Luther S. Strunk (#33465003)

Picture taken 2011
Place of Birth
Date of Birth

Nanticoke, PA
June 29, 1923
Private First Class
330th Infantry
83rd Infantry
Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Marksman badge, ...

Battle of the Bulge at Fraiture

War Story by Pfc. Luther STRUNK

I was inducted into the US Army on March 5, 1943. I went by train to the New Cumberland, PA reception center. At New Cumberland we were issued uniforms and supplies. I then went by train to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I was assigned to a 105 mm Howitzer battery of the 591st Field Artillery Battalion of the 106th Infantry Division. I was then assigned the duty of truck driver. I transported one of the three guns for the unit. Later in training I was transferred to the kitchen, mess truck.
From January through March 1944 I spent three months on maneuvers in Murphysboro, Tennessee. Following maneuvers the entire division went to Camp Atterbury, Franklin Indiana (Indianapolis). I spent about a month at Camp Atterbury. From Camp Atterbury we were transported to Fort Meade, Maryland where we were sent to be replacements. From Fort Meade we went to camp Shanks, NY. I spent a short time at Camp Shanks then was transported to New York City where we waited departure to England.
In New York City I boarded the troop ship Listhesitania for transport to England. Prior to WWII, the Listhesitania, had been a cruise ship. When I boarded the Listhesitania had been refitted to a troop ship and carried 8,000 troops to England. We left New York harbor and sailed unescorted to Glasgow, Scotland. After 4-5 days at sea we docked in Glasgow and I boarded a train for Barnstable, a costal town located in the southwest part of England.
I was in England only a few days when I was transferred to the 327th Glider Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division located in Reading, England. For several months I trained in Glider landings. Bad weather and fog did not allow the gliders to land at the battlefield. Instead of glider transportation I was transported to the front by boat. We landed first at Normandy and then I was transported by truck through France toward Germany.
I did not question my exact position at the time but believe that I was arrived near the German boarder in a village on the Roer River. I spent Christmas here on scout patrol. We were on a hilltop with the river below and our artillery shells were trying to blow up the bridge over the river. The shells were hitting the tree tops and bursting before they reached the river. We were underneath heavy artillery fire. That night on patrol we took 12 German prisoners including women. The next day we were challenged with having to return to our unit without knowing the daily password. It took some negotiation to talk our way back into back across the line into our division.
When the bulge started forming I was transported north into Belgium. I transferred to Company I of the 330th Infantry, 83rd Division. I did not know my exact location. At night we were taken to a wooded area in the Ardennes forest. That night we were deployed to the front line. At daybreak on January 6, 1945 we were given orders to advance to the town of Fraiture. We came out of a wooded area on a hill north or northwest of the town of Fraiture. I recall that it was 1:00 in the afternoon. The day was very clear and cold. The snow on the ground was very deep. I was with a squad of 9 men. My CO was Charles Dimmick. My position was BAR Assistant. The names and info listed below were taken from a small pocket notebook carried by Charles O. Dimmick 36463422, Tech Sergeant, Company I, 330th Infantry, 83rd Division, 1st Platoon, 1st Squad.

S/Sgt L. Teeters, Squad Leader, 35714020
Pfc A. Symanski, 1st Section, 36860392 (Hosp)
Pfc M. Suttles, 2nd Section, 35780021 (?)
Pfc H. Benally B.A.R., 3816540
Pfc Luther Strunk, Assistant, 33465003 (WIA Jan.6 45)
Pfc A. Jacobson, B.A.R., 33764461
Pfc A. Duffer, Assistant, 35699524
Pfc B. Simmoons, Rifle, 35742926
Pfc C. Wissemann, Assistant Leader, 37297652

