These are stories with Sergeant Sylvester Szychulski, a five striper, who is nicknamed Syl. He came to H&S Company from C Company and was assigned to Recon. He came as a Staff Sergeant but soon got an additional stripe. Syl was a few years older than most of us, had been a member of our cadre, and was super knowledgeable about army engineering.

The first time Syl and I worked together, we were assigned to reconnoiter an area that was under attack by our infantry outfit. The Germans were on the defense and the line between us was a railroad track. Some of our infantry had gone through an opening under a bridge across the track, been shot at and were lying down wounded. The Germans were firing on one side and some of our guys were firing. One of the guys said I'll go get the wounded if you'll recommend me for a medal. Then Syl said "Don't you guys have someway to call the artillery to send some fire." Some one said yes but the guy who does is up on the hill, done in, and none of us know how". Syl took off, got the equipment, made the call and the artillery shook the Germans loose and some surrendered. Syl and I left and continued doing the reconnaissance but it was Syl's knowledge that quickened the offensive and probably saved some lives.

Another time, Syl and I were out front with the infantry and I believe we were with the 35th Division and it was attacking a German SS Group. We drove up a road into a town with houses on the left, an open meadow on the right about twice the length of a football field and slightly wider, and then still on the right, across the meadow, there were two railroad tracks. one was a small one, a storage track, with three or more oil cars with a boxcar attached. Then there was the main line that went by the meadow with a fence on the right then opening with a small set of trees and an untreated meadow area with some woods. Syl and I drove up the road, passed the houses, passed the railroad cars and the infantry was working in the woods across the tracks. We parked the jeep and went over to check the railroad. Syl went one way and I went the other back toward the rail cars. About a hundred yards into the woods a group of German SS soldiers had dug a small trench, covered themselves with branches, let our boys go by and then fired at them. I don't remember our casualties but our infantry had turned, fired, and wounded some of the Germans. Our boys were some hot about the secret German assault, and dragged a couple of wounded Germans up to the fence and through the barbed wire fence and then took them all over to the prisoner of war area across the railroad for investigation and medical service. Syl and I went back to our jeep and almost got out of town when a German airplane came down, hit the meadow between our road and the railroad and went between our vehicle and the oil cars and blew up. One of the houses had the side blown off and some children came out injured and crying. The airplane was completely destroyed and had split in pieces as it hit and rumbled along the meadow. The boxcar, attached to the oil cars was on fire, and we started over to see what we could do to get it away from the oil cars. About that time a bunch of engineers showed up and Syl seemed to know them and they him and they could have been part of C Company. At any rate they let Syl take charge and he went between the cars and unhooked the boxcar and the rest of us pushed it back away from the oil cars. The day finished we went back to H&S.
By Bob Pearl

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