Carl L. Shell

Carl Linden Shell was born November 17, 1925 and grew up in Virginia, Kentucky. His father was a coal miner in around Hazards, Kentucky and Carl volunteered at the age of 16 rather than go work in the mines. After volunteering he was send to Fort Riley where they were forming the 9th Armored Division. Carl became a tank gunner but every tank crew member was trained to fill in all the positions so, in case of emergency, he could be loader or he could drive the tank.
In 1943 his unit went on desert training to the California desert. At first they used the M3-tanks that only had a 60° traverse on the main gun but later on they received the M4's. After California they were sent to Fort Polk, Louisiana for swamp training, this was in case they were sent to the Pacific.
August 26, 1944 he left the US on the Queen Mary, he landed at Hampton, England and was put in the Tidworth Barracks. Being stationed there they drew their tanks and test fired them. After some time in England they were put on LST's and landed at Omaha Beach on
From there on they drove right through France and made first contact beyond Paris. From then on it was regular combat until they reached Lignieuville, where Carl's unit was stationed when the Battle of the Bulge broke out. When the Germans attacked Carl was on watch and he ran out to tell everybody that they were attacking. Some of the crew was sitting inside the tank asleep, so Carl jumped on the 50 Caliber on top of his tank and burned up a belt of ammo before he could stop. After that it was just survival. During the Battle of the Bulge Carl got his first German tank, a Mark IV, he felt pretty good but especially glad he got the German and not the other way around.
About a month later they were pulled back to Verdun to get the tanks fixed, reequip and get in the needed replacements. After all this was done they continued their attack towards the Rhine and Czechoslovakia. Carl was with the first tanks to cross the Remagen Bridge.
At the end of the war Carl's unit had reached Carlsbad in Czechoslovakia. After VE day they started cleaning their equipment and rotating people back to the States. He got a 15 day leave but was reassigned to the Pacific and was on the boat going there when the war ended.
When he got back home he just walked in, his duffel bag over his shoulder, almost giving his parents a heart attack. He went to work with his dad in the mines for some time but told him that he rather fought wars than go back inside a mountain so he reenlisted in Norfolk, Virginia. He choose to go on overseas duty and served with the Big Red One for 15 years in Germany. Carl told himself that he would discharge when he had reached the top of the ladder, which he did in 1963 being a Command Sergeant Major.
Carl married a German girl in 1954 and adopted two children that now have families themselves. Catharina died in 2001 but remarried his current wife Laura in 2009. Carl and Laura currently live in Junction City, Kansas.