BY Gerald Cagle

I will never forget the day when, as a child, my mother took me into a back room of our home to "show me something." She began to show me those military unit pictures on the wall that I had seen so many times, but did not know their significance. I was no more than five or six years of age at the time, maybe younger. She began to tell me about two brothers that I had that I never had heard about. It was confusing for me, but exciting in an odd way. There on those pictures were faces of someone I did not know, but were brothers to me. I had two brothers still alive at that time, so I knew what it was like to have brothers, but these felt different. What my mother told me that day, became a life-long quest of trying to "get to know" two brothers that I could never know in the true sense of the word.

I have forgotten much of what my mother told me that day, but I have never forgotten what my brothers did in their service to our country. I have always thought that if I could honor them in my heart, it would not matter very much if no one else honored them. But as time has passed, I have realized that what they did was important. They were no more, no less, than so many who went "over there." But these were my brothers. What they did in the war mattered. For this, they, as well as all who served in World War II, should be remembered by all. PFC Clyde F. Cagle and PFC George M. (Melton) Cagle paid the ultimate price for the United States to remain free. This should never be taken lightly. They truly are "fallen heroes."

I have tried to ask questions down through the years to learn from family members as much as I could about my brothers, but I could never get my family to say very much. Until the day she died, my mother was the only one with whom I could talk about my brothers openly and comfortably. It must have been so painful for her, but she never told me to go away, or not to ask any more questions.

Being born after my brothers were killed, I could not in my youth, and still cannot imagine what my family had experienced just a few years before. I might add, they never recovered from their loss. How could a parent recover from this kind of loss? At one point in World War II, my mother had three sons and five brothers in service at the same time. How she must have worried. As far as I know, all of them saw action, or were in battlefield theater of operations. One of my brothers who was in service in World War II survived. Another brother missed the draft.

My brother, Richard, according to his discharge papers, departed from the U S on March 15, 1944 and arrived in the Pacific Theater of Operations (APTO) on March 21, 1944. He departed the APTO for the U S on January 19, 1946 and arrived in the US on January 25, 1946. He was discharged at the separation center at Camp Shelby, Mississippi on February 2, 1946. T-5 William R. (Richard) Cagle was in Battery B, 325th AAA Searchlight Battalion. He was responsible for the requisitioning, receiving, and distributing of all publications for the central Pacific Area.

Richard was my best friend. He was my big brother, my hero. He could do "everything" in my eyes. He had some hard years after the war. He could never talk to me about the other "boys." He had some days of deep, dark depression that would, at times, almost overwhelm him. These hard years lasted until September 17, 1970. His heart gave out that day. I still mourn the loss of the best friend that I ever had, but I treasure the memories of the good times.

Clyde was in Co. L, 121st Regiment, of the 8th Division. They went in Normandy on July 4, 1944. I know very little about the battles that were fought, but the fighting must have been very intense. On July 12, 1944, Clyde was killed in action somewhere outside of St. Lo. He was killed instantly by an 88.

By e mail, I was given this information.

"Based on info in the 121st Infantry Regimental History, your brother was probably hit during an enemy counterattack near Hill 92 on the outskirts of Laulne, France." Letters which survived from Clyde’s platoon Sgt. just state it as outside of St. Lo. Another soldier gave me this information. "I was a platoon Sgt. In the 83rd Infantry Division at that time and we were driving towards St. Lo from the west. The 30th Division and the 29th Division were coming from the north and the 8th from the northeast. We started from Carentan, France after relieving the 101st Airborne. I believe the 8th started about the same time or a few days later. We started July 4, 1944 and by the 8th of July we were involved in some of the heavy fighting of the war. I know because I was wounded on July 17, 1944, just five days after Clyde was killed." He goes on to state that he was at Ft. McClellan when Clyde was there, but did not know him.

I received this e mail from another who responded to Clyde’s story.

