Who Wouldn't Be Here Today?
Martin J. Connor
2nd Platoon Co E, 273rd Inf Rgt
I was lead scout for Lieutenant William R. "Bill Matlach's Platoon. While moving through Germany, my "buddy" Fran Dionne and I had been on point for quite awhile. We reached our destination in the woods and were told to wait for further orders. Lt. Matlach came up and told me to hold his "walkie talkie" while he answered nature's call.
While he was gone the "walkie talkie" signaled. I told the caller the Lt. was not here. The reply was, "Just tell him to send two men to lead up the wire bearers." Thinking this was a good chance to get some relief from scouting, I told Dionne we should volunteer for this piece of cake. Dionne thought for a minute then said we should stay where we were.
I told the Lt. about the message when he returned. He sent two men back. During their movement, they were fired upon from across a river by machine gun. One was killed.
At our 50th Annual Reunion, I recalled the incident to "Bill" as I now called him. He remembered it quite clearly. He said he had to go back and see if the man was dead and get his dog tags, as no one knew who the man was.
This past summer, (2003), I visited Dionne and his wife. We wondered if we had taken the assignment to get relief from scouting, "which one would not be here today?"