103d INFANTRY DIVISION WORLD WAR II ASSOCIATION

103d Infantry Division History: World War II

Monuments - A Tribute to All Who Served in the 103d Infantry

Division (CACTUS)

A Call to Duty

 

Edd Hayes, Sculptor

Douglas Handel, Photographer

 

 

For complete monument history CLICK HERE

For monument dedication program CLICK HERE

 

Dedication program lists details of all bronze

inscriptions including KIA’S

 

Three devoted veterans, B. Melton “Mel” Wright, Lejeune “Rabbit” Wilson, and Robert N. “Bob” Powers, made the initial contributions and established the TEXAS WW II HISTORICAL MONUMENT FUND. This Corporation accumulated the funds, made the design, selected and obtained a prime location, constructed and dedicated this beautiful monument to preserve our vital history for future generations.

 

TxDOT Travel Information Center

I-35 Gainesville, Texas

 

Building this Monument came from an idea that was conceived to preserve this vital part of our history for future generations.

 

It honors the service of combat veterans of the 103d Infantry Division of WWII, especially the 848 of them that made the supreme sacrifice.

 

The project was eight years in the making. It was developed by the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals. The bulk of them were combat veterans of the 103d, who late in their lives still responded to the call to duty.

 

At its dedication, 11 November 2006, it was donated to the City of Gainesville, Texas and now it belongs to the public

 

Being located at this TxDOT Travel Information Center on US I-35 places it just across the street from the former Camp Howze location where we were trained in the arts of war. It will be visible to thousands of travelers 365 days a year.

 

The Board of Directors of the Fund extends a special thanks to all the individuals whose contributions and ideas made this commemorative venture a reality.

 

From the Peace Makers of WWII may it in the future remind travelers of the price and sacrifices required to protect their freedom. It will be there when we are gone. We are proud to have been a part of this Greatest Generation.

Board Members

 

B. Melton "Mel" Wright - 411  Co   G

Robert N. "Bob" Powers - 411  AT  Co

 

     (Bob Powers passed away  11 November 2005, exactly

      1 year prior to the Monument's Dedication.)

 

John T. Poole - 409  Co  C

Kenneth Kaden - Former Mayor Gainesville, Texas

 

Lejeune "Rabbit" Wilson - 328 Eng  Co  C

Marsha L. Powers, Daughter Bob Powers

Arthur M. "Art" Flynn - 409  Hq  Co  3Bn

Edwin "Ed" McGhee - 409  Co  B

James E. "Jim" White - 409  Co  B

George Grounds, Commander VFW Post 1922

 

Sigolsheim , Alsace - France

 

In 1995 above the village of Sigolsheim, Alsace – France, the Rhine and Danube Association erected a World War II memorial honoring the American soldiers who fought to liberate Alsace. Standing near the top of Hill 351, the impressive monument, with a floodlit American flag flying every day and night, overlooks the Alsatian Plain and the Rhine River flood plain. Listed on the flag base are the American divisions that took part in liberating Alsace. Along the right hand wall are the patches of those units who took part in the liberation of this area; the 103d Infantry Division is on the middle line—right.

 

 Close by, on the top of the hill is the Nécropole nationale (military cemetery) of the French First Army—established in 1965. On a cemetery wall is the inscription (here translated into English):

 

"In remembrance of our comrades of the Allied armies who nobly fell for the liberation of France."

 

Memorial 103D Infantry Division

Saint Die-Des-Vosges, France

 

Saint-Die-des-Vosges is one of the largest cities in the Vosges Mountain area of Alsace and Lorraine.

 

Right after the 103d Infantry Division liberated Saint-Die, on November 22, 1944, Mayor Evart declared in a ceremony, marking the event, that this site would be named "Square of the 103d Infantry Division."

 

During a visit in 1986, a veteran of the 103d Infantry Division, Joe Edwards, reported how hard it was to find the square and that the square was in a state of disrepair.

 

As a result an effort was mounted to erect this memorial which was four years in making. On July 13, 1992 the monument was dedicated amidst much celebration as this day was also Bastille Day for the French. Elements of the French and U.S. Armed Forces, plus veterans, and a considerable contingent of representatives of the 103d Infantry Association of World War II gathered to honor those who liberated the city in 1944.

 

On the reverse side of the monument, pictured here, is the Saint-Die city logo under the words "Ville de Saint-Die Des Vosges."

 

On the right side of the monument, made of Vosges marble by Zimmerman Marberie of Saint-Die, is a plaque in English which reads: "In grateful remembrance of the sacrifices of citizens of Saint-Die-Des-Vosges and the gallantry of the soldiers of the American 103 Infantry Division in the Battle of the Vosges 1944-1945. Presented by 103 Infantry Division Association of World War II July 13, 1992 Through the generous cooperation of the citizens of St. Die-Des-Vosges."

 

On the left side of the monument is a plaque with the same wording, only in French.

 

PLAQUE PLACED ON WALL OF ST. GILES CHURCH IN HOWARTH, FRANCE

 

Company I, 410th Infantry Regiment, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) placed this plaque in the Alsace town of Howarth, France to commemorate the liberation of the city on November 28, 1944. The plaque is also to honor three men who fell during the liberation of Howarth, located 11 kilometers northwest of Selestat. Those men who are honored are: Carl Minnear, Howard I. Schwenden, and Raymond Voss who were killed in action in Howarth.

 

Robert D. Quinn, Company I, 410th Infantry Regiment, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) made all the arrangements regarding manufacturing the plaque, including the preparation for the memorials. The plaque was dedicated May 20, 1994 as a result of his efforts.

