Well Rene has a very special place in my heart, for he was the first one to contact me after I had renewed my search for info on my father. I had found his name on an Internet site as a contact for the 540th, so I wrote him a letter on April 28, 2004. Didn't know if I would hear anything back. I figured it was a long shot. I can't tell you the immense joy I felt when I first held the envelope in my hands in May.
Rene was a member of the 540th Combat Engineers and he resides in Vermont with his wife of many years. We have continued to exchange letters and he has recently mailed me some wonderful photos from 1945 when they were crossing the great Rhine River in Germany.
Here is the first letter that I received from Rene. I love the line at the very bottom that states, "I'm 82 years young and my writing isn't as good as it used to be. Good luck to you". He enclosed this copy of a 540th Combat Engineers Reunion Letter dated July 18, 1990 and a propaganda sheet that was rained down on them by the Germans. He also sent this Brief History of the 540th.
Here is the second letter I received this summer.
Just received this today. Rene wrote this letter and also sent the following photos:
Patton pissing in the Rhine River. This took place on the 2nd bridge that the 540th had built across the Rhine in March of 1945.
German prisoners of war surrendering before the bridge was completed, 03-26-1945.
Photo taken at Worms on the bridge across the Rhine on 03-26-1945. This was in the 3rd Division sector. In the photo: Hoagland, Netson, McSparin, Capple, Vander Wall, Lee, Rinelli and Bell.
This is a photo he took of the first tank crossing the bridge upon completion on 03-26-1945.
He sent a copy of an article that was in the newspaper regarding his mother who had four sons in the war.