17th Armored Engineer Battalion in World War 2

17th Engineers during World War Two

Year 1944 US Army service PFC David E. Hiett

January 1944

Enlisted Man’s Identification Card of Pvt David Edd Hiett, January 31, 1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Told by Mark Hiett, son of David E Hiett:

There is a story he told of being the jeep driver for one of the officers, maybe his CO, of the 300th while in England, having a wreck and getting busted from PFC to buck private on Jan 24, 1944. I really have no more details about it than that. I also remember him mentioning an officer or sergeant, I can’t remember which, who was killed at Camp White when either lightening struck him or a tree and a branch fell killing him while they were in the woods during a work detail. During training he said that at first he would try to show everyone up since he was a hotshot athlete and football player by beating them in the obstacle course and the like, but he soon found out all that got him more work by being put in competitions against other companies.

Soldier’s Individual Pay Record of David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Soldier’s Individual Pay Record of David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett) (Reduced to Private on 24 january 1944, getting busted down to buck private because he wrecked a jeep while he was the driver for one of his officers.)
Soldier's Individual Pay Record of David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Soldier’s Individual Pay Record of David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

June 1944

From England they sailed to France, and he was wounded landing in Normandy on June 13, 1944 when his LST was sunk by a German mine.
He was up on the top deck when the mine exploded throwing him into the water with a fractured pelvis and spending about 2 hours in 10 to 20 foot waves before being rescued. He said anyone down below the deck did not make it. 94 of the 200 soldiers and 117 of the 145 sailors on board died.

Told by Mark Hiett, son of David E Hiett:

I remember him saying that when he was wounded, he woke up in a room filled with beautiful flowers and nurses in white “and he thought he had died and gone to heaven!! He was the 100th Casualty in that invasion and it made the news! 

He spent about 3 months recovering in England. 

David E Hiett from England being wounded (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 06-27-1944 David E Hiett from England being wounded (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Hello Darling,How’s my beautiful blonde today? As for me, well I’m kind of stove up. I was wounded in France. This is a good hospital and I’m doing fine. I have a nice nurse from Houston. I got a fractured pelvis and a few scratches from an explosion. It’s been nearly a month since I got a letter. That’s not so good on morale you know. I’ve been thinking about you though honey. I lost everything except my billfold even the big picture. I still have some of the snap shots. My watch quit. Still have the bracelet you gave me. I got to lay down now honey, talk to you tomorrow maybe. I love you lots and lots and hope to see you some day.Love alwaysEdd  

The watch and bracelet mentioned in the letter, The watch stopped at about 4 minutes past 1pm when the explosion blew him into the water. (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Private David E Hiett watch stopped when the LST hit a mine and he got wounded. The watch and bracelet mentioned in the letter. The watch stopped at about 4 minutes past 1pm June 19, 1944 when the explosion blew him into the water. (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

July 1944

Texas newspaper clipping of his getting wounded while with the 300th.

David E Hiett from England being wounded, newpaper article (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
David E Hiett from England being wounded, newpaper article (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Longview News-Journal (Longview, Texas)16 Jul 1944, SunPage 18
Longview News-Journal (Longview, Texas)16 Jul 1944, SunPage 18 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Research 2019

There is a website that has a page about the Landing Ship Tank LST 523, with the 300th Combat Engineers, more info here and here.  Interesting is the fact that officially declared “Missed in Action”. But as we now know he was rescued and survived this horrible event.

Browns Cafe matchbook (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Camp White APO change adress (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Camp White news clipping (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

August 1944

Loan paper (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

September 1944

David Hiett was sent to the 2nd Armored, 17th Armored Engineer Battalion September 24, 1944 at Geilenkirchen, Germany on the Siegfried Line as a replacement for casualties. He was not fully recoverd and was still walking with a cane.

Group Close-up (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Letter 9.26.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Dear Lucille,Well honey I didn’t get back to my old outfit. This time got got into something real. I have been through France, Belgium and Holland and still going. The rations come regular, but we eat from cans or boxes of course. I haven’t got anything to gripe about just now. It rains lots here same as the other countries. I am proud I got into a good outfit, but sure do miss my old buddies. Every time you hear from me be sure and tell the others as I don’t write much now. Maybe I’ll be getting some mail in a few weeks now that I’ve settled down. You can start sending packages too. So long for now beautiful. Pray for me honey.Love Edd 

October 1944

Letter 10.14.1944 (CourtesyMark Hiett)
Letter 10.14.1944 (CourtesyMark Hiett)

