Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division


Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Division Chaplain

Death Of Chaplain McDaniel

On Friday, November 27th, 1943 I made a trip to the Clearing Station, the 36th Recon Troop and the Division Forward position.  On the way back to my office I met Chaplain Harley R. McDaniel of the Division Artillery.  He was standing at a road junction talking to two enlisted men.  One was seated on the ground.  One was in a stooped position.  Chaplain McDaniel was standing erect.

I suggested to them that a road junction was a poor place for a conference.  Sooner or later the enemy was sure to lay down an interdicting fire.  They thought they were safe, so I left them and went on my way. When I reached my office Sergeant Sweigert reported that Chaplain McDaniel had been killed.

I told him, “I don’t like you to circulate latrine rumors like that.  I was talking with Chaplain McDaniel less than fifteen minutes ago.  I know where he is.  Come with me and I will show you that he is still alive.”

When we got to the junction, we found that the sergeant’s report was true.  Shortly after I had left, an artillery shell landed on the road junction.  The man who was seated was unharmed.  The man who had been stooping had his helmet torn off, but except for a headache, was alright.  Chaplain McDaniel was killed by a shell fragment in his stomach.

After that I was more insistent in my suggestions to my chaplains.  Sometimes it is dangerous to be too “nice”.


Copyright 2001 by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission

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