A TOUCH OF HOME
American G.I.s everywhere are known to pick up pets, especially dogs, and become quite attached to them. Men of the 443rd were no exception. Even when the unit was in Fort Sheridan in the U.S.A. the unit had a huge St. Bernard as a mascot. Men will remember the 25 mile march to Waukegan when ambulances and 2½ ton trucks were used to pick up those whose feet or will to march all the way simply gave out. On the way back to the post the St. Bernard suddenly dropped on the road and refused to go another step. Of course he was picked up and returned to Ft. Sheridan by truck and upon arrival he jumped down - completely recovered. He learned "the ropes" quickly.
One of the favorite memories is that of a chicken! Seldom has one heard of a chicken as a pet during combat but old "Zombie" roughed it out for over two years. One of the men purchased a chick from an Arab in Port Lyautey and when the unit was ordered to head for the Tunisian front, he gave it to Battery D Mess Sergeant, F.L. Bergan, asking him to take good care of Zombie.
The chicken went through battles in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. Often riding on the 37mm gun barrel, Zombie survived many an air raid with no more harm than the loss of a few feathers. She really found a home with the D Battery kitchen crew. Throughout her travels she rarely missed laying an egg a day! Zombie was introduced to eligible roosters in several countries but it was in Italy when she laid seven fertile eggs and became a setting hen. In preparing vehicles for the invasion of Southern France, Zombie and her nest of eggs was put into a slatted box with food and water to last for a week. She was stored in Battery Ds kitchen truck. Some days later, in France, when it was possible for the kitchen truck to again be operable, Zombie was found loose in the truck with six baby chicks. As might be expected, in due course of time, there was a chicken fry in D Battery.
However, old, battle worn Zombie continued to lay eggs, crouch under the gun-track during air raids and continued to endear herself to the men. During the winter of 1944-45, somewhere in France, a couple of her buddies imbibed too much French wine and shortly afterward poor old Zombie became a chicken dinner. It was reliably reported that tears were shed over the loss of Zombie the famous Ack-Ack chicken who had seven battle stars to her credit!
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