Dearest Darling,I don’t know when this will be mailed but I’m writing cause I got the chance. I’m still up here but right now not doing much so I write. These darn Krauts are still fighting stubbornly. It takes time to win over something like this. I guess everybody back there thinks the war is just about over. Well we don’t think so here they way they throw the lead at us. Maybe it won’t be long now.I got paid this morning and had a hundred bucks sent straight to you. That ought to help our account a little. I wish I could send more. Perhaps later on. I sure don’t need it here.It’s pretty and clear today, the boys in the air are working too. I like to see them come over cause I know they make the Jerries sweat. Don’t worry too much about me honey. Just keep praying for me and I’ll pull through. I do have some beautiful dreams.Yesterday, when they brought the rations around they had Luckies in the green packs. Boy I don’t know if they’re made any different but sure taste better to me.Lets talk about you a little now. About this stuff of you having trouble with an ovary or what ever it is. Baby you better get that fixed up and fast. I sure don’t want anything to happen to you, see. If you let it go too far it may be too late. What have you been doing with your spare time? Why don’t you pick up some kind of hobby? How’s the family been treating you? I’d sure like to get some mail. Maybe I will soon. When have you heard from Tommy? Tell him he’d better write his uncle or I’ll make him sorry some day.So Bill is still home with Verlyne. The poor thing. Tell him he don’t know what he’s missing by not being over here. Lets see this is Oct. I believe you said Nov. was the date for the baby. Well give my regards to them, you and I will catch up someday. You know I don’t think anybody could ask for a sweeter, nicer more prettier wife than you darling. I love you so much, even if the boys here do tell me you’re probably shacking up with some 4F*. Keep the home fires burning and save me a place at the table. So long darling and remember your soldier boy. Be sweet.LoveEdd

* ” 4F” was a government classification, for man who failed physical exam,  physically unable to serve. A lot of those men worked in the industries that supported the war effort, building ships, planes, tanks etc.

Letter 10.20.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Dear Bug,I don’t know what to write today. Maybe I ought to send my love and quit. I could tell you my troubles but won’t. I washed my pants and shirt today. Hope they get dry cause these things I have on are cold. I am writing this letter sitting in a cellar of a house in town. Seems to be the safest place right now. I get so darn mad at those krauts I want to kill them all. I’m sick of war honey and everything with it. Don’t you think for one minute I want to come home before we whip these people though. I don’t guess you understand honey. War is a mean piece of business. It makes a man do funny things.How’d you like to go dancing tonight? Well why don’t you. Gosh I can see myself back there in the school gym trying to dance. Then at Dymple’s house. I never did learn very good. You’ll have to start all over and teach me again honey. I wish I could be there with you all this Christmas. I’ve missed only one so far. Guess this will be two. You can have enough fun for both of us sweetheart. Well it’s almost dark and the planes will be over shortly. The krauts won’t visit us in the daytime only at night. Got to go now beautiful. Be sweet darling and clean that nose.LoveEdd

Letter Oct. 24, 1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

 Dear Lucille,How’s my chicken today? It really rained here a couple of nights ago, (lead). Boy but it was hot. I could tell you lots of experiences I’ve had with the jerries but it’d only make you worry more. Or still maybe it’d give you laugh. Anyway I’ll save it all until I get back. Say beautiful, did you read that article I sent Ma about this outfit? Well if you did you know what army I’m with. Yes I’m with the Engineers but this one’s different. The otherone I was with only built roads and bridges back behind.About all those boxes I’m supposed to be getting. They’ll sure come in handy. I can almost taste that good candy now. I sure hope I get part of them anyway. I got a couple of letters from you yesterday with this address on them. I’ll be expecting one everyday now. So don’t let me down. I got the stamps, but I don’t exactly need them kind. What I want is stationary.Look chicken if you don’t go to a doctor and find out what’s wrong you’re going to be sorry later! Don’t think it’s from drinking coffee either. That’s crazy too. I don’t think you’ve got to worry about the girls over here. When we start pouring lead in the towns they usually move out. Yes I’ve got a good watch but no cigarette lighter. You can send me one if you want, but I don’t need it very bad. I hope you’ve got the hundred bucks I sent by now. I sent back for a fifty dollar money order the other day. As soon as I get it I’ll send it too. Well here’s hoping for more mail and boxes. I sure need the “good luck” signs too. So long sweetheart. Love me lots.LoveEdd          

Letter 10.25.1944
Letter 10.25.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

  Dearest Darling,I just had my breakfast. I should be out there doing something, but here I am writing a funny little woman. You know I haven’t got any more mail since those first two the other day. I’ve been kind of disappointed. Oh well maybe I’ll get one today. Last night while I was standing my turn at guard it began to rain. My thoughts went way back to you and that Ford car I had. Remember the night it went dead on us and we went into the joint there close to the… I’ve forgot the name of all those places along there. Anyway a fellow carried us home in his car after we couldn’t find a phone. Boy it sure was raining that night. We had lots of crazy experiences didn’t we? Well after I get back we’ll try to own a good car.Say did you get those funny pictures of me I sent from Paris? I wish I had a camera now. I could get some good pictures. And have you got the money I sent? Here comes another fifty. Say how about sending me a balance report on our account? If you keep saving, boy, we ought to have enough to start on. I was wondering about those rings I bought you. I guess the dinky little thing is worn out by now. Oh well I can’t worry about things like that now. It takes most of my time ducking, dodging and digging. You should see me dig. Oh baby, I can really go in the ground when I have to.This month is almost gone. Next month is yours and my birthday. I hope you have a nice one and don’t feel too old. Lets see, you’ll be eighteen maybe nineteen right? Ha. I think I’ll be twenty one if I haven’t lost count. After this one maybe we can have the next one together. There’s hardly a night passes darling that I don’t dream about you. I love you my darling. You’re so nice, sweet and beautiful. Don’t forget your prayer sweetheart. Your soldier boy has got to go now. Be sweet honey.LoveEdd