PLAQUE PLACED ON WALL OF LUTHERAN CHURCH IN UHRWILLER, FRANCE

 

The second plaque developed by Robert D. Quinn was in honor of the liberation of another Alsace town, Uhrwiller, France. The plaque is affixed to the wall of the Lutheran Church in Uhrwiller. It also honors those who fell in the liberation of the town. These men killed in action are Hale R. Burnham, Francis M. Passaro, and Robert E. Savory. Note Robert Savory's name is not on the plaque as information of him dying of wounds on March 17, 1945 were not available to Mr. Quinn at the time the plaque was made. Uhrwiller was liberated on March 15, 1945 and the plaque dedicated May 21, 1994.

MONUMENT LOCATED AT SAULCY-SUR-MEURTHE, FRANCE

 

The plaque, dedicating the monument to those from Company A, 411th Infantry Regiment, 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) who fell during the liberation of Saulcy-Sur-Meurthe, France on November 22, 1944. The plaque reads:

 

"Soldiers came to this place and died in full youth and far from home."

 

PFC Rosendo Cardenas, Simonton, Texas

S/SGT Frank Carraccio, Jr., Centerville, Iowa

PVT Edward V. Ciricillo, Newark, New Jersey

PFC Bayard Dodge, Jr., Bronx, New York

S/SGT Russell Fuccy, Detroit, Michigan

PVT Henry Gaynor, Brooklyn, New York

PVT William James, Metropolis, Illinois

PVT James H. Vanover, Independence, Missouri

 

Erected October, 1989, by comrades no longer young, Company A, 411th Infantry, United States Army

 

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them."

 

"Erige en ces Lieux a perpetuite, Grace a la Genereuse cooperation des habitants de Saulcy-Sur-Meurthe."

 

Memorial Committee, Company A, 411th Infantry

Daniel T. MacMillan

Douglas H. Stellner

John Wuensche

 

MONUMENT LOCATED AT PFAFFENHOFFEN, FRANCE

 

Pfaffenhoffen is located in Alsace, the Germanic region of France. The Alsace region lies on the west bank of the river Rhine and is located between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine. The Alsace region shares its northern and eastern borders with Germany. The Alsace southern border is along Switzerland and in the West with Lorraine. To the north and east it shares a border with Germany; to the south with German-speaking Switzerland, and to the west with the French regions of Lorraine and Franche Comté.

 

Pfaffenhoffen has undergone change in control between Germany and France four times in the past couple of decades. Historically, Pfaffenhoffen, as well as the Alsace region, was part of the Germanic area of central Europe. Today, a great majority of the population speak and understand Alsacian, which is a German dialect, very closely aligned with the German spoken by the Swiss.

 

The Alsace region, including Pfaffenhoffen, was annexed by Germany in 1940 and incorporated into the Greater German Reich. Alsace was merged with Baden, and Lorraine with the Saarland, to become part of a planned Westmark. The annexation subjected this region to the cruel Nazi dictatorship.

 

The 103d Infantry Division fought fierce battles into the Vosges mountain region and into the Moder River Valley. While units fought for twisted roads and mountain villages in subfreezing temperatures, Obstfelder's First Army committed the 6th SS Mountain Division to restart the advance on the Saverne Gap. In response, Patch shifted the 103d Infantry Division eastward from the XV Corps' northwestern wing to hold the southeastern shoulder of the Vosges defense. By 5 January 1945 the SS troopers managed to bull their way to the town of Wingen-sur-Moder, about 10 miles short of Saverne, but there they were stopped. With the Vosges' key terrain and passes still under American control and the German advance held in two salients, NORDWIND had failed. American soldiers fought and won some of the most critical battles of World War II in this region and that will forever remain an indisputable fact.

 

In 1989 Harley Richardson (Co I, 409th), his wife, and 148 other Cactus veterans and wives attended a reunion in Pfaffenhoffen. A meeting was attended by Harley, Joseph Edwards (Btry B, 928th FA Bn), Carl Reed (Co C, 411th), and Pierre Marmillod of Pfaffenhoffen. At the conclusion of this meeting, the groundwork was laid to establish a monument to the 103d Infantry Division for its part in liberating the Moder River Valley.

 

The monument is designed by Carl L. Reed, and the bronze ornamentation crafted by his son Carl A. Reed. The monument is constructed of Oklahoma granite. The monument was crated and shipped from Granit, Oklahoma to Houston where it was loaded on the ship Bravery to arrive in LaHavre and then to Pfaffenhoffen by truck. The dedication was conducted on June 30, 1991 and attended by 150 persons, mostly Cactus men and their wives, along with thousands of grateful French from Pfaffenhoffen and the towns in the Moder River Valley section of France.

 

Memorial to the 103d Infantry Division in Landsberg, Bavaria

 

As the 103d Infantry Division advanced into Bavaria, elements of the 411th Infantry discovered a Nazi concentration camp just outside of the city limits of modern-day Landsberg—one of the eleven sub-camps known as the Kaufering concentration camp complex. The camps were located near the towns of Kaufering and Landsberg. For their part in liberating these camps, the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) was accorded “liberator” status in 1985 by a joint program of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the U.S. Army Center of Military History, which was an effort on the part of these two entities to recognize U.S. Army units that took part in freeing prisoners from Nazi concentration camps.

 

A memorial in Landsberg honors the men of the 103d Division for liberating the Nazi camp.

 

CLICK HERE to read the story behind it.

 

To read more about the holocaust and the horror it brought upon millions, go to the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum website.

 

General Eisenhower got it right when he ordered, "document everything because sometime in the future there will be those who will deny this ever happened."

103d Commemorative Plaque donated by Maurice Lipka. Alongside the Plaque are the 103d Infantry Division (Cactus) Colors

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