"I read your message on the ...Message Board with great interest. My father served in the 8th division, 121st Infantry , Co. F. He was wounded by shrapnel the day before your brother was killed. I showed your message to my father and it brought back memories of how terrible the 88's were and how the Germans would use them to kill individuals. After a period of recuperation, my father rejoined the 121st in France. He fought in Luxemburg and Germany before receiving "a million-dollar wound" - in his case, a bullet to the leg - in late February of 1945 that sent him back to England and, eventually, the United States. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to him about the training they did for six months in Arizona in 1943, the journey from New York Harbor to Northern Ireland in December 1943, the training in Northern Ireland and his experiences in Europe. He didn’t know your brother, but if I can be of any help to you in tracing his movements with the 8th prior to being killed, please let me know."

Clyde is buried in the Normandy - Colleville Cemetery.

Melton served in Co. D of the 786th Tank Battalion. The following was related to me by someone who researched the activities of the 786th.

The 786th was formed on 23 Sep, ‘43 at Camp Chaffee, Ark. It was originally supposed to be the 1st Bn of the 47th Armored Regiment, but was later changed to be an independent tank battalion. After training, the 786th sailed from New York on 1 Dec,’ 44, arriving in England on 8 Dec ‘44. They moved to France on 23 Jan, ‘45. In the next month they moved up to the front along the German border, and on 23 Feb,’ 45 they were attached to the 99th Infantry Division, an attachment they retained through the end of the war. After brief occupation duty after VE Day, they sailed back into Boston on 6 Jul, ‘45 and were deactivated at Camp Gruber, OK on 8 Nov, ‘45.

This information was sent to me by Clark J. Holloway whose father was in Company A of the 786th Tank Battalion. It is taken from a book about the 99th Division to which the 786th was attached. The name of the book is "Battle Babies," written by Major General Walter E. Lauer.