Photos of 17th Engineer David Edd Hiett - Paris December 1944
Photos of 17th Engineer David Edd Hiett – Paris December 1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett) 

Drivers Permit of PFC David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Drivers Permit of PFC David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Drivers Permit of PFC David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Drivers Permit of PFC David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 10.29.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

October 29, 1944Dearest darling, I got a box from you last night and some old letters. The box was sent a long time ago because it was all torn up and had been re-wrapped. Some of the candy was still good. The preserves we’re good to but the cookies were all crumbs. Say where do you get this stinky business. I may have a little odor for the lack of bathing, but you don’t have to tell me about it. Oh yes about you paying the bills as long as it’s your money, I don’t mind. But if you expect me to turn my pay over to you well then you are nuts.  Yes I will give you allowance. Say enough for cold drinks or such. Ha. You know I think you’re really going to be a problem. How much money we got in the bank now. Maybe I ought to check up on you. Maybe I won’t to be fit to cuddle up to after the war. I know a lady in Washington who said front line troops weren’t fit to associate in public. We get pretty mean here, but a girl can make us as tame as lambs. I wish I could tell you some of the things I’ve done and seen. Boy what experiences I have had that I never dreamed about three or four years ago.

I just heard someone say today is Sunday. I can’t keep up with the days or time anymore. I just live from day to day hoping and praying none of those shells or bombs have my number. Oh darling you have no idea how a person sweats here. I hope we soon make a big Drive right through and end it all. Boy I sure hate to live in this country. These towns are all completely wrecked. I don’t know why I write you about this over here. It is better you didn’t know anything about it. I should just write the good things but we must face the facts I guess. It is getting mighty cold here. It has snowed on some of the troops. I hate to think about going through winter here. Those damn krauts must suffer lots more than us because baby we throw lots more than twice as much stuff at them as they do us. Boy you should see our planes work on them. Well they have a few left too. How are all the folks around there? I wish I would hear from some of the pretty sisters and sisters-in-law. What is Roy doing these days? Has he grown any? Tell him that if I have had him here I make a man out of him. Ha, no this is too dangerous for men with a family. Take me for an instance, no one depends on me for a living.

See what I mean. You can tell all those 4Fs back there that old Edd is gonna expect a lot out of them when I get back. I’m fighting for all of you folks. Come to think of it, I am the only one out of the two families over here. I hope it won’t be many months before I am with you again. Keep yourself sweet and nice, for your soldier who is fighting for the good things in life.  Good-bye my darling.
Love Edd.

Letter 10.30.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

October 30GermanyDearest darling, I got another letter from you last night. This one was a new one. Boy those things are morale builders. I didn’t know you were sick. I bet anything you have just run yourself down. You know honey you always did try to do too much. You gotta take care of that beautiful carcass so I can have some fun with it someday. I don’t think that was the right kind of medicine for you to take. Now, if it had been me well it would have been right. You said something about old letters. Do you still have all the mail I wrote you? That’s bad. Now suppose I changed my mind about you. Those darn letters would have me soaked. Maybe you ought you get rid of them. I know you too well to say that. You wouldn’t turn loose of those things for hide nor money. I wish I could have kept some of the ones you wrote me. Then when we are old and grey we could compare them. What do you mean my letters are like me? I’m not that good at this I know. Look honey, don’t be so nervous. If my number is called, then my time is up. It just can’t be helped, and there’s no need worry and be nervous. Sure sometimes I get afraid. Afraid as all hell. Most of us do at times. But we just sweat it out and forget it. I don’t think I will be home Christmas, but someday. I like for you to go see my mother. Every letter I get from her, she always says something about how sweet and nice you are. She said I come first then you. How is my dad? No one ever tells me the truth about his condition. I wish I could help some way. Maybe, I can a little anyway. It sure was a beautiful night last night, the Moon was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Made me think of Christmas. But today all cloudy again and cold as ever. I could use some of that cuddling and crooning you mentioned to. You’re so sweet and beautiful. Well my love one I am out of bull. Why don’t you clean that nose. How about some good candy. Oh yes, I could use a sweater. So long honey.

Love Edd.

