Walter E. Hughes
We were told it was a French Army Barracks, a POW camp, even an estate. All as I could think of, it's indoors with a roof on that should keep the rain out. (We found out later the roof was not much for protection from the elements). We didn't care; we could sleep in beds rather than a hole in the ground. And the promise of passes to Paris or nearby Rheims were circulating all through the camp. Everything else was secondary. After settling in we did receive passes, mostly to Rheims. The Cathedral was beautiful and although I was not what some people ould call at the time overly religious, I spent some time praying and thanking God for keeping me safe that done with several of my buddies we located what the French considered a Nightclub. They had a small orchestra whose only American song I could make out was, “San Francisco open your golden gates!” But the Champagne, (if you could call it that) was plentiful. Needless to say that first night on the town was almost the last one for the 504. For the rest of the time we spent at Sissone, It w as three MP'S to every two troopers on pass? But with new replacements and the new C-46 planes we were kept busy. I got acquainted with a replacement from an OSS unit that had disbanded. He was a radio operator and Sgt Davis paired him off with me. His name was Jack Kaminitzer. He had escaped from a German concentration camp and fled to the US where he enlisted in the Army. As he spoke fluent German he wound up with the OSS. His Story would fill a good size Book. I lost track of him after the War u ntil about 1990 I came across his son who told me he had passed away a year or so before. I gave his son some pictures I had of Jack. I was told I could figure the next group to go to Paris, I would be in. That was December 15 th. It was not to be, on December 17 th we were alerted that a major German Offensive was underway in Belgium and that we would be rushed in to stem their advance. I would eventually see Paris, much later from the window of the 48 th General Hospital, thanks to the bitter cold and snow of the Ardennes. We boarded huge Army trucks and headed for what we would find out later was the “Battle of the Bulge” From which many of us on those trucks would not be coming back from. But we were ready for what ever was to be.
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