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Patriotic Duty

A glimpse into history

Created date

February 23rd, 2015
residents with students posing for a group shot


As a college student and member of the Enlisted Reserve Corps, Don