November 1944

Letter 11.1.1944 (Courtesy Mark HIett)
Letter 11.1.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

November 1, 1944GermanyDear Lucille,I sure have been receiving some nice compliments on you from your friends and neighbors. You sure must have the wool pulled over somebody’s eyes. No kidding honey, the folks sure think a lot of you. You may think I’m crazy but I want to tell you sometimes I even forget how you look, even my sisters. Then I hunt up some pictures and try to satisfy myself. It’s strange what war can do to a person. I got a new shirt the other day. Yesterday I was sewing my patch on. I was thinking how nice it would be to have you do that. Say did you ever see one of our patches? It’s shaped like this. The colors are red, gold and blue. In the center is a tank and a streak of lightening. It’s very pretty. We are getting showers now. Only a few can go at a time but we all get one finally.Mable sent me a birthday greetings. Sure was nice. It was real long. When I began to unroll it the boys asked what I had. They thought it was a book or something. I didn’t get a letter from you yesterday. You had better write me cause mail comes in pretty regular around here and I can tell if you were fibbing about writing everyday. I’ve been writing a little more than usual myself. The reason is because I’ve had time. I always write when I got time. Only thing is I just don’t know nothing to say. I guess I tell you the same old thing over and over. It’s hard to find something to talk about. You could read one of my letters to Dymple or some of them and everybody’s else would be almost the same. Try it sometime.Next time you see Iris tell her to tell Robert to write me or get his address and send to me. I’d sure like to hear from some of those boys. I wrote Gibson but he never answered. I thought maybe he’d been hurt or something. Don’t forget the address now. I’ve only found one boy from Texas here. Most of the boys call me Tex. Some day I’m going back to that dear old place. Say have you picked a house for us to live in yet? You’ve done most everything else. I sure hope I can get back on at the shops. How do you think you’d like Marshall? Personally I don’t like that town but if I get to work there I’m OK. Well it may be a long time before we can make any plans. Now you just keep yourself young and beautiful and let me do the aging. Don’t work too hard and be sweet.LoveEdd  

Letter 11.2.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Nov. 2, 1944Germany Dear Lucille,I really had a surprise yesterday. I got so much mail it took me till this morning to finish reading it. There were two packages from Mama also. I got three pictures of the prettiest and sweetest girl I know. Yes I think my blood pressure did go up a little on one of them. From the way your letter sounded there must have been more. Most of the mail was written in June. I’ll get more yet. You sure must have been scared for me around D-Day, and I didn’t land until the nineteenth. At least we tried to land. I don’t know how to say it honey about the deal here. I will say I’ve seen action here. Maybe that will go through.Getting back to the pictures. The boys said for you to quit sending me those things. It makes their blood pressure go way up. “I don’t see how a guy like you got a gal like that” said one fellow. No kidding honey you’re tops. I’ll try to keep these in a dry place. All my old pictures are blurred from being wet you know. Oh yeah, speaking of pictures, a war correspondent came through yesterday and took some pictures. He got one of me and a couple other guys behind a gun. He said they may be printed in our home town newspaper, I doubt it though. You can be on the look out for it. Wouldn’t mind seeing it myself. Not much to write about today. I could write a book on my love to you but won’t. Keep smiling. Love your soldier.LoveEdd

Letter 11.5.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 11.5.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Nov. 5, 1944Germany Dearest Darling,This mail situation is getting serious. I haven’t had a letter from you in several days. They were coming pretty regular, but suddenly stopped. You said in one of your letters that you had a feeling something was fixing to happen. Well I’ve got that feeling. Where I am a lot of things could happen. Maybe it’s for the better this time. The same things are happening now that happened just before the last war ended. I don’t think this one is quite ready for that though. I suppose the news looks awful good to you folks back there. It’s not bad here, but we know the Jerries are still fighting stubbornly. I had an awful headache last night. Something I never had in civil life. I took six aspirins before I could go to sleep. Just about the time I did go to sleeping good, I was awaken to pull my turn at guard. Well after that I finally got back to sleep. While I was on guard I watched our planes bomb hell out of a town not far from here. The sky was lit with flares and ack ack, just like the fireworks you used to see at Christmas. Say have you got the Christmas feeling yet? No, I guess it’s a little early for that. Well anyway here’s forty bucks you can buy presents with and put my and your name on them. I guess anything could happen between now and then but we can start preparing don’t you think? At one time I thought I’d be home by the new year. I don’t think so anymore. If I get plenty of packages I’ll be satisfied. Say do you ever hear from Tommy? I’d sure like to hear from that twerp. I guess he has outgrown both of us by now. Say would you like to have a souvenir from here? Well if you just mention something I’ll try and get it. I find lots of stuff when we take a town, but we aren’t supposed to send the stuff. Maybe a few small items. Here’s a card I picked up. The scene is very touching I think. How’s all the friends and neighbors? Give my love to them and tell your Ma I still think of her. Say why don’t you give me some news of Verlyne? What’s Bill doing now? So Red has gotten ahead of us. Way ahead. How does he expect to support a wife and baby? I think I could if I had the chance. How many did you say you wanted? I hope you get this letter and the stuff in it. I got to try and get some chow now, it’s almost twelve. So long Darling.LoveEdd         

