My Dad was born in 1924. He was raised in Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. He was drafted in late 1942. He was a PFC assigned to the 314th Regiment, Company I of the 79th Division. He, like most other Veterans did not talk about his war stories. One day in the early 1970s, when my brother Mark & I were young, maybe 10 and 12 years old, we were all sitting on our front porch of our house on Long Island. Out of the blue my Dad decided to tell us the story. He referred to this as "The Dink". He said he lived with this noise all his life and it always bothered him.
His platoon was in a small village somewhere in France, during what we now know as the Battle of the Bulge. They really had no idea where they were. During a snowstorm they were in a battle all day. Although the battle was still going on not far from them, they were exhausted and trying to find a safe place to get some sleep. It was around 5:00 AM, they had a point man and a rear point man. My Dad was taking up the rear point position. The area of this village they were in had very narrow streets. My father was about 30 yards behind his platoon, which was about 20 guys. With all the noise of the battle still going on around them, somehow a German Half-Track got in between him and his platoon. He ran for cover down a very small alley between two houses. The Half-Track stopped right at the alleyway he was in. He saw they were about open fire with the top mounted machine gun. My Dad was hiding behind a 50 gallon drum or garbage cans when he saw this. There were two guys on top. One was the gunner and one guy was going to feed the machine gun. As the gunner was about to open fire my father stood up and shot the gunner from less than 30 feet away. He hit the guy in the left temple. The bullet when through the helmet which caused the sound of the dink. The guy who was to feed the machine gun grabbed the machine gun, swung it around toward my father. Thankfully the alley was dark so the guy really couldn't see. My father had the standard issue M-1 rifle which had 14 shots, but you had to put one in the chamber after each shot. So as quickly as he shot the first guy, he put another round in the chamber stood up again and shot the other guy in the face. It was his only shot, the steel plate in front of the machine gun covered the guys body. The guy saw my father stand up but my father pulled the trigger first. It was kill or be killed. Obviously the sound of my Dad's rifle fire alerted his4 platoon of this. The driver of the Half-Track could not turn or move the truck because of the narrow streets, so the guy jumped out and took off. One of the other platoon soldiers chased him down and killed him.
My Dad said the guy he shot in the face was only 16 or 17 years old. My Dad was 20. My Dad's Sergeant put him in for a medal but he did not receive his Bronze Star Metal until 1953. My Dad was Honorably discharged in 1946.
Subnitted by son, Bob Thomas