According to Maj. Gen. Lauer, Company A of the 786th Tank Battalion and Company D of the 786th Tank Battalion were attached to the 393rd Infantry Regiment, which was a unit of the 99th Infantry Division. In early March, 1945, the 99th Infantry Division was involved in the drive to the Rhine River. Beginning on page 168 of Maj. Gen. Lauer's book, the movements of the 99th Infantry Division are described as follows: ...the 99th Division began moving up to its newly assigned front between Duren and Julich. It left Aubel early on the morning of the 1st March in a drizzling rain. Extra motor transportation had arrived, and the Division, now fully motorized, rolled out of its assembly area, through the rubble of conquered Aachen, over the super-highway through Eschweiler where heavy fighting had once taken place, through Duren and on to the open plains near Elsdorf. These open fields and plains were a great chance to our men who had become used to fighting in what is termed in military parlance "close country." No hills or extended forests, no muddy trails and tortuous roads -- but open country, where men could see for hundreds of yards in all directions -- see to shoot! This was a relief. Here one could attack and expect to get results. We did -- both! The general mission assigned our Division was to force the Erft Canal and seize the low line of hills north of the canal caled the "Vorgebirge Mountains," so as to punch a hole through the enemy line for the 3rd Armored Division to plunge through in its drive for Cologne from the north, and at the same time to cover the north flank of the VII Corps while driving to the Rhine. This placed the 99th Division as the northernmost division of the First Army and on the immediate south flank of the Ninth Army. As we arrived at Elsdorf that night the weather cleared, a full, bright moon came out, and at about 11 P.M. a vist by Jerry planes welcomed us. They greeted us with enthusiasm, straffing and dropping bombs on our locations and all along the main supply route. They did a thorough job -- just like a kid running along a row of houses ringing doorbell after doorbell-- so did Jerry drop his bombs. Starting at one end of town, he came right down the line, from front to rear and farther out along the main road, laying eggs, one cluster after another, missing nothing. It was his welcome, to let us know that he knew where we were! We took it. The question was, could he take it when we started to dish it out? Early on the morning of the 2nd March the Division started its advance. The 393rd Infantry led out, with the 4th Cavalry Group, attached to the Division, preceding it. They crossed the Erft Canal near the town of Glesh and began their drive to the northeast, skirting along the canal. Before noon the cavalry group had secured the little town of Winkelheim and Buchholz. There the 3rd Battalion Infantry, in the lead, passed through the cavalry, and the two units jointly drove on to capture the town of Neurath which fell at 7:00 P.M. Our troops were galloping ahead so fast that when a phone rang at a coal briquet factory in Neurath, with the home office at Dusseldorf calling to find out where the Americans were, a lineman from the 99th Signal Company offered first-hand information. The town of Bedburg, naturally called Bedbug by our men, was taken over and cleared by the 1st Battalion 393rd Infantry, while the 2nd Battalion 393rd did the same to the town of Buchholz, so that the speed of our advance elements would not be slowed. That first day netted us about 320 prisoners of war. Opposition was relatively light, consisting mostly of small arms, mortar and the direct fire of anti-tank weapons. The resistance which the low hills and open terrain of the "Vorgebirge" range west of the Rhine afforded the enemy to offer our advance was much less than expected. This type of fighting was a cinch for our men, who had been used to crawling over real, steep hills and through heavy forests. Elements from five German divisions and a number of "cat-and-dog" outfits were encountered. There was only one conclusion to draw from this situation-- the enemy was confused and surprised and trying to get away-- he was fighting a spotty and haphazard rear guard action. The remainder of the 99th Division had staged up from Aubel, and the 394th Infantry crossed the Erft Canal that day and went into an assembly area north of Bergheim and west of Weidenfeld, ready to jump off in an attack the next morning. Our Combat Team 395 was still operating with the 3rd Armored Division, immediately south of our zone, breaking out a hole for the armored division to plunge through in its planned drive for Cologne. The morning of March 3 saw our drive really get under way. We started hammering away with two regiments, the 393rd and the 394th, and had the 4th Cavalry Group speed its armor along the east bank of the Erft Canal to cover the left flank of the Division. The list of towns overrun and captured as the reports kept pouring in that day sounded like a railroad time schedule: Allrath, Heyderhof, Barrenstein, the Erftwerke factory area, Muchhausen, Fraumeiler, Rath, Vanikum, Rommerskirchen, Huchelhoven, Gill, Sinsteden, etc., etc. There was no doubt about it, our men had blood in their eyes, they were on the offensive, and they were enjoying this "ladling-it-out" for a change. P.O.W.s kept rolling in--351 were captured in action, and more were to be gathered in later who had fled, deomoralized. Our 324the Engineer Battalion did in twelve hours what was normally a two-day job. That morning they completed throwing two Bailey bridges across the Erft Canal near the town of Bedburg. Those bridges gave us the much needed security of additional crossings so that in the event hostile air attacks knocked out a bridge we would not be cut off from supply and evacuation and as a result be slowed down in our drive. That day, too, our drive opened the way to Cologne for the 3rd Armored Division, so C.T. 395 reverted back to the Division, but was held in reserve