Co. K, 335th Infantry, 84th Division Railsplitters
[ Post a Response | Co. K, 335th Infantry, 84th Division Railsplitters ]
Birk, Gereonsweiler, Lindern, Marche-en-Femenne, Rochefort, Bure, Grupont, Tellin, Chanly, Givet, Devantave, Ourthe, Roer, Hoven, Krefeld, Rhine, Weser, Eisbergen, Hannover, Restorf-Pevestorf, Elbe: LEST WE FORGET!
Re: Searching for William R.Via
I was not a personal friend of S/Sgt. Via mainly because he was in a different platoon. Another factor was that he was already an NCO when I was assigned to the company on April 1, 1944 along with 2800 men from the Army's Specialized Training Program (ASTP), which was a college program designed to bring us a degree, officers candidate school and a commission at the end of two concentrated years of study including summers and double class loads. That program was discontinued by the Army after most of us had finished just half of it. So, when we got to Camp Claiborne we were a pretty unhappy bunch and didn't want much to do with any officers or NCOs for a time or even the enlisted men whom we called the "old guys" because they had already been training, many of them, for a couple of years. All of the NCO jobs had been filled from their ranks and we were coming in as buck privates after the Army's promises and two years of extremely difficult college study. We were resentful and it was not a happy few weeks. Before long, though, the old guys knocked the chips off our shoulders and we faced up to the realities of our situation.
My memory of S/Sgt. Via is that he gave the appearance of an unusually quiet and thoughtful person. Some saw him as standoffish. However, my view is that he was simply not a glad-hander or happy-go-lucky-fellow like some others. That is, he didn't make friends easily. I don't really remember who his friends were, mainly I guess because I did not know him that well. I don't remember the nickname Buster. However, it would not be unusual if it didn't carry over into military service. I know that mine didn't.
Later on as I got to know him and the company better I simply considered him a serious-minded fellow (I kinda admired him for that quality, I think) and a competent NCO.
After you read the account of the incident leading to his losing his T/Sgt stripes you may want to ask more about his personality and my view of it and the incident. It is hard to explain until you have more information about the company and the battle circumstances at the time.
Thank you very much for your interest in "Dear Captain, et al." I think it will answer many of your questions about his personality and that of others with whom he was associated.
Enjoy the book and please keep in touch.
This board is dedicated to the memory of CAPTAIN LEONARD REED CARPENTER, Company Commander, November 19, 1944 - March 27, 1945.
BOARD HOST: Allan W. Howerton (E-mail: Allanhowerton@aol.com)