Medics Beyond The Call Of Duty
Lt Col Jack Allen, commander of 3rd Battalion, 393rd Infantry, had his command post on the southwest slope of the Dreiherren forest. The headquarters perimeter also included the battalion aid station. It consisted of a pyramidal tent over a large dugout. The surgeon was Captain Frederick J. McIntyre of Swampscott, Massachusetts. His assistant was 2/Lt Wayne McCoy. The enlisted personnel included two medical NCOs, S/Sgt Harry G. Henderson and Cpl Marion W. Dodson, four medical technicians, T/4 Albert B. Elick, T/4 John J. Falone, T/5 Fred J. Carpenter, and Pvt Robert Williams, plus two surgical technicians, T/3 George J. Moylan and T/3 Braulio P. Moreno.
On December 16, 1944, the German assault pushed the 3rd Battalion back to the battalion CP area where the battered remnants formed a tight, all-around defense. Wounded soldiers flooded the aid station. According to George Moylan:“…it was utter chaos, with so many wounded to take care of we just didn’t know which way to turn. We put our wounded on just about anything with wheels.”
The following day, the situation worsened, and Lt Col Allen received orders to abandon his position and withdraw. Headquarters personnel destroyed papers and non-essential equipment. In the aid station, the scene had become desperate. Wounded who could not be moved lay on stretchers. Capt McIntyre and his medics decided to stay and accompany them into captivity. “…However…,” Albert Elick said, “…before making the decision to stay behind, he gave us the opportunity to retreat along with the remnants of the battalion. We all volunteered to remain…”
Moylan added: “…when the SS moved in, I was busy in the aid station and didn’t see. I expect they were a couple of squads. They were on foot, no vehicles and were not intent on taking prisoners but relented when they saw we had one of them and were treating him… We destroyed just about all our equipment and made it useless for the Germans. I destroyed the contents of my medical bags and buried all in the vicinity of the aid station.”
Several members of 3rd Battalion were among the dead whose remains were never recovered or positively identified. One of these unfortunates had received treatment at McIntyre’s aid station. The first step in searching for this man’s grave was to locate the aid station. Veteran eyewitnesses and wartime documents led the team to the right spot. Several years of excavation produced a large volume of equipment, including medical material from the aid station, dog tags, including one of Sgt Henderson and a complete pistol belt with a Colt .45. Unfortunately, despite a careful search, no human remains ever came to light.
The following set of pictures is a small sample of the items recovered at the site. Logging operations have since destroyed the site.