U.S. Army, 35th Infantry Division
320th Infantry Regiment
American Ex-Prisoner of War
MIA: The Story of Craig Schoeller
Things were a bit stressful on the home front too. Can you imagine how Craig Schoeller's
parents felt when they received the following two telegrams and letter from the War Department?
And to finish, Craig Schoeller tells the story from his viewpoint:
On Dec. 29th 1944 we attacked from Boulside, Lux., 12 miles S.E. of Bastogne. After a few miles we were hit by
heavy 88 fire. Advancing into woods, we were met by small arms fire and mortars. We took a lot of casualties and
I helped a medic attend my best friend who was hit in the chest and both legs. I was hit in the right thigh with
two pieces of shrapnel. We were pinned down by MG fire, crawled away and went out on patrol. When we returned to
our line of defense it was too dark and dangerous to attempt to reach the aid station so I dug my foxhole in the
snow covered, frozen, and rocky ground. I dug all night and by dawn I was down about 3 feet - enough to save me
from a heavy mortar barrage. When it let up, I started to crawl, dragging my wounded leg. After 150 yards, our
captain came along in a jeep and took me back to the aid station, which came under artillery fire.
The pieces of shrapnel wich lodged next to the bone were removed at a field hospital in
Longhy, France. From there I went by hospital train to a hospital in Gramercy. When the hospital was cleaned out
of walking wounded in late Jan. 1945, I left with a bandage and a limp.
I rejoined Company F. 320th along the Roer river. My leg was so weak that I had difficulty
keeping up with the column and gradually drifted to the rear. Then I would get a jeep or truck ride to the head
of the column and the process would be repeated. It took a while to recover the strength in my leg.
Of the 180 or so men who left Metz in late Dec. 1944, I could only recognize about 40.
The rest of the ranks were filled by new replacements and men who returned from wounds received in France.
I was captured a few miles NW of Rheinberg on March 6, 1945. We were riding on tanks, ran
into an ambush and were cut off.
After being under fire by our own 105s and 155s, being bombed by British Mosquito bombers
on the banks of the Rhine, bombed by P-47s and finally by B-17s in the city of Osnabruck, we arrived in Stalag
11B between Bremen and Hannover.
It was a tough two months and we were happy to be liberated by the British 7th Armored
Division, veterans of El Alemein, the "Desert Rats." They broke through the German lines and set up a
defense perimiter around the camp until the main army units arrived. We were flown by RCAF C-47s to Brussels, then
taken by train to Namur and G.I. hands. It was then to camp Lucky Strike and ship transport home. I was in Fort
Bragg training for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.
Craig Schoeller, March