temporarily. We sent its 3rd Battalion, however, from Bergheim to Neurath, where it relieved the 2nd Battalion 393rd Infantry. The 3rd Battalion 395th Infantry, however, was in an offensive mood and launched an attack at 5:30 P.M. to capture the town of Sinsteden, which fell to them at 7:40 P.M. The German rear guard was collapsing fast. The 4th Cavalry Group, which had been operating under the 99th Division and which under its doughty commander, Colonel John McDonald, had gained the praise and admiration of all in the Division with whom it had come in contact, was pulled away from the 99th that afternoon to join the 3rd Armored Division. We regretted its loss, but that was not the last we saw of it during the operation. It continued to operate on our right (south) flank, and later still took over our entire front. The 4th Cavalry Group as a fine fighting outfit. In its drive that day the "Battle Babies" had advanced over 9000 yards along the Erft Canal and swept east across the entire width of its zone, knocking out the enemy strong points established in every town and village overrun. Late that afternoon the resistance encountered stiffened considerably on the front of the 934th Infantry near Rommerskirchen, where enemy tanks and self-propelled guns reinforced the enemy strong points. Spotty resistance of this sort was to be expected. It was disorganized rear guard action. The Krauts were doing what they could to delay our advance and thereby permit the flower of their army a chance to sneak across the Rhine. The answer to that was to hit them twice as hard and fast. We did! Intelligence reports indicated that we were faced by elements from seven German divisions: 9th Panzer, 363rd V.G., 361st V.G., 59th Infantry, 11th Panzer, 340th and 476th Infantry Divisions. Seven German divisions against two American regiments! Impossible--but true. There remained only one conclusion to draw: the enemy was disorganized, confused and probably demoralized. Whatever resistance we were to meet would be of a purely local nature, depending upon the character of the local commander. [footnote: One Jerry tank commander captured was thoroughly disgusted. He said he got orders to "turn your guns around against the Americans and do not retreat another inch." He did, he said. He wheeled his guns around to face the enemy, then switched off the ignition and he and his crews went into a farmhouse where they slept until captured. Said he: "I followed orders!"] Our morale was high! Our wish was being answered! What a difference from dark, dismal December! [i.e., during the Battle of the Bulge] Starting an hour before sunrise the 4th March, the 99th Division hurled its whole weight at the enemy resistance. Before the day was done the Division had advanced 19,000 yards on an 11,000 yard front. Nothing could stop our men. They galloped over the countryside beating down all the small, isolated groups of the enemy which resisted their advance. The desultory small arms and mortar fire encountered gave evidence of the lack of determination on the part of the enemy. Hostile artillery fire from deep rear areas which fell on the town as we captured them was the chief obstacle encountered. Enemy morale was being broken. The Nazi could act with ruthless sadism when he was in the saddle and succeeding, but cowered and fled when the tables were reversed and our men advanced in straightforward fighting. The regiments captured over 519 P.O.W.s, many of them sorry specimens of the Wehrmacht's supermen, during this second day of fighting. Fifty towns and smaller communities were overrun--to list them would be just calling the roll of all the towns in the area. Quantities of German equipment and arms started falling into our hands. For example, that day the 393rd Infantry alone captured and turned in three 88 mm guns, three half-tracks, one personnel carrier, between 400 and 500 rifles, and a small arms ammunition dump. Another unit captured an enemy tank with its crew of five asleep in it. There was no doubt remaining, the Boche were running away, and with it all, fighting a poor rear guard action. In this kind of fighting it was found that the regiments could operate better as combat teams, that is, each regiment organized as a complete fighting team within itself. To the 393rd Infantry was attached the 370th F.A. Battalion, 372nd F.A. Battalion (M.), Company A 324th Medical Battalion, Company A 629th T.D. Battalion, Company A 786th Tank Battalion, and Light Tank Company D 786th Tank Battalion. The 99th Reconnaissance Troop was also attached to the 393rd Infantry, and using this troop as the nucleus, the famous "Task Force Leuders" was organized. This task force consisted of the 99th Reconnaissance Troop of armored vehicles, Company D 786th Tank Battalion, and Company A 629th Tank Destroyer Battalion to give it heavy fire power. Mounted on these vehicles, riding wherever they could, was added an infantry company, Company C 393rd Infantry. "Task Force Leuders" thereby became a rapid moving, hard hitting force which accomplished the unexpected an extraordinary. For example, spearheading ahead of the 393rd Infantry on the 4th March, it made a lightning thrust to capture the town of Norf, close to the Rhine, then without stop quickly seized the town of Derikum farther east and thereby sealed off all chances for the Germans to slip out of the pocket between the Erft Canal and the Rhine River which our drive had created. Our "Task Force Leuders," "T.F.L." to us and the "Teufel" to the Jerries, was doing its best to corral all the Goebbel's men who were going to defend every inch of Der Vaterland to the last man. We wanted them all--to the last man--in spite of the fact that many of them had a good head start, running for the Rhine. ------------ End extract from "Battle Babies". On March 5th, the 393rd Infantry reached the banks of the Rhine. The 99th Infantry later crossed the Rhine over the bridge at Remagen, headed southeast, then turned north to drive the Germans into the "Ruhr Pocket".

