Upon completion of basic training at Camp Wolters Texas Infantry Replacement Training Center, the author shipped overseas to the European Theater of Operations. After a rough crossing of the English Channel and passing through several replacement depots, he was assigned to an infantry line company. The unit, severely decimated by casualties, was currently engaged in the bloody battle of Hurtgen Forrest.
Though trained as a rifleman, he volunteered to be a light machine gunner, though he knew that the automatic weapons of the company were a prime target for enemy gunners. He was also aware that the life expectancy of a machine gunner was considerably shorter than that of a rifleman. However, when the company commander made it clear that someone had to be a machine gunner and, since no one else volunteered, the author reluctantly laid down his trusty M-1 rifle and filled the vacancy.
During the balance of the conflict, the author raised the average life of a light machine gunner considerably.
Though he was a late combat arrival, he earned three campaign stars and beat all the odds when, by the end of the war, they had not yet fired the bullet with his name on it.