A DAY OF FOUR PURPLE HEARTS IN THE H+S CO
On March 24,1945, one day after the 150th built the treadway bridge across the Rhine, the Recon Section was sent across to join the combat troops and reconnoiter obstacles, roads and as usual remove minor obstacles. 

Capt. Victor Christensen, Tech Sgt Sylvester Szychulski, Staff Sgt Robert Pearl of Recon were joined by First Sgt Victor Kishalonis for the assignment. 

We left camp early in the morning and crossed the Rhine. At the time there was occasional air attacks by the Germans and our air forces were on the attack. The combat troops were a few miles up the road and I (Bob Pearl) was driving our jeep. 

About five miles up the road, there was about a squad of dead Germans lined up as if in marching order just off both sides of the road. Probably killed by air attack. 

A few miles up the road we came to the infantry working in a town and we joined them. One infantry man shot a German who had been firing out of a lower floor building but most of the battle was on the outer edge of town. We drove around looking for construction materials, stopped to talk to the mayor and Chris told him to get the guns from the local people and keep them in his office to avoid any adverse problems. 

We continued our classification of roads and bridges and worked back to the Rhine in late afternoon. The bridge was only one way so we had to go a short way along the river to catch a ferry boat. At the landing I had to back the jeep up a ridge to go into the ferry boat backwards and wait for arrival of the boat. Parked, Chris and Kish turned around on the back end and dropped their legs down the back. Syl turned sideways, facing right and rear. I got out and went to the back end and stood facing the river. 

At about this time the Germans decided to attack the crossing by air and one of their planes was shot down. We were watching the plane and then the pilot who bailed out and his chute neveropened. About the time the pilot disappeared, a flutter bomb landed right near to the rear of our jeep. 

I heard the bomb go off. A large piece made a noise as it went by my head. There were a few stings on my legs and under my arms but no pain. Then Chris said, "I've been hurt" and stepped off the jeep, limped out a few yards and sat down. I went to him in a moment and he said "look at Syl. He's out on the ground." Then I went to Syl. He was on the ground with a hole in his helmet a bump and slight cut on his forehead. He came to and got up. 

I went immediately to Chris but his leg looked bad. Then Kish who was on the ground by then said I'm hit too. I told them I'd get help, went about fifty yds to a white tent and told the medics that we needed help. Others were hurting but when I got back Chris and Kish were being loade and taken to a hospital. Chris had a wicked looking cut on one leg. Later I heard that Kish had 57 pieces.I never saw or heard from Chris or Kish again. 

Shortly, the Ferry showed up. I thought we had two low back tires and the pilot didn't want us on the boat but Syl got in and backed into the boat and we returned across the Rhine. 

It was not the end of the day. After driving thirty miles back, we found that our part of H+S had moved up close to the Rhine. Syl checked in with the doctor and after taking care of him, the Doc saw the tiny holes in my shirt and pants. He found a few burns and a couple of scratches. So it was four purple hearts for H+S. 

Robert W. Pearl

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