I thank Clark very much for the effort he put forth to send me this material. It seems that my brother, Melton, was in a very effective fighting unit.

Melton was killed accidentally as he was cleaning the machine gun on his tank on March 3, 1945. I have never understood how this happened, but I have been told that it was a fairly common accident. My parents never did find out any more than this about Melton’s death. I don’t think that they really wanted to know.

Melton’s death was a terrible blow to my parents who had already lost one son. I have heard that upon the arrival of those who informed my parents of Melton’s death, that my mother said with much despair, "Not again." I have tried to picture that scene. The fear of seeing that military car pull into the yard must have been unbearable. I think that all parents have a horrible fear of losing one of their children. Think of losing two sons to a war that was being fought in such a distant land. Two sons who left in tears, promising to come back home soon, but were never to be seen again. Melton is buried in the Henri - Chapelle Cemetery in Belgium. Melton’s death was such a shock that my parents didn’t even fill out and return the form for his life insurance. In all of the turmoil in their lives, they must have just forgotten. It may be that they just could not bring themselves to receive any money for the death of another son. They had been convinced to do so at Clyde’s death, but my daddy always thought that receiving this money was the same as receiving "blood money." He just didn’t think that it was right to accept payment for the death of his son.

All of this was forgotten over the years, but was discovered in the late 70's. It created quite a stir in the Veterans Administration when they found this out that parents of a deceased veteran who died in a foreign country in time of war were not receiving his life insurance benefits, even though he was not killed in action. An investigation revealed that the form had not been returned, so there was nothing that could be done. It was discovered at this time, though, that my parents should have been receiving much more money over the years. I am not sure of the reason for the underpayment, but the VA did correct this problem at this time. How much easier it could have been in years past for my parents if they could have been drawing this larger amount. I remember how badly my family needed this small amount every month. It wasn’t much (maybe $40 or so), but it did put some food on the table. It seems to this day a very small amount for all that they lost. What price could be put on the lives of two sons? How much would really be enough?

Below are letters which are priceless to me.

Most of these were mailed to my grandfather, W.A. Cagle. I have no letters sent home to my parents from Clyde. I have no letters at all from or to Melton. I can't imagine the loss of two sons anytime, but especially in war and to never see them again because they chose to have them buried overseas. They must have destroyed or lost

Clyde's letters home and I have no idea of letters from and to Melton. My cousin found these to my grandfather and gave them to me.

Pvt. Clyde F. Cagle, Co. B Tn Bn 5th Regt., Fort McClellan, Alabama

Sunday, Nov. 15 1942
Letter to Mr. W.A. Cagle
Route 4
Booneville, Mississippi

Hello to All,

I hope this letter finds all of you well. As for me I am doing O.K. I haven’t been anything much yet. My training will start Monday the 16th then I will find out what the army is really like. This training will last six weeks then I will be sent to some other compound I don’t know where that will be. Me and Jake, Elmer and Elbert are in the same company together. Me and Jake sleeps in the same hut and our beds are close together. I don’t have much to write so I had better close. Some of you write me and let me know how you all are getting along.

So long for this time,


Pvt. Clyde F. Cagle, Co. F 121st Inf., A.P.O. #8, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri

U.S. Army Letter to Mr. W. A. Cagle
Route 4
Booneville, Mississippi
Sunday Morning January 24, 1943

Dear Grandpa, Grandma and All:

How are all of you getting along. Fine I hope. I am doing fine. Papa and them wrote and told me that Grandma was some better and that Grandpa was doing all right too. I was very glad to hear that. I guess all of you are doing all right or they would have told me about it. Alton and Molley I bet that boy is really grown since I saw him last. I bet Stanley don’t care anything about him I mean he does. I am liking my new camp all right. It has really been cold here. I think it has been as low as 10 or 15 degrees below zero. We have barracks as good as any house to stay in. Our barracks are heated by one big furnace. We don’t have to worry about fire for there is one man that keeps fire all day and all night. This is about all I have to write this time.

