Charles Coryell
Birthday: October 04, 1916
Birthplace: Richmond, Indiana
Family: Demp and Effie Coryell
Occupation: Inspection at Piston Ring Company
Branch: Army
Unit: 10th Armored Division, 54th Armored Infantry Co. I
Post: Rifleman and Assistant Half Track Driver

Charles Coryell was twenty-five years old when he was drafted into the army for World War 2. He was the only member of his family to get drafted. In the army, he was a rifleman and assistant half track driver in the Co. I-54th Armored Infantry 10th Armored Division. This is his story.

"My experience in training to become a soldier will stay in my mind forever. If you have a tendency to be a self centered person with little self-esteem, you can get much helpful training in the service of your country. I will start with the induction. I will skip the paper work and go to the physical exam. You march to a coliseum with hundreds of recruits for your health exam. Of course there are no ladies so you are to strip completely. Then you line up as if you were in a chorus line, arms length apart. The inspecting officer will walk in front and back of these lines and if you have a defect like one eye or one arm you step aside. Then you get orders to raise up your right foot and hold it. The officer walks behind and if you have a flat foot or and injured one, you step aside. Then, of course, you lower your right and raise the left. Next, we line up before and group of doctors for checking our other physical conditions.

From there still stripped we get our gear plus clothes. Of course, they start with the barracks bags, then underwear. They say,' Put that on, put that in a bag until you are dressed in full uniform with top coat.'

From there you march to a large field for inspection. You now march to some barracks to wait for further orders. They say,' Fall Out!' You take all your gear to a field next to the railroad tracks. There you wait a few hours in the freezing cold. Finally the train comes but no one knows where it is going. We are going south, maybe to Tennessee. We eat, sleep, and sit a few days and notice we are in the mountains. Then we go farther south and end up in Fort Benning, Georgia, where it is 80 degrees, 4 pm and FALL OUT! We get assigned to our barracks and Fall Out.

We found that all of our officers were great but our platoon sergeant was what I would call a bulldog sergeant. I would guess it took that type of person to handle us green horns. I was an assistant halftrack1 driver and got to drive through maneuvers because the regular driver was sick in the hospital. It was a very good experience. It was a much smoother ride than a truck.

Back from Tiger Camp there was a meeting about furloughs.2 The officers said we couldn't have any furloughs, my heart sank. I had planned on getting married on my furlough. I went straight to the commanding officer. He said,' I know what you are here for. You have nothing to worry about. Your furlough is still on. Come in tomorrow and pick it up. You will be needing a wedding present so the three day pass is your gift!' He was a great guy giving me an emergency furlough!

My girlfriend had everything planned. I arrived at 11am Saturday. We picked up the cake and we bought the rings. Sunday afternoon, the church was full and we were married at 4pm. After our honeymoon, I drove our car back to camp. I, being a private, was king because I had wheels. Every weekend the first sergeant and I could visit our wives downtown. He gave me a permanent pass.

My feet hurt badly after a long day of walking on them. After the day, I laid my bloody feet on my bed. The inspecting officer took one look and said," Report to company commander tomorrow, there will be no more field duty for you."

Our 10th Armored Division, after receiving a new general, was sent overseas. Since my feet weren't healthy, I didn't make the trip. They fought in the Battle of the Bulge3. One day 200 men in my platoon were sent out and only thirty came back.

Later the 10th Armored Division was called to help liberate France and my great buddy, who could speak French very well, used his knowledge to liberate a whole city in France. To this day they regard him with great honor. I still write to this great buddy in Massachusetts.

The 10th Armored Division was not known in the U.S.A. because they didn't win any battles. This article tells us of the Honor and Glory that we don't hear about and should pay attention to. My general, General Patton, was given a great honor but died in a jeep accident and never lived to receive it. May our U.S.A. show more thanks and respect to our Armed Forces who protect our freedom of today. Remember the ones that paid the full price!"

1 Strange military vehicle with a front end like a truck and a back end like a tank.

2 A military leave

3 The Battle of the Bulge lasted from December 16, 1944 to January 28, 1945. It was the largest land battle of WW II in which the U.S. participated. More than a million men fought in this battle including some 600,000 Germans, 500,000 Americans, and 55,000 British. The German military force consisted of two Armies with ten corps (equal to 29 divisions). While the American military force consisted of a total of three armies with six corps (equal to 31 divisions). The casualties for the U.S. were 81,000 with 19,000 killed. The casualties for Britain were1400 with 200 killed. There were 100,000 Germans killed, wounded, or captured.