Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division


Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Division Chaplain

Into Southern France

On August 10, 1944 I boarded the USS Dorothea Dix, preparatory to the invasion of France.  My service in Italy was at an end.

On Saturday, August 12, 1944, the Dorothea Dix sailed from Naples for the southern coast of France.  On Sunday, August 13th, I held a joint service with Chaplain MacCormick of the United States Navy.  Two hundred men attended the service.  115 men received communion.

On Tuesday, August 15, I landed on Green Beach at 1130 hours.  We learned that Chaplain Quinn had been hospitalized prior to our departure from Italy.  For this reason I had to assign Chaplain Roemer to duty with the 143rd Infantry until we could get someone to replace Chaplain Quinn.

Our landing at San Raphael was much quieter than our landing had been at Salerno.  However, shortly after I had landed we received word that “the attack on Red Beach has failed”.  This sounded like disaster.  Later we heard that the naval commander had not tried to land on Red Beach, because they had been unable to remove the underwater obstacles.  Instead he landed his troops, the 142nd Infantry, on Green Beach.

Troops, equipment and supplies rolled across that narrow strip all day.  We had air superiority this time.  While I was watching, a lone German plane came over.  I thought it was a silly foray.  What could one plane accomplish?

He dropped one bomb.  It landed on an LST loaded with artillery and ammunition.  There was a terrific explosion.  The ship smoldered for several days.  It was sometime before we could evacuate the dead.  I do not think there were any living.  We bivouacked for the night at San Raphael.

On Wednesday morning we opened a cemetery at San Raphel.  The Graves Registration Service was on hand this time to take charge of the cemetery.  We had collected about fifteen bodies.  In the afternoon we moved with the Division C.P. to the vicinity of LaPuy.  Rapid advance was being made in all sectors.  I visited several medical installations.


Copyright 2001 by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission

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