With love to you all,



Letter to Mr. W.A. Cagle

Route 4
Booneville, Mississippi
Sunday Morning February 28, 1943

Dear Grandpa, Grandma and All

How is everybody this fine morning. Fine I hope. As for me I am doing fine. It is really a pretty morning in Missouri. I guess it the same in Mississippi. Elsie I got your letter which I was glad to get. I was glad to hear that all of you were doing pretty well. Yes, I know about Richard getting his call. I hated to hear about it but it can’t be helped. I am not having much of a hard time. Some time I have to work harder than at other. I haven’t been doing anything much for the last week only to classes and studying the weapons we use in our company. Most of the work we do is walking and digging slit trenches. We have to walk Guard about every 12 days. I don’t like it much but it is not much bad. You don’t get to sleep much when on Guard. We have to Guard Prisoners too. Alton I guess you and Molly and children are doing all right to. When I write a letter to any of you I mean it for all. I will send some of my picture when I get some. We can’t hardly get any films to have pictures made. We are going to leave this camp pretty soon. Some of them say that we are going on maneuvers. I don’t know whether we are or not but I wouldn’t doubt it. I haven’t seen Elmer but one time since we have parted. This company has been quarantined because of the mumps and I haven’t been going anywhere. Me and Jake is still together. This is about all I know to write this time. Good Bye until next time.

With love to you all,



This letter was written to my uncle John (Jake) from overseas.
Uncle John was medically discharged just before Clyde’s unit went overseas. Uncle John and Clyde had been together from the time they entered service. Uncle John carried Clyde to the train station as he left to go overseas.

Saturday Night
April 29, 1944

Dear Jake,

How is everything going by now. Fine I hope. As for me I am doing fine. I received your letter last night which I was glad to get. They wrote me about Melton being at home on furlough. I am glad he got it. I was surprised to hear about Roy getting another furlough. I believe that makes him two. It is good that he can get to come home now while he is in the States. I hope him and Melton don't have to come across. Maybe they won't. I'll be glad when all of us can come back across. It is good that Wade is close enough that he can come home pretty often. I guess he is still liking his job. I haven't heard from Howard since we have been over here. I don't have his address or I would write him. I wrote him just before we left the states. Cecil got a letter from you today. I don't know if he has answered it yet or not. I guess this is all for now. I will close for now. Keep everything going.


Monday Night ??

Mr. Cagle

I guess you will wonder who I am but I am Ed Ray. I was your son Clyde’s platoon sgt. And I got wounded in France. I want to tell you that Clyde was a very dear friend of mine. I was with him when he got killed. We were about ten miles from St. Lo. Some time about the 9th of July. We got cut off by the Germans. Our company lost about 25 men in that same battle. Clyde was with me. They was only a few of us left. I got up and started around a fence. Clyde called me and ask me did I want him to come. And I told him yes. And about that time I heard some shells coming and I hit the ground and after they hit I run back. And there lay Clyde with his face down on his machine gun. He never did speak after he was hit. He had been with me ever since he come to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He was just like a brother to me. And one of the best soldiers. Nobody felt his death more than me. I can say it and tell the truth he was one of the cleanest living boys I have ever met. I have heard him talk about his home and I wonder it is a awful price to pay in war. But I am lucky to be here. I will stop this time.

Yours truly,

Ed Ray


War Department, The Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, D.C.
August 1, 1944 In reply refer to AG 201 Cagle, Clyde F. PC-N ETO139

Mrs. Maggie D. Cagle
Route Number 4
Booneville, Mississippi

Dear Mrs. Cagle:

It is with regret that I am writing to confirm the recent telegram informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class Clyde F. Cagle, 34,473,221, Infantry, who was killed in action on 12 July in France. I fully
understand your desire to learn as much as possible regarding the circumstances leading to his death and I wish that there were more information available to give you. Unfortunately, reports of this nature contain only the briefest details as they are prepared under battle conditions and the means of transmission are limited. I know the sorrow this message has brought you and it is my hope that in time the knowledge of his heroic service to his country, even unto death, may be of sustaining comfort to you. I extend to you my deepest sympathy.

Sincerely yours,

J.A. Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General

1 Enclosure


Bulletin of information
Headquarters 121st Infantry, APO 8, New York, N.Y.

