A WW2 Remembrance of an Old 2nd US Cav Trooper, 1941-1945, A Personal Account
I was “asked” to join the US Army in Jan of 1941. Got an extension until July of ’41 as I had some wheat out. I was inducted at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. and then sent to Ft. Riley, to serve with the 2nd Cav.
Was in several troops along the way and finally ended up in Machine Gun Troop. And for those of you who didn’t have horses in the Cav, we did and they got treated better than we did. But we did love those horses. Shortly after Dec 7, 1941 we boarded a train with the horses to guard the border in Arizona. And this was quite an experience. Finally during the spring of 1942 we were told we were going back to Fort Riley…only we didn’t take the horses with us. Got back to Ft. Riley and found that all the horse barns had been turned into tank barns.
From then on I became a member of the 9th Arm’d Div., 2nd Tank Bn, Co D. [editors note: the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was deactivated at this time and the men and equipment used to form 2nd Tank Battalion] We trained a set of rookies that were shipped off and then got a 2nd set of them which we kept. We went to the Desert Maneuvers and from there to the maneuvers at then Camp Polk, LA. Got to go to a parade in New Orleans with the tanks and that was something for a farm boy from Kansas. From Camp Polk we went to NJ where we left for Scotland on the Queen Mary. From Scotland we went to England where we drew new equipment and waited for our turn to land on the beach. After working our way through the hedge rows we went through Paris with our tanks. My youngest brother was killed in Oct of 1944 only a few miles from where I was but it took almost a month for me to find out. I had 5 brothers and 3 sisters and 4 of my brothers plus me were all in the service, 1 in the Pacific, one in Australia (who went in the service the same day I did and after being inducted at Ft. Leavenworth we didn’t see each other again for almost 5 years), 1 in Africa and Italy and the youngest brother John and I in Europe. In Dec. of 1944 we were ordered to the area around Bastogne.
Our light tanks were ordered to guard a road crossing and not to leave the area for any reason. When the big Tiger Royals started in on us it was something else. You could read a newspaper all night long with the firepower around you.
Finally about the 18th of Dec. we ditched our tank and threw a grenade in it and took off on foot with nothing with us as we were out of shells of any kind and no food. It took almost 2 weeks for the Germans to catch us but they finally did. We have snow and cold but nothing like they had in the Bulge. I have never been that cold since and never want to be. I am the only one left out of my tank – the other 3 did come back after being POW’s but they have all since died. I was on a forced march across Germany for most of the 149 days I was captured but finally did end up at Stalag IVB – there’s lots on the web about this POW camp and some pictures. I weighed about 185 pounds when I was captured and when liberated I weighed less than 90 pounds. I never saw a Red Cross pkg. and the best meal I had was cooked by some women who gave up their meal for us in a factory of female prisoners. It was barley and water and some awful looking bread but it was the best food I’d had in a long time. I am now almost 85 years old and have had some major medical problems this year but doc says I can still kick butt so guess I’m doing fine.
[Editors note: Since writing this article Sam has ridden on to Fiddler’s Green.]
5 thoughts on “Old 2nd Cav Trooper’s Remembrance”
Dear Mr. Boese,
My father, Ferdinand W. Langhorst, was also stationed in Fort Riley and broke/trained horses in the calvary during the beginning of WWII. He was in Company B. He later trained in the amphibious tanks and was sent to the Philippines where he fought in the battle of Leyte at the end of WWII. I wonder if you ever met my father or have any memories of him? Would appreicate knowing. Thank you so much. Crystal Luomanen
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment Crystal. Thank you also for your father’s service to our country and the 2nd Cavalry, and the great information.
I’m sorry to say, like so many of our WW II veterans, I believe Sam Boese has passed away. We lost contact with him awhile back.
I don’t have very much information about the period your father was in, and there is little if any information on the internet. This was a major transition period for the 2nd Cavalry as they changed from horses to vehicles and rushed to prepare for war. The 2nd Cavalry was rushed, with horses, to guard the Mexican border shortly after the Japanese bombed Hawaii December 7, 1941. It was feared the Japanese might invade the U.S. through Mexico with much of our Pacific fleet laying at the bottom of Pearl Harbor and unable to protect the west coast. When the 2nd Cavalry returned to Ft. Riley later in the spring of 1942, the horses were left in Arizona. On July 15, 1942, the 2nd Cavalry Regiment was deactivated. Your dad would have been transferred to the 9th Armored Division at this time, as was the majority of men and equipment from the 2nd Cavalry.
The new unit formed from these men was the 2nd Armored Regiment. On 9 October 1943 this unit was broken up into several new units. The first battalion, which your dad must have been in, became the 776th Amphibious Tank Battalion and was released from attachment to the 9th Armored Division and sent to the Pacific Theater to fight as an independent battalion. It was the only unit formed from the old 2nd Cavalry to fight in the Pacific. The 776th was deactivated 21 January 1946 and its battle honors were returned to the 2nd Cavalry 8 January 1951. The Regimental Standard, our unit flag, carries two attached Pacific Theater banners for the Leyte and Ryukyu campaigns, and C Troop, the troop I served in, displays the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, all earned by the 776th Amphibious Tank Battalion.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your service to this country. May we become a people worthy of your sacrifice.
My father also served in the 2nd mounted calvary. His name was Harold Hoyt Talley. If you remember him, please let me know.
5 Mar 2013
I am searching for my old friend, Sgt John A Cox 6932653, Co. C, 2nd Cav, based in Yuma, AZ 1942. I was 9 yrs old, and he was my hero. We corresponded until my last letter received on 17 Mar 44, Camp Bowie, TX. He called me his mascot.
He left his horses in Yuma for Camp Beal, CA, and armored Cavalry. Later he was sent to Co A 40th Tank Bn, Camp Bowie, TX. I believe he must have been sent overseas after that. I never heard from him again.
I hope he is still living, and that I can again contact him to learn of his war experiences and his life afterward.
Dave my Grandfather was in 2nd tank batallion ww2 and was captured in the battle of the bulge. If I read the 9th armored history there were only 12 captured if that is true then Sam Boese, my Grandfather Raymond Tuschhoff, his buddy Edgar Jarvis would have been part of the 12. He passed when I was 5 and never told my Father or Grandmother any thing. I am looking for any information or contacts to try to get his involvement and try to answer many questions. When he was captured he was sent to Stalag 4b. I have Been looking for morning reports,AA reports,or rosters to pinpoint when he was captured and what happened. Thank you and the Greatest Generation for there selfless sacrifices as the more I learn the prouder I become of my Grandfather. These were truly brave Heroes.