After proceeding a short distance our scout was wounded by friendly fire and the medics took him back behind the front line. My sergeant then ordered me to be the scout. Everyone’s nerves were on edge. The mission was to take the town of Fraiture. The snow was up to my waist. The six others of the squad followed behind as we slowly made our way through the deep snow. It took several hours to travel the 1-2 miles across the open field to the town that I know was Fraiture. I remember my sergeant kept prodding me to move faster because we were in the open and we were vulnerable. All I could see when crossing the field was a church steeple in the town. We entered the town from behind a farm house. As I entered the town I saw the church, a few houses and one American tank was sitting in the center of town. As I was moving toward the center of town there was mortar fire. I was hit with shrapnel just after passing beside a farm house near the center of town. I remember running back to the farmhouse. Inside the farmhouse medics were working on soldiers who had been wounded before our arrival. (T/Sgt. Dimmick’s notebook listed a 2nd and 3rd squad in the immediate area**)
The medic cut my trousers and found that I had not been seriously wounded. He pinned my trousers back together with safety pins. It was then that I was told my sergeant had been wounded by shrapnel and was lying in the ground near the center of the town. A sniper had been shooting from the inside of the steeple of the church. I realized that the tank that I had seen earlier was sitting in the center of the town was sheltering my sergeant from the snipers fire. The tank had orders to move out and my wounded sergeant was going to be vulnerable. I saw him lying behind the tank. I ran out and gathered pieces of wood and debris to cover him in the hope of providing protection from the sniper’s fire. I managed to make several trips before the tank pulled out. I was wounded in the right arm by the sniper fire when trying to cover Sergeant Dimmick. I made it back to the farmhouse. Later someone else managed to pull him back to the farm house. We stayed in the farmhouse until the medics radioed for medical transport.

The Church of Fraiture (ph. L. Strunk. Sept 2001)

I remember being taken into a communication truck with my sergeant and a few others who were wounded. I could sit but the others had to lie down. It was still daylight. We took with us 45 – 50 prisoners. The prisoners were walking and we were riding in the truck. I recall the prisoners were walking faster than the truck could drive on the snow covered roads. The MP’s were walking with them. I am not certain the direction we took when leaving the town. The next thing I remember I was in a hospital in Paris.
The hospital in Paris was a hospital the US army had taken over. They casted my arm. Sergeant Dimmick developed maggots in his wound. He was in a different part of the hospital. The beds were army issue cots and some iron beds. There were about 20 wounded in a ward. If we were able to get up we did if not we were stuck in our beds. I did not get to see Paris. The only way I knew that I was in Paris was that I was told that was where I had been taken. Sergeant Dimmick and I were transferred back to England on a hospital ship. I was in either Cambridge or Oxford in an Army hospital. After several weeks we were transferred back to the United States on a hospital ship that departed from the port at Southampton, England.
We landed in New York harbor. I was then transported by train to Fort Dix, New Jersey. After several weeks a small group of seven wounded were transferred to Fort Story, Virginia by train. I spent several weeks in a convalescing in the hospital and was discharged from the Army in July of 1945.

** 2nd Squad
S/Sgt E. Caldwell, Squad Leader, 35449471
Pfc H. Jarmson, 1st Section, 31261571
Pfc W. Hutchins, 2nd Squad, 37681799
Pfc A. Traylor, Rifle, 24833757
Pvt J. Palidino, Rifle, 32990721, (Trans)
Pfc Anthony Rogone, Rifle, 33419353, (3rd Squad)
Sgt L. Tedesco, Assistant Squad, 32995446
Pvt Edwin V. Schrader, Riffle, 32478440

** 3rd Squad
S.Sgt Ira Benn, Squad Leader, 31449934 (WIA Jan.3, 45)
Pvt E. Ruble, Scout, 32956087 (MIA Jan.4, 45)
Pfc F. Marciano, B.A.R., 32858146 (MIA Jan.5, 45)
Pfc F. Pollock, Rifle, 36838682
Pfc Anthony Ragone, Rifle, 33419353
Pvt Robert J. Smith, Rifle, 31416002
Sgt E. Salevsky, Assitant Leader, 38826941 (WIA Jan.2, 45)