19 December 1944

Mrs. Maggie D. Cagle
Route #4
Booneville, Mississippi

Dear Mrs. Cagle:

The Regimental Commander, the Officers and men of the 121st Infantry Regiment wish to express their deepest sympathy to you and your family in the loss of your son, Pfc Clyde F. Cagle, 34473221, Co. L, 121st Infantry who was killed in action in France on 12 July 1944. Your son was performing his duty in a most courageous and excellent manner and was held in high esteem by all those who knew him. We want you to know that you are not alone in your loss, for it was ours also. Our prayer is that God may be close to you in your sorrow and that through His grace you may find comfort.

Yours sincerely,

James F. McCrary, Chaplain

This letter was sent to my uncle, Uncle John, (mentioned above) who was medically discharged just before he was to be shipped overseas.

Tuesday night, December 5 1944

Hello John,

I received your letter while I was on a furlough. Sure was glad to hear from you. John, about Clyde we went in France July 4th and fought from there on most up the boys either got wounded or killed. Perry Lt. Huffham, CC Knight, Johnes, Hunt, all got killed the first day. Me, Hoare, McCuistion, Adkins got wounded. Oh yes Sgt. Thompson got killed, Bradley too.

John, a 88 shell got me, and that is what got Clyde. We was pinned down and the captain sent me to bring them up closer. I got up and started. And Clyde followed me. And he forgot his gun. And he went back to get it. And just as he picked up it a shell hit him it went through him. And I run to him but he never did speak one word. I got the gun out from under him and laid him on his back. And that is about all they was to it. Hoare ,McCuistion ,Adkins got wounded the same time. I can say Clyde was a good boy one of the best. And I felt it as if it had been a brother of mine. Well John, when you find time write. So long.

Yours truly,


This is the letter that informed my parents of Melton’s death. How hard this letter must have been to read. I can’t imagine.

War Department, The Adjutant General’s Office, Washington 25, D. C.
In reply refer to AG 201 Cagle, George M., PC-N ETO 073

23 March 1945

Mrs. Maggie L. Cagle
Rural Free Delivery #4
Booneville, Mississippi

Dear Mrs. Cagle:

It is with deep regret that I confirm the telegram of recent date informing you of the death of your son, Private First Class George M. Cagle, 34,636,747, Infantry.

The official casualty report states that your son was killed on 3 March 1945 in Neurath, Germany. The report further states that he was killed accidentally by a machine gun of tank while cleaning the weapon.

I fully understand your desire to receive as much information as possible concerning his death. Recently provisions were made whereby there will be sent directly to the emergency addressee or the next of kin a letter containing further information about each person who dies overseas in the service of our country, and if this letter has not already been received, it may be expected soon.

I sincerely regret that this message must carry so much sorrow into your home and I hope that in time you may find sustaining comfort in knowing that he served his country honorably.

My deepest sympathy is extended to you in your bereavement.

Sincerely yours,

J. A. Ulio, Major General, The Adjutant General

1 Enclosure Bulletin of Information

It should be noted that some of the names and other words of the original letters were very hard, if not impossible, to read. But, they are as close to being correct as was possible for me.

There will be other information, I am sure, that I will come across that could be entered here, and I will enter it if it does become available. There are many other things that I would like to know about my brothers, but my knowledge will never be complete in this life. I am thankful to know as much as I do about their lives and their sacrifices for their country. What they did ultimately bought my freedom. I thank God for them and I thank them for being willing to do what they could.

If you know someone who served in World War II, or in war in another time, honor them. If they are alive, tell them that you love them and appreciate them for their service for your freedom. They are worthy of the honor, even though they would humbly say that they didn’t do much of anything. May God bless their memories to our hearts and our very lives that we will not forget what they did "over there."

Many years ago someone said it much better than I ever could. It refers to a different war in a different time, but the truths written therein are applicable to all generations.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in
a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so
conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great
battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and
proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot
dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated
it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will
little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never
forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be
dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here
have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here
dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these
honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which
they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this
nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people shall
not perish from the earth.

I can say that the world will little note, nor long remember what I have said here, but it can never forget what they did. We must never forget. Our freedom depends on it.

Copyright 2000 by Gerald Cagle. All rights reserved.

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