By E. P. Haynie, Jr.
 Co. B 273rd Inf.


     Bob and I grew up together in a small mining town in Fayette County, West Virginia.  Both of our fathers were underground miners.  Times were hard in the 30's, but our parents made the best of what we had.  They taught us values that fashioned our lives as we both entered the Army at the tender age of 18.  I never knew that fate would bring us together in France in 1944, under very differing circumstances.
       After volunteering for transfer to the Infantry  while in England, I made my way through the maze of Repple Deps (Replacement Depots).  and arrived somewhere near Paris, shortly after it's liberation from the Nazi's.  I was amazed and delighted when a soldier I ran into turned out to be Bob, my boyhood friend.   Bob had landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and had both legs cut up with machine gun bullets.  After a stay in a hospital in England he was sent back to his Company where he was again wounded.  Now, he was going home.
     One morning, I left my pup tent and stopped by Bob's tent to wake him so he could get in the breakfast line.  I touched his foot and he jumped up like he was scared to death, ripping the tent pegs out of the ground.  "Don;t ever touch me", he said.  "I might hurt you":  In the breakfast line, everyone had their mess kits strung on a handle, and Bob nervously stood in the line.  When he moved left a little bit, a young Lt. came up and gave him a shove and told him to keep the line straight.  Bob said nothing, but violently swung his complete mess kit and struck the Lt. on the side of his face.  Turns out, Bob had severe psychological problems, evidently caused by his lengthy time in combat.
     The next time I saw Bob,  I had been home about 5 years   I was driving through town. When I slowed down for a bus that was loading, I looked up and there was Bob, sitting on the bus.  I had no chance to speak to him, but shortly after he came in to my place of business, a mining company store, of which I was store manager.  He was dressed immaculately  and flashed a Hollywood smile when he shook my hand.  " I'm working for the Lord" said Bob, explaining that he was helping a traveling Minister hold services in a Camp Meeting setting.  Bob disappeared  again for a few years.  One day, his younger brother came by and I inquired about Bob.  Bob had died under strange circumstances.  He had been arrested by the City Police and charged with taking a 15 year old girl across state lines for immoral purposes.  Unable to bear the shame attached to his actions, he had hung himself in his jail cell, using a bed sheet.
      Of course, the public rightly passed their judgment on Bob's actions,  but I feel that he had paid the Supreme Penalty for his actions on D-Day, Omaha Beach.  It just took 14 years for his body to die.  His spirit died years ago when he waded through the bloody waters of the English Channel.