My Wife's Dad was Pvt. Olen Holland, Company D of the 373rd Engineers. He died when my wife was six, so I'm looking for anyone who might have known him during the war and who would be willing to share some stories about him.
He did tell some stories to my mother-in-law when he got back home. One is that he received several promotions during the war, but each time he got promoted he would get into a fight and get busted back down to private. He did come home with a Good Conduct medal. I'm not sure how that worked. Another is that he was in a truck convoy that was attacked by German aircraft. A bomb hit one of the trucks and didn't explode. He was ordered to defuse the bomb, which he did. When he finished, he turned around and saw that the truck he was in was on fire, at which point he passed out. The last story we have is that he caught pneumonia so bad that they thought he was going to die. They put him in a body bag, zipped up but with his face exposed so that he could breathe, and left him in the morgue tent. Apparently the body bag helped him to sweat out the infection, so that he regained consciousness after three days. When he woke up, he saw where he was, thought he was dead, and started screaming. He was apparently never quite the same after that, and who can blame him? At some point he also drove an ambulance to get wounded back from the front.
Also, he was awarded three Bronze Stars. We don't know why. Perhaps defusing the bomb was one of them.
That's about all I know, except that most of his buddies didn't make it back from Europe. I have attached a couple of photos. Olen is on the left in the first photo. Can anyone identify the man on the right in this photo?
Also, does anyone know how his unit earned the Meritorious Unit Award?