Letter 11.7.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 11.7.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Nov. 7,1944Germany Dear Lucille,I got a couple of letters from you yesterday. One of them kind of put me to wondering. On the other hand they were well appreciated.I dropped my pen and now it won’t hardly write. We just had a little excitement so I had to duck. I’ll be so darn proud when this thing is over and I don’t have to be ducking and dodging. I’m gonna need lots of help to carry on. The help of God. So you kind of liked the pictures. Those were nothing compared to the way I look now. You’re sure gonna have a job on your hands straightening me out, if I ever get back. I think it’ll take months to get clean. I think I could eat coconut pie anytime. Say I told you once you don’t have to worry about the girls. I know what they’re made of so I keep clear of them. I’m having hell writing this, every time I start to write, something always happens. I got a shot of some kind today. It made my arm a little sore. Guess it’ll do me good though. How’s your side or whatever ails you? Look honey you’d better take care of yourself. Esther is alright by now I guess. Say did you know I had a birthday a couple days ago? Guess I’m all grown up now.I hope that true love of yours hold out darling, maybe someday I’ll be home. So long for now my darling. Love me lots. Here’s a shoulder patch we wear.Love alwaysEdd         

Letter 11.14.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 11.14.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Nov. 14, 1944Germany3 O’clock PM Dearest Darling,I just got the stationary you sent me so guess I’d better write you. I got three awful sweet letters from you yesterday. One of them came in nine days. You said you’d like to ask me some questions. Start shooting honey, I’ll answer all I can.So Verlyne had a boy, the lucky thing. I’d bet you’d spoil him myself. When we have one don’t you think for one minute that you’re gonna spoil it. My kids have gotta be smart and well trained. Say maybe you will get a certain Engineer home by Christmas… next. We can’t quit the job now honey, if we did it would be another war for our kids. It’s really raining and cold here. Been this way for several days. Yes I’m in a dry place right now. Wish I could tell you how we work. It’s quite different from the old outfit. I like it much better. About doing something for me. Don’t worry honey, there will be plenty for you to do when I get home. Just keep writing and send packages and I’m satisfied. Say what kind of country do you think this is? Jewelry; you know the krauts wouldn’t leave that stuff behind. My bracelet is almost worn into. I think I’d better send it. You liked those pictures I sent, huh? If I had a camera I could send you some real good pictures. Maybe even in my fighting outfit. Say I sent some Christmas cards last night. Only got six. Hope you all like them. It’s only a few days till your birthday. Guess you’ll have to take a rain check from me. You’re very nice and sweet honey and I’ll always love you. So long.Four sheets is all I can write of this the directions said.LoveEdd         

Letter 11.27.1944 (Courtesy Mark HIett)
Letter 11.27.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

November 27,1944Germany Dearest Lucille,I was surprised last night and got 2 letters from you. One was from June and had 2 pictures in it. I do not know about you but those were the first letters I had gotten in 3 weeks. I have not written because time does not permit. I did get a chance to send some Christmas cards. Right now I am getting a couple of days rest. We cannot fight all the time with out a little rest. Say, when do the people there think the war will be over? I do not know myself but I hope it will not be long. I was only kidding about having babies. I like them fine. If I had not been such a fool maybe we would have one now. I guess we live and learn though. I have had some pretty close calls since I  have been here. A while back I made an attack with the infantry. Boy was that a hot job. I had to blow a gap through a minefield so they could go through. Now do you get the idea as to what I do? Sorry if I have upset you. It may be cut out anyway. You never have asked me questions, I sure have a hard time writing when you do not ask me something. My pen got hit with shrapnel and there was not much left. I borrowed this one. I still have my watch and cigarette lighter. About this souvenir stuff. I do not want to make fun of anybody, but the stuff is no good. Any of it you could buy twice as cheap back there. We are not supposed to send this stuff from here anyway. It is all right back in France. Maybe I will send some junk later on. Still love me? I hope. Oh yes, you had better get that side taken care of, see? It may go hard on you when I get back, If I do. The boys all liked your pictures but said you were probably going out with some 4F by now. I do not think so. I have got to go now. I love you till it hurts darling, so be good.Love,Edd     Told by Mark Hiett, son of David E Hiett:   My dad was the man who had to blow the gap through the mine field in Waurichem with bangalore torpedoes and I believe may have been one of the men who pulled Sgt. Bacle out of the mine field after he was wounded. He told me had to push bangalores through the minefield under fire but the fuses he had would not work.   On your web site I was reading about Sgt Peter Bacle receiving the DSC posthumously for rescuing casualties from a minefield under fire November 16, 1944. It says the 3rd platoon of Co C blew a gap through a mine field with bangalore torpedoes so the infantry could get through and in the confusion many men cut the corner of the path and tripped mines. I am convinced my dad was a part of this action. His letter home on November 27, 1944 he writes he had made an attack with the infantry and had to blow a gap through a minefield so they could go through and what a “hot job” it was meaning intense combat. The story I remember him telling was he and a buddy had to push bangalores through the minefield under fire but the fuses he had would not work. He said the Lt. was yelling at them to fix it, people were dying, when someone else got them to blow. The men started going through the gap but some stepped on mines. He said there was one man badly wounded with his leg gone when a second man went to him and in trying to rescue him, he tripped a mine blowing his leg and groin off, killing the first man. At that point he and his buddy went and got the second man out and took him to the aid station. A doctor there told them to set the man off to the side and when my dad pressed the doctor to do something he was told there was nothing they could do for him, the damage was too severe and of course he later died. I think that man might have been Sgt Bacle. His recollection was when the second man got to the wounded man he was going to straddle him on his hands and knees and crawl out with the wounded man holding the back of his neck when his knee hit a mine.   (Read more here about the heroic action of Sergeant Peter Bacle)  

