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Fire in the Hole


Another little bit of history.  This time itís all about the Demo Plt (Demolition Platoon) for the 507th Prcht Inf Regt (507th Parachute Infantry Regiment) and three events that occurred.  The 507th Prcht Inf Regt in the States was part of the 1st Abn Brd (1st Airborne Brigade) at Alliance, Nebraska.  


When the 507th went overseas they were attached first to the 82nd Abn Div (82nd Airborne Division) for Normandy then in August 1944 became part of the 17th Abn Div for the reminder of WWII.  Mr. Oscar Brundige was a man I spoke with many times about his time in the 507th Demo Plt.


Even before going overseas the 507th lost men.  The first Demo incident that Cpl (Corporal) Oscar Brundige was there for occurred in Alliance when a Demo soldier was killed by an explosion during a training exercise.  Private Marvin M. Wright was killed June 22, 1943 at 1430.  Private Wrightís body was sent home to Texas to be buried.


Just under a year later Mr. Brundige was there when Cpl Albert Mitchell Jr. was killed June 19, 1944.  Brundige and Mitchell were in foxholes side by side and were talking when some mortar fire came in.  After it was over Brundige asked if Mitchell was fine and got no response.  Cpl got out of his foxhole and walked the few feet over to check on him.  Cpl Mitchell has hit by a piece of shrapnel killing him instantly. 


An interesting aside on this time in Normandy with Mitchell was killed on June 19, 1944 according to all of the records and Brundige was wounded on June 17, 1944 according to the Morning Reports. 


So how could Brundige have been wounded yet two days later with Mitchell was killed?  The July 12, 1944 Morning Report shows Brundige wounded two days before Mitchell was killed.  Here is how. 


Brundige never shows up again coming back to Hq & Hq Co or the 2nd Battalion from his wounds.  It looks like he must have just gone to a Battalion Aid Station, got patched up and come back with the same day or the next and didnít report back in to the Company Clerk.  Brundige went on furlough July 25 with 35 other Hq & Hq men.  He didnít get his Purple Heart until the start of September of 1944.


The third man killed next to now Sgt (Sergeant) Brundige was 2nd Lt (2nd Lieutenant) Jack M. Crites.  2d Lt Crites along with Sgt Brundige and one other Demo man were clearing debris a booby-trap was tripped killing Crites instantly.  Sgt Brundige said he had tried to tell Crites that that area was loaded with booby-traps.


2nd Lt Crites was brand spankiní new and didnít take advantage of Sgt Brundige advice.

That cost Critesí life as seconds later while moving a log a bobby-trap exploded.  So out the three deaths around Brundige, two were accidents and they happened before the 507th was in combat and after the end of the war in Europe.       


What is the moral of this story?  Shut up and listen to the men whoíve been in combat.



Brian N. Siddall

April 17, 2023




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