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Walt's Daughter

addendum to the 540th's History - book not well liked

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Due to the nature of the beast, I often lose sight of so many things on my website.

Today I was helping a staff sergeant in regards to the history of 36th and 540th. He wanted to know more about the tie-ins (relationship) of the two regiments. While conducting the research for him, I ran across numerous documents, including this one. It's an addendum from a man named Bill Herron, who was a member of the 540th Engineers (my dad's unit) and their official historian. I had talked with Bill on the phone a few times and he also sent me some letters/documentation.

It was through him that I learned how disappointed and angered the men were, after they saw the official book on the 540th (printed in Germany, after the war). I have a copy of this book. Bill states, "I added this at the front of the 540th book - 'Overseas With the 540th Engineers'. This book was not very well liked my many members of the 540th, believe me! Sincerely, Bill Herron"

In his Foreword he points out how the "book does not do justice to the accomplishments and experiences of the line companies of the regiment. The many hardships we endured, incidents of our invasion participations, our support of various infantry divisions. etc are barely touched upon or completely ignored..."

It is a short document (several pages) and well worth the read, for it certainly adds so much. Taking over the job as historian for the unit, I too often wondered why 'Overseas With the 540th Engineers' made it look like a walk in the park, which it certainly was not!

 

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Marion, 

I enjoyed reading Mr. Herron's addendum.  I think it was common occurrence for those in Headquarters and H&S to write these histories (they would have had access to typewriters and other equipment not to mention the documents of the outfit).  Unfortunately, they of coarse had completely different experiences from those in the line companies.   

I have had some veterans tell me that even when reading the After Action Reports for their outfit, they thought it made it seem like they were a bunch of boy scouts.

Brian 

 

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