David E. (Edd) Hiett of C Company, Newspaper November 1944 Palenberg, Germany
David E. (Edd) Hiett of C Company, Newspaper November 1944 Palenberg, Germany. “Beside wreckage of dwelling in Palenber, Germany, three Yanks man 37mm anti-tank gun. L t R. : Pvt David E Heitt, Sergt Vincent J Vozza and Pvt. Mondovano of the Bronx. 

Told by Mark Hiett, son of David E Hiett:

Newspaper clipping from November 1944 in Palenberg, Germany. My father David E. (Edd) Hiett of C Company, 17th Armored Engineers, 2nd Armored Division is on the left. They pulled this anti-tank gun behind their halftrack but it was useless against German tanks. He said the shells bounced off like tennis balls. It was left beside the road at one point, because of a long drive. (That could be the 100 mile drive from the Ruhr to Belgium for the Battle of the Bulge.)

December 1944

Letter 12.2.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

  Dear Lucille,Sure was proud to hear you got the first part of the money I sent. I was sweating it out. The two letters were awful sweet. I’ve read them over and over. I’ll be proud also when I can lay down at night and sleep without being afraid something will happen. I don’t see how a person can live through it, but we do, at least some of us do. I hope that comes true about me coming home the last of January. But right now the situation looks very doubtful. I love you my beautiful darling and always will. I need you prayers, everyone’s prayers darling and I think I’ll come home someday safely. Good night my darling, keep smiling and love me lots.LoveYour Soldier Edd  

December 4, 1944 on furlough to Paris

Edd Hiett in Paris September 1944. The letter was written December 4, 1944 and it mentions a general honoring his platoon for knocking out 2 Tiger Tanks, clearing a lot of mines and him helping take 14 prisoners. He says “I’m telling you this because I may not want to talk about it after I get home.” (by MarkHiett, photo Courtesy Mark Hiett)
The letter was written December 4, 1944 and it mentions a general honoring his platoon for knocking out 2 Tiger Tanks, clearing a lot of mines and him helping take 14 prisoners. He says “I’m telling you this because I may not want to talk about it after I get home.” (Text by MarkHiett, photo Courtesy Mark Hiett)

    December 4,1944 Germany   Dearest Darling, We were honored today by a general for the job done on the last drive. Our Lieutenant got a Bronze Star. When I say we, I mean this platoon of 40 approximately. We knocked out 2 tanks and cleared lots of mines. The drive had just started when 14 Krauts gave up, so me and another guy took them to the rear. I’m telling you this stuff now because I may not want to talk about it after I get home. Say, how is every little thing back there? Have you been chased by any more soldiers lately? We seldom see a civilian here. The boys said they were only kidding about you going out. Will you accept mine and their apologies? We are all really a swell bunch of fellows. Right now most of them are cleaning guns, knives or writing letters. You know some of these boys have 2 year old kids they have never seen. Most of them were in Africa and Sicily. A man likes to watch his kid grow up not just see him after he is already a big boy or girl. We have really got a hot piano player. They just drug one up and boy oh boy have we got hot music. We are in a town right now. That is the way we fight here, from one town to another. The civilians leave before we get there. There I go again. It sure is bad here today, raining and sleeting and cold as ice. I read in a paper where a cold wave had swept the States. Did it reach you all? You better wrap up good and keep warm. Have you spoiled Verlyne’s baby yet? You had better not start that stuff. The mail just came in. I had a letter from Ma, but none from you. She sent me one of Rachel’s brothers address. Guess I had better write him. I got a couple of letters from you day before yesterday. Here’s hoping I get one tomorrow. I had better write some of the family now. Take care of that beautiful body and do not do anything you will regret. So long baby. Love, Your Soldier Edd

