Paul Knudson - 39th Combat Engineer
It is with deep regret and sorrow, that I announce the passing of Paul on June 2, 2006. My condolences to Alice and her family. I am glad that I got to know Paul, but so sorry that our friendship couldn't have lasted longer. Rest in peace my friend.
I found Paul's name while searching through Ben Myers Association website. They keep a detailed database of engineer units and list the people who are responsible for maintaining their units history. So I picked up a pen and sent out another letter of introduction.
Within two weeks I received a letter from Alice who was writing for both she and her husband Paul, and a second letter shortly after in response to mine. They are the Secretary and Treasurer of the 39th Combat Engineers and have held those posts since 1988. They've been attending the reunions since 1976. Their reunions are held every year on Labor Day Weekend and the 2005 get together occurs in Jefferson City, MO. The man that is hosting this year's is not a 39th'er but the brother of a 39th'er who was killed at Anzio. She is going to send me the reunion details later in the year.
Alice said that they used to have a huge group that attended the functions, but due to age and health, all this has changed. The attending veterans now number around 10, plus their family members.
She gave me quite a bit of information, including names, addresses and numbers for the surviving members that still keep in contact. She is also going to give my contact cards to anyone who might be interested and hand them out at the reunion this year.
Below are several articles that were mailed to me.
The Fighting 39th Engineers - Emmett K. Wallace - R. R. 4 Cullman Alabama
We are the fighting 39th, that's right
We eat damn little, but still we fight
We work like hell and have little fun
We will be in the war until it's won
We sleep a few hours and then we start again
They say we'll get a rest, but don't know when
We had it all throwed at us, shells, but good chow and bed
They pass out C-rations with hard biscuits, no bread
We built enough bridges to cross the sea
The number of by passes we made, Oh me
We built the damns to flood the lands so low
To help stop ten divisions at Anzio
We've been in every battle and did our share
We get small bits of credit; but we're always there
Let all the Army be at a river wide
We are the Engineers who take the Infantry to the other side
It sounds like little jobs, easy to do
But there are bridges to build so that the supply comes thru
The Story of the 39th is hard for me to tell
When they die, they will go to heaven
For they have served their time in hell
The Fusiliers and Anzio
When machine guns stop their chatter
And the cannon stop their roar
And you're back in dear ol' Blighty
In your favorite pub once more.
When the small talk is all over
And the war tales start to flow
You can cap the lot by telling
Of the fight of Anzio
Let them bum about the deserts
Let them brad about Dunkirk
Let them tell about the jungles
And when your tale is finished
And the going home time's near
Just fill your pipe again lads
And finish up your beer
And order up a final one
To toast before you go
THE GUYS THAT FOUGHT BESIDE YOU
ON THE BEACH AT ANZIO!!
(Even though this was written by a British soldier there were many American soldiers that suffered and died on "The Anzio Beachhead". Jan 22-May 25, 1944)