Hal Silverman, 36th Infantry Division, 36th Cavalry Recon
I wrote to Hal after seeing his post in our Guestbook. He said that he served with the 36th Cavalry Recon Troop, 36th Infantry Division and they saw all nine campaigns and five invasions. He said he is hoping to make the 60th Anniversary at Anzio this year (2005). He said they also served with 6th Corps for quite a while.
Received your letter today and was delighted to hear from you. In response to your query on how I came upon your site I think it was through Veterans.com although don't quote me.
I also tuned in (at your letter) the information that Bennett Palmer wrote to you. I'm well familiar with his regiment. I was with the 36th Cavalry Recon. Troop which was a small detachment of 3 line platoons plus HQs. A platoon was attached to a regiment, hence 3 platoons, 3 regiments. We rotated regiments every so often. Our main job was to go on patrols prior to any attacks and accompany the lead infantry company during an attack. Being Cavalry we never qualified for the Combat Infantry Badge even though we had over 135% replacements (wounded, killed, & MIA).
Insofar as my own military history it's as follows:
1...enlisted regular Army......1939
2...After horsemanship school Ft. Riley sent to Ft. McIntosh (Loredo, Tx.) 125th Cav,Sq.
3...1942..we got rid of the horses -- (mechanized) was sent to the 36th Cav Recon Troop
4...36th formed a special company to accompany the forces staging for the North African
invasion (assigned to the 1st Armored Div)
5...hostilities end in May 43 prepared to go with the1st Inf. Div on the Sicilian invasion. After Sicily we returned to North Africa to the 36th and on to Salerno.
6...the rest is like Bennett's story.
1 Silver Star - 4 Purple Hearts - 1 Bronze Star w/V.- 5 invasions - 9 campaigns
That's my story. Hope this tells you a little about the forgotten front. Till next time.
The very best to you, your Texas Cousin
Marion's Note: This was in my response to his first letter. I was not sure if his unit was attached to the 36th or a permanent part of the unit.
Once again it's nice hearing from you. By the way my outfit was not attached to the 36th, we were an integral part of it. During WWII all Infantry Divisions had 1 troop of Cavalry as part of their table of organization. So much for that, now to more important things.
Unfortunately I do not have any photos taken either in the "states" or overseas so all my memories are mental. ...except for one incident.
During the battle of San Pietro there is one scene showing a left handed grenade thrower...that's me.. my only claim to fame...
I have not heard anything about the controversy of the CIB but being so long ago they can keep it, if my memory serves me right. I think $5.00 a month came with it.
OK that's it for now stay healthy.
Marion's note: I found several links for the film on the Internet and have included one below.
As always it's good to hear from you. The scene I mentioned before about the grenade
thrower was from a Signal Corps film titled, "San Pietro" or the "Battle for San Pietro"
It has been on the History Channel once or twice. Enjoy your lunch and remember to take
time to smell the roses.
More links regarding the battle and the film:
The Battle of San Pietro
San Pietro - Capturing the Face of War
Texans at San Pietro
Marion's note: After sharing email regarding Hal's page with several other men of the 36th (Bennett Palmer and Paul Hinkle), Paul wrote back to me and said he had learned something new about the 36th from Hal's page. He said:
Folks: I learned something new in this message. There were parts of the 36th ID that saw combat action before Salerno. This unit went with 1st AD and 1st ID in North Africa and Sicily.
Ppaul HInkle L-141
Marion's Note: I then sent out a second letter to Hal, Bennett and Paul and the Hal replied with the following. Thanks for clarification Hal and turning us onto that little tidbit of unknown history of the 36th Inf Div.
The special company that the division created was to send them to various units as combat observers.We (approx. 200 men were assigned to the 1st Armored and 3rd I.D. for the African invasion and the Sicilian as well. After Sicily we returned to our respective units and prepared for Salerno.
Hope this clarifies any misunderstandings.