Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division


Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Division Chaplain

Chaplain Replacements, Service Statistics
And Decorations

Chaplain Murphy had a fine sense of humor.  It was a great help in serving the Clearing Station and the attached Field Hospital.  When he first reported for duty I went to meet him at Naples.  He was wearing one of the most scraggly beards I had ever seen.  When I brought him to the bivouac area I asked Chaplain Roemer to question him about the beard.  I thought that he might belong to some order about which I knew nothing.

It was my duty to introduce him to G1.  Our chaplains had always tried to measure up to the highest impression.  Presently he came and asked to borrow a razor.  It seems that while he was on the transport, he got acquainted with a Jewish chaplain who sported a long beard.  When Chaplain Murphy commented on the beard, the Jewish chaplain accused him of being jealous, because he couldn’t grow one like it.  Chaplain Murphy decided to prove that he could.  In my judgment he didn’t have much success, but he did have a lot of fun.

When the Field Hospital was shelled by the Germans, I asked Chaplain Murphy how the nurses took it.

He replied, “When I got up off the ground, they were still doing their work.”

Despite our best efforts there were times when we were under strength.  In January 1944 we had only twelve chaplains present for duty.  During that year we lost four chaplains through evacuation to the hospitals who were classified as physically unfit for combat duty.  In addition we had three chaplains who spent from one to five months in the hospital.  Nevertheless our chaplains held 1,610 Sunday services with an attendance of 119,321.  Because of combat conditions men could not always attend Sunday service.  So we held 2,793 Week Day religious services with an attendance of 62,067.

The record of our graveside burial services was as follows:

1943   1,153
1944   4,037
1945   924
Total   6,114

This total included many men from attached units, and units that were fighting alongside the 36th Division.

            I do not have a complete record of the decorations that were awarded our chaplains, but I do know that as of September 1944 three chaplains had received Silver Star medals and four chaplains had received Bronze Star medals.


Copyright 2001 by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission

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