Hellcat News (Garnet Valley, Pa.), Vol. 66, No. 1, Ed. 1, September 2012 Page: 3 of 28
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56th AIB (continued from page 1)
The third episode of Carroll F. Kane’s narrative follows:
The first two weeks we were there the Division was in the
field on a problem. All of the infantry replacements were left
in camp and given a quick two-week refresher basic training
course. Many of us, myself included, had not had any infantry
training. At the end of the two weeks the rest of the Division
returned to camp and we joined our squads. Initially I was
assigned to a rifle squad in the second platoon of C Company
of the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion. The first time we went
into the field I was ordered to go in the Company Command
half-track and operate the radio. When we returned to camp
I returned to my squad. This continued for the next several
times we went into the field. One day while we were in the
field the First Sergeant was making out a list of men to be
promoted to Private First Class. He asked me what rank I was.
I told him I was a private. He said, consider myself a Private
First Class and added me to the list. Shortly after this, I was
transferred from the rifle squad to the Headquarters section.
The Communications Sergeant was a fellow named
Carroll Moyer. He was a great guy and I enjoyed working
for him. Carroll was in charge of all maps, radios and
telephone equipment. He also was in charge of the personnel
in Headquarters Section. When we first joined the Company,
the Company Commander was Captain Zapitz, who was not
very well liked. His Executive Officer, Lt. David Fairbairn,
was very popular.
A few weeks after the basic training period was over we
were in camp after supper and there was an explosion in one
of the huts. Someone had picked up an unexploded 37mm
shell when he was on the mortar range and was showing it
around in the hut after supper. He dropped it on the windowsill
and it went off. He lost his hand and several other fellows
were hurt. One of my friends from Sacramento and El Paso,
Don Hale, was wounded in the chest. When everything had
been taken care of, those injured taken to the hospital, etc., Lt.
Fairbairn held an assembly in front of the orderly room. He
told us what had happened and ordered us to return to our huts
and collect any and all items such as dummy ammo, empty
brass, blank cartridges, etc., put them in a helmet and place it
in the company street. He would have all of it collected and
disposed of. He said there would be a showdown inspection
the next morning and God help anyone that was found with
any of the above items.
A few months after we joined the company, Captain Zapitz
was moved up to the Battalion Staff and Lt. Fairbairn became
Company Commander. Everyone was happy about this. I
became Lt. Fairbairn’s radio operator. When we were in the
field I either operated the radio in the CP3 half-track or carried
the SCR-509 radio and followed him when we were running
an attack problem. After a few months, whenever there was a
communications problem, Lt. Fairbairn just hollered “Carroll”
and he did not care which of us answered. I enjoyed working
for him very much.
Lt. Fairbairn was often in trouble with the Battalion
Commander, Lt. Col. Ingram. This usually was because he
was sticking up for his men. For example, one day we were
on a field problem after being in the field for about a week.
This day we were running a problem of tank infantry attack.
We moved off in attack following the tanks. It was a very hot
September 2012 HELLCAT NEWS
The Council reminds all “that no activity shall be authorized which
would conflict with the annual reunion date.”
67th ANNUAL NATIONAL REUNION
July 31-August 4, 2013
St. Louis, Missouri
More information will be coming in the following months.
day and we had a hard time keeping up with the tanks. Each
time we reached a phase line and caught up with the tanks
they would move out again so we never got a chance to rest.
Finally we caught up to the tanks and they did not move out.
Standard operating procedure when we stopped was to dig
a foxhole. One of my friends decided that he was too tired
to dig. He lay down under a tree, used his musette bag as a
pillow and pulled his helmet over his head.
As luck would have it the Battalion Commander drove
up at about the time he was getting comfortable. He stopped
his jeep and called for the squad leader, platoon sergeant,
platoon leader and the company commander. When they were
all assembled the Colonel ordered that the squad leader be
busted to private for allowing one of his men to go to sleep.
Lt. Fairbairn told the Colonel to go to hell. He said that the
sergeant was too good a noncom to be busted for this incident.
He told the Colonel that he would take care of it with company
punishment. No one was busted, but Lt. Fairbairn paid a fine
for insubordination. My friend was restricted to the company
area for a week and had to dig a few latrines. The squad leader
was restricted to the area. As we were in the field this did not
amount to anything as all of us were restricted to the area.
During the summer of 1944 we had a Division test to
determine whether we were ready to go overseas. This was
to be a one-week field problem against the 99th Infantry
Division. We left camp early in the afternoon and drove to
the area of the test. We had hardly arrived when we received
a radio message ordering us back to camp. All of the vehicles
of the division except the self-propelled guns drove back to
camp. When we arrived we were ordered to GI4 the camp.
It seems that some inspection team from Fourth Army
Headquarters had inspected the camp and found a piece of
paper on a bunk. After cleaning up the camp we returned to
the field and continued the test. We failed this test and were
subject to additional training for a few weeks.
Following the test, I received a ten-day furlough. I took
the bus from Abilene to Amarillo. From Amarillo I took the
Burlington Zephyr to Denver. The train was very crowded and
I had to stand most of the way. Mom and my brother Rich
met me in Denver and we drove home. Mrs. Feigins was with
them. I was driving when we left Denver. It was after dark and
I had been up for a long time. Mrs. Feigens was in the front
seat with me. Sometime after we left Denver I fell asleep at
the wheel. Mrs. Feigins hollered as I drifted off the road. I
awoke and stopped the car. No damage had been done, but I
did not drive any more on the way home.
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Twelfth Armored Division Association (U.S.). Hellcat News (Garnet Valley, Pa.), Vol. 66, No. 1, Ed. 1, September 2012, newspaper, September 2012; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth597660/m1/3/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting The 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum.