36th Infantry Division Association

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

The 1998 Battlefield Tour
- Page 8 -

Ray Wells
Company H
141st Infantry Regiment

Tuesday April 28th after a good nights rest at the Hotel Mercure in Colmar and another complete breakfast we boarded our bus on the way to Lemback where we were to visit the Peace Garden. Traveling through villages and towns such as Kogenheim Strasbourg, Hagenau, Oberoffen and Mertswiller we arrived in Lemback where we were greeted by the Mayor and a group of village dignitaries.

After the usual ceremonies which included champagne and food we were escorted to the Peace Park where we were all honored by helping to plant a few trees in the park in the name of continued peace.

After a great dinner we were escorted to part of the Maginot fortifications which was located near the village. You have to see these fortifications to appreciate the magnitude of the project which after many years of labor and a great deal of money did no good when it came to keeping the Germans from taking over the country.

From this wonderful reception we departed for Germany with a stop in Wiesenberg to change our Francs for Marks. On to Heidelberg where we were settled into the Rega Hotel.

Heidelberg is a University town and during the war received very little damage. It is a beautiful City with very interesting buildings and architecture. We had dinner and breakfast at the hotel. A morning city tour of Heidelberg was provided including a visit up the funicular to its famous castle. After a very interesting tour of the castle grounds we had time for shopping and a lunch before we motored on our way to Munich with plans to visit the famous Hofrauhauss that same evening.

Arriving in Munich we were booked into Hotel Ambiente which is near the Bonhauf which is the train station and not far from the famous Hofbrauhaus. We had time for a leisurely lunch and a walk about the area and to get ready for a fine old time at the Hofbrauhaus that evening where we enjoyed a great German dinner and entertainment by a Bavarian musical.

The German band when they found that we were in the audience played "Deep in the Heart of Texas". Remember that song during the war? Many Texans began to believe that it was the new National Anthem. Everyone was treated to a large stein of famous German beer and some even tried a few more of this, the champagne of all beers. A great fun time was had by all, even though we finally realized that this wonderful tour would soon be over and we would be gong our separate ways. But, the tour wasn’t over yet

April 30th a full days excursion through the beautiful country of Bavaria was planned which included Landsberg where the Division served on occupational duties. This excursion took us through such famous and popular tourist areas such as Oberammergau (site of the famous Passion Play), Neuschwanstein Castle which was Disney’s model for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Garmish-Partenkirchen which was an R&R Center for the Occupation troops.

On the way back to Munich our tour guide, Dennis Ross, always on the look out for interesting places for us to enjoy, took us by a Church which when we went into the Church was so beautiful that it took your breath away. In my opinion it far exceeded the Sisteen Chapel in Rome. Another plus for our tour.

Our wonderful adventure came to an end with a farewell dinner in Munich. Early Friday morning and for some of us it was 4:30 AM wakeup call, an early breakfast with sack lunches. Our faithful Dennis Ross loaded us on the bus, still driven by our driver, Maurice, and escorted us to the Munich Airport where we said a fond farewell to our friends whom we had bonded with during the tour of our dreams.

American soldiers look down on the Siegfried Line
"Then came the big day when we marched into Germany-right through the Siegfried Line."
This Nazi officer is eating his words, and a can of C-rations, in the ruins of Saarbrucken. Germany, 1945. 
A German girl is overcome as she walks past the exhumed bodies of 
some of the 800 slave workers murdered by SS guards near Namering, Germany, and laid here so that townspeople may view the work of their Nazi leaders.
Above pictures: Still Pictures Branch. National Archives at College Park, Maryland.
The Battle Field Tour Group of 36th Division veterans in front of the Memorial, American Military Cemetery, Draguignan, France.
After saying goodbye to all of us, Dennis boarded the bus again to return to the hotel where he was to escort the rest of our group to the airport later that same morning. This tour which was in the workings for over two years, in my opinion was exceptional. If there is another one just like it, a lot of work and dedication will have to go into making it so.

My thanks to Hal and Andy Ryder and the Staff of Galaxy Tours, and to our Tour Guide Dennis who made sure that we were all entertained and kept safe during the tour, to the drivers of our buses and to the people in Italy and France whose loyalty and love for the 36th Division added so much to the success of the trip and last but not least to everyone of the Veterans and their families who not once during the whole time made even one little complaint but just said "IT JUST CAN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS’. Ray Wells


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To contact the 36th Division Association
send email to rwellsbob@aol.com 
This World War II history is sponsored and maintained by TMFM