The Purple Heart, Part 2-


Deposition taken from Sgt. Frank Mckee "F" Company: In late January 1945, our unit was finally pulled back from combat for a rest after fighting since December 17th in the "Battle of the Bulge" in Belgium. We were pulled back to Belguim to a town called Trois Ponts, which had recently been abandoned by the retreating Germans.

town of Trois Ponts, Belgium

Town of Trois Ponts, Belgium

Being buried in the stone and wood debris, I was excavated by my buddies then relayed from front line medics to a general Army Hospital Unit operating in Liege, Belgium. The identification of the hospital unit is unknown to me. Upon arrival stone, wood, and mortar were removed from my head, chest, and hands. A piece of wood was under and pressing on my right eye, hearing in my left ear was destroyed, my nose was split diagonally from side to side, skin was blown from my face, the back of my hands and chest, and my mouth was damaged both inside and out, resulting in several teeth that were knocked loose. Approximately a week and a half later I was moved to a schoolhouse due to the heavy front-line casualties arriving at the hospital unit. A week later I was moved to the town of Verviers, Belgium for further rehabilitation. This was short lived, as a week later I was sent back to my unit, which was undermanned, and now fighting along the Roer River in Germany. At this time my injuries were not completely healed.

town of Trois Ponts, Belgium

Town of Trois Ponts, Belgium

We were billeted in a row of houses on the mainstreet of town. Company Headquarters had a house down the street from where my squad was billeted. I was squad leader of a rifle squad. Before my squad could respond to the order, we heard and felt a terrible explosion. The town shook. I thought that a heavy gun had zeroed in on us. We immediately ran out into the street and looking toward the Company CP we could see that the building was gone and a pile of smoldering rubble was in it's place. My squad, others and I ran down there to assist the victims. One of the first men others and I pulled from the rubble was Albert William (Bill) Giegold. He was, at the time, our Company Armorer. He looked like he'd gone through a shredder. I was amazed that he was still alive. He was in shock and badly injured. He didn't seem to see or hear us and didn't utter a coherent word. His exposed skin (face and hands) were in bad shape with foreign matter imbedded in his flesh and there were portions of his skin missing. He was bloody. His mouth seemed damaged and he could not speak. I thought that I had seen the last of my friend Bill Giegold as the medics took over. We turned our attention to helping others. The next man we dug out of this smoldering mess was dead. There were many casualties in this disaster. We speculated that a pile of grenades went up or the retreating Germans had mined the house.

Frank Mckee

Sgt. "F" CO

508th PIR

82nd Airborne

Sworn on the 19th of May 1994.

This was not the only time Bill was wounded. In addition to being blown up, he was also shot during the "Battle of the Bulge". Bill also saved Frank's life during the "Battle of the Bulge".