary was "Bully Beef ", it was on the menu every day, When Kenneth departed the Dispensary, he declared "I hope I never see bully beef again!"
On June 4, 1944, "Operation Overlord", the allied invasion of Europe was imminent, all the ground troops that were to participate, American and Allied Forces, reported to their ports of embarkation, Kenneth mustered with the American 29th Infantry Division, whose point of attack was to be at Omaha Beach. The 29th Infantry Division was one of the most illustrious outfits of World War II. The Division was engaged in combat almost continuously from D-Day to V-E Day and suffered 20,111 battle casualties in eleven months of combat, over twice the normal manpower compliment of approximately 14,000 men. The Division gained four campaign ribbons for service in the European Theater and was awarded the prestigious Croix de Guerre Avec Palme by the French Government for it's exemplary actions on Omaha Beach on D-Day. The troops were issued a new pair of boots, Kenneth put his on and would not remove them for three weeks, Before the soldiers boarded a troop ship, they were given a motivational speech by General George Patton. After General Patton's speech, the soldiers boarded the Troopships, which was part of a fleet of almost five thousand ships of all kinds, carrying 200,00 sailors, soldiers and Coast Guardsmen. When the word to depart was transmitted to the ships, the fleet cast off mooring lines in unison and proceeded from their ports to assemble at their positions off Normandy's five invasion beaches. Gale force winds buffeted the ships in the English Channel, large swells lifted and lowered the smaller ships like bobbing corks; General Eisenhower felt that he had no choice but to have the ships return to port and hope for better weather for the invasion. The message went out to the ships to turn back, the Destroyers began working like herding dogs, crossing in front of the other ships and guiding them in an effort to turn the tremendously large fleet around and head back to England. The men who had already been living in cramped and uncomfortable conditions would have to wait two more days before their situation would change, most of them will find that living conditions can be worse, a whole lot worse.
The Germans had constructed the most formidably defenses ever known in the history of the world. Using thousands of people as slave labor, millions of tons of concrete had been poured to build machine gun nests; communication trenches, gun emplacements block houses and buildings known as "pill boxes", whose only entrance was a hole on the roof of the buildings, the beaches had been inundated with anti-tank mines, over five million anti-personnel S-mines, nicknamed "Bouncing Bettys" by the Allies, they got their name due to their action of bouncing up from waist to head high and exploding, unleashing a lethal barrage of ball bearings. The beaches were covered with steel and concrete obstacles, topped with teller mines and barbed wire stretching form obstacle to obstacle, off the coast of the beaches, anti-invasion obstacles made of steel, metal tipped wooden stakes and concrete cones topped with mines were placed just below the surface of the water. General Rommel had a large area behind his headquarters flooded and covered with obstacles, barbed wire and mines to protect against an airborne invasion.
General Eisenhower had made his final decision, the Europe invasion would be Tuesday June 6, 1944. Slightly after midnight on June 6, the invasion, which would become known as D-day began. Paratroopers from the 101st and 82nd Divisions began to jump from their aircraft over Normandy, shortly after that, paratroopers from the British 6th Airborne Division jumped in a different location. These were designated "Path Finders" whose job was to light the way for other paratroopers and to clear an area for the glider trains carrying troops; anti-tank guns, heavy equipment and and medical supplies to land. Unfortunately, luck was not with them, due to high winds and unexpected anti-aircraft fire, many did not land in in the intended areas were they were supposed to. The air drops for the eighteen thousand Airborne Troops that followed would prove disastrous for a large number of the men; the glider trains carrying troops from the 101st Airborne Division did not have a large number of casualties, they landed in the areas marked by lights positioned by the Path Finders, the 82nd Airborne Division did not fare as well, most of gliders missed their landing area and crashed, many of the Airborne Troops were killed in the crashes and a large amount of vital supplies that the gliders were carrying was lost. Hundreds of the paratroopers were lost, some missed the coast entirely and were pulled under the water by their heavy equipment and were drowned. Others were lost when they landed in "Rommels Swamp" and were unable to swim or wade out of the muddy waters.
Meanwhile, the ships of the enormous fleet were departing from their various ports and began assembling into formations directed at the assigned beaches where the attack would be launched. British Minesweepers led the way followed by Battleships, Cruisers and Destroyers, trailing them were the Command Ships, Troop Ships and LSTs (Landing Ship Tank).
Kenneth was standing at the railing of a Troop Transport Ship staring at the rough waters that were buffeting the ships, he was apprehensive as to what was his destiny would be and if the operation would be successful. Then he heard the tremendous crescendo of noise from the engines of the big bombers, fighters and other aircraft that filled the skies as they flew over the fleet. He looked up to see wave after wave of aircraft in formation headed for the Normandy coast. The big bombers were supposed to carpet bomb the defensive fortifications simultaneously with the bombardment of shells from the ships to destroy the German gun positions along the coast. The bombers did not accomplish their objective, they dropped their bombs three miles inland from their intended targets.
The ships reached their assigned locations and moved into position. The Minesweepers moved along the coast unseen, having done their job, they headed back out to sea. The Battleships and Cruisers began firing five to six miles from the coast; Battleships Texas and Arkansas fired fourteen inch shells after fourteen inch shells at the one hundred feet high fortification wall on Omaha Beach, the Destroyers were moving along the coast firing one mile out from the shoreline. The ships fired salvo after salvo at the fortifications that had been built along the coast, doing little damage to them. The Germans did not the return the fire that the Americans had been expecting, the Germans were waiting for the assault boats to get in close.
Four artillery batteries of the German 352nd Division were positioned one hundred feet up overlooking Omaha Beach, there were twenty guns of several calibers, including the deadly German 88s, the guns covered one half of the beach. The command bunker was hit, but incredibly, none of the gun bunkers were hit during the extensive shelling of the beach fortifications.
While the ships were firing at the coast, LCIs (Landing Ship Infantry) that carried about thirty men were being lowered to the water from the Troop Ships, some of the boats were loaded with men and equipment before they were lowered over the side, with the ships windlasses; Kenneth was in one of these and the boat was lowered into the water safely, some others were not so lucky, the large waves smashing against the ships caused some of the boats to tip and dump the troops and equipment into the water, causing casualties before they even got started for the beach. On other Troop Ships scramble nets were lowered over the side into the water, after the small boats were lowered into the water, men carrying their heavy equipment would climb down the nets to the boats, some soldiers fell into the boats injuring themselves and others fell into the water.
Excerpted from Kenny by Jimmy Carter. Copyright © 2015 Jimmy Carter. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.