December 11, 1944 while PFC David Edd Hiett is on furlough

Letter 12.11.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 12.11.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

December 11, 1944 Monday Germany

Dear Lucille,

We, “the boys and I,” I have traveled all over the world, and have seen a lot of beautiful women!  But after Dave show us a picture of you, we just couldn’t resist writing you and sing our praise. Why you’re not either a Powers Model or a Hollywood Starlet, is beyond us!  Every time we request to take a glimpse  at your picture, our morale sours to new heights. You do to us what “Sinatra” does to the women!! We are all now firmly convinced that the most beautiful women in the world come from Texas. And the most beautiful from all from Longview!

Dear lovely, adorable, gorgeous, beautiful lady, would you be kind enough to make a bunch of humble, battle scarred veterans, very, very happy? How?Just by sending us a large photo of yourself “preferably in a  bathing suit” so that we can elect you the the Pin-Up Girl of the famous “Fighting 17th Engineers”.
You don’t know how much you would be helping our morale and the war effort! We will hang your picture on the wall and have your name in gold letters beneath it. Reading:  “Lucille Scharff, Our Pin-Up girl of 1945!” 

Now Dave doesn’t know anything about this, but darn sure he would approve and be proud. It certainly would be a wonderful surprise for him. I hope you’re not worrying too much about Dave because we are taking good care of him for you!

 With our deepest admiration we are yours, Thomas Barnhart. The fellows of 17th Armd Eng Comp C. 

This could have been the foto she sended: 

Lucille Alyne Scharff (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Lucille Alyne Scharff Hiett. The little pouch of photos PFC David E Hiett carried during the war that were so popular in the 3rd squad of the 17th Engineers, Company C. (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Lucille Alyne Scharff Hiett. The little pouch of photos PFC David E Hiett carried during the war that were so popular in the 3rd squad of the 17th Engineers, Company C. (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Lucille Alyne Scharff Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

December 1944, The squad answers Lucille Schraff, the girlfriend of David Edd Hiett

December 1944, Letter as an answer to Lucille Schraff, girlfriend of David Edd Hiett (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Hello Lucille,

Tex or rather Edd gave me a letter of Thanks that you wrote. When I gave it to him to read he said that he had already read it. I asked him if he knew what “personal” meant and he said that he just wanted to know what was going on.  If you are are wondering how is getting along I wouldn’t worry too much about him as we try to take good care of him. He is about the youngest in our squad and so we call him “the baby”. He takes it pretty well though. You will have to excuse the errors as I had the end of one finger hurt in a softball game today and it seems to be in the way.  Edd didn’t hardley know what to make of it when they told him that they had written to you, while he was on a pass.  Nobody told him about for quite some after they had written. I think that he was a little worried about it. I have my say so, so I will close, somebody else has something to say,
good luck John R. 

This comes from Edd bedpartner.

The name is Mike and I am old enough to be his dad. You see with me taking good care of him you have nothing to worry about. You have become the favourite topic of conversation in this squad and no kidding it makes very good talking. Tonight we were looking all over the pictures that Tex’s has and it is quite an array of looks. 
He certainly is a lucky boy to have someone like you waiting. I will continue to take very good care of him for you and keep a good eye on him. This has been my little say for this time so I will close and wish you the very best of luck and help. Good luck Mike Dugan.

My dear Lucille,

After seeing your beautiful picture I can say is Woof Woof!!! I can’t figure out how all those Hollywood scouts ever missed you! Your lips look like a delicious wine I am now sipping! Hic! Hic! Your hair looks like silver dress gold, your eyes like limpid pools of Moonlight. Your face is like an angel’s that wandered Out of Heaven, and your form, need I say that The Vinus de Milo has nothing on you. And my dear ladyif I wasn’t already married, I would seriously consider a torrid correspondence. This German Rhine wine really has a wonderful effect! Just ask Edd?

Best wishes Earl

Dear bug,
I don’t know how you are going to but I told the guys you would.The one above is the guy that wrote the first letter you got and he isn’t in the medical. He just put that name on it. All of the squad didn’t write this time. There are twelve of us. And try to answer this. By now love Edd.

I had nothing to do with this. They just handed it to me to mail. Some buddies eh? They are all well bunchs of fellows,  Love Edd.

