Getting That Old Time Religion
By Ewing P. Haynie, Jr.
Co. B, 273rd Infantry Rgt.
Shortly after I joined the 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Co.
B, 273rd Inf. as a replacement, near the Siegfried Line, the Co. was put in a
holding position and took a few days rest. A movie was obtained and a
showing was arranged for the troops. They picked the largest building in town
where stock was normally kept, but was then used to house the residents while
we, the troops, lived in their houses. It was decided that the residents
would be moved to the Church building while the movie was being shown.
Someone had to guard the residents. Drawings were held and, by chance, I
and Ramon (Spike) Spiekerman were chosen for the job. We herded the
civilians into the church building and, for 2 hours or so, Spike and I stood
guard. He took the front door and I stationed myself behind the
Preacher. It was a strange experience to stand there with my rifle while
the Preacher preached and the congregation prayed and sang songs. Spike
was later killed when he stepped over the edge of a blown out bridge, near
midnight on April 6, 1945. He was 1st Scout of the squad and I, being
the 2nd Scout, was close enough to him to touch but could not see him in the
total darkness as the 273rd Combat team followed us on the Autobahn.
Remarkably, my warning hand stopped the squad Sgt. and he, in turn, halted
those behind him. More of us could have easily walked over the edge
to our deaths. The only sound I heard was that of his rifle hitting something
as it fell.