XIX Corps Recreation Area Valkenburg December 10, 1944 for PFC David Edd Hiett (Mark Hiett)
XIX Corps Recreation Area Valkenburg December 10, 1944, at Hotel Franssen for PFC David Edd Hiett (Mark Hiett)
Original photo of Hotel Franssen in the Thirties. (Source: unknown) 
Dutch postcard of the historic town Valkenburg in Holland sended home by PFC David Edd Hiett (Mark Hiett)

Letter 12.8.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

  Dec. 8, 1944Germany Dearest Darling,How’s your fat today? The sun is shining this morning. We could sure use lots of that stuff. Gives us a better chance at Jerry. What have you been doing lately? Have you been hearing from me? I sure haven’t heard much out of you. In fact none of the fellows have gotten much mail lately. Maybe we’ll get loads of it pretty soon.How much do you weigh now? I feel like I’ve lost a little. I’m getting plenty to eat though. Guess I weigh around one sixty or more. Remember when I said I got sick when I first got here? Now can’t you figure out what made me? What would you do the first time you saw a lot of stiffs all around? Now you got me talking about it again.I sent a box of stuff to you the other day. You may get it and you may not. I put my bracelet in there cause it was just about worn out and I didn’t want to lose it. If you ever get that box you’ll find some of it old antique. If this one gets to you I’ll try to send some more. How’s all the folks? Seen my Ma lately? Every letter I get from her she mentions you. Has anyone else had babies lately? I guess you and I are really getting behind. I would really enjoy some real life again. You get everything ready and maybe before another year goes by I’ll be with you. Sometimes I have my doubts though. Oh well someday it’ll be over and the ones that live through it can enjoy the profits. When has Iris heard from Robert? I read a piece in the paper about that outfit. I think they are seeing some action also.Say chick you can’t make me wash no dishes. That’ll be your job. Boy I bet we’re sure gonna have fun. You’ll have to teach me the ways of civilian life though. I’d better quit now. So long and be sweet. Love Edd        

Letter 12.15.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

  Hello Darling,The ground is froze pretty solid this morning so the mud isn’t quite so bad, except for the cold. Say you were right about that article in the paper. But baby just because we do get written up in the paper is no sign it’s easy here. When I look back on some of the things I’ve done, I don’t see how I pulled through. You must realize darling that I am always in danger.What the matter with everybody back there? I’m only getting mail from you and Ma. I can’t explain how nice it is to get mail. One can kind of take his mind off his gun and krauts for a minute with a letter. I’m sorry baby if I’ve said too much but everyone seems to be aggravated today. Things just don’t seem to be working out right. I don’t mean here. We can still push the enemy slow of course, but the way people are doing back home. Yes we know whats happening. It’s just the idea that we are fighting this war and what do the people think of us? Not a damn thing. We’ll remember it too.So much for griping. The boys have been teasing me and wanting to write you. They say you make a nice pin-up girl. How’d you like that? If you would like for them to write you put a note in my next letter to them. You are quite a gal. I’ve got lots of pictures of you already but the guys are crazy as I am about them so I guess you’ll have to keep sending them. I got to get back on the job now. Here’s hoping I’ll be home for next Christmas. Loving you always. Send me some candy and cookies.Love your SoldierEdd        

Letter 12.18.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

Dec. 18, 1944 Germany   Hello Darling,Yes I’m still here. Each day I get a little more lonely. Look honey, I don’t like to talk about this business but a man has slim chances of coming out of this. We were bombed last night. The planes came back again this morning but were beaten off. All night night they came. I didn’t know how to pray before I came here, but let me tell you I know now. The krauts are putting up a stiff fight now. It may take a long time to beat them. We’ll just have to have faith and hope for the best. I got lots of mail from you yesterday. It was very nice and sweet. Oh yes I got the lock of hair too. Funny you never mentioned that. Have you got the last money order of forty bucks yet? I hope so. Yes I hope and pray that I’ll get to help you spend it someday. I’m glad to hear that everyone is doing fine. Guess my health is OK. So far I haven’t been sick enough to quit. You seem to be getting awful anxious to marry and start having babies. Let’s kind of let that ride until this thing is finished. I’m having an awful hard time writing this. If it isn’t planes it’s shells, I must hurry.So long now darling.LoveEdd  

Letter 12.29.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)
Letter 12.29.1944 (Courtesy Mark Hiett)

  Dec.29Belgium Dear Darling,I finally got a chance to write you again. I suppose you have read all about it by now. Well I think the krauts have gone a little too far this time. Everything is running fine. It is really cold here. The ground is froze all the time. I’ve never suffered such cold. I guess you have been kind of worried about me huh? I have gone this far, maybe I can finish it now. Sometimes I even sleep in the homes with civilians. The people here are glad to have us. In fact I’m sitting in the kitchen of a jolly old lady right now. The language is very hard but I’ve caught on to a little. I haven’t had a letter or package in a long time now. Hope to get some soon. Would you think it’s possible to have nice dreams about home here? Well I do. Last night I was getting a little shut eye and had a nice sweet dream of you only to wake up with snow and ice on my bed roll. I’ll always love you honey. I hope I can make it up to you someday for what you’ve missed. Tell everyone you heard from me and give my regards to all. I’m still a soldier and must fight on. Send me coffee, sausage or such. Be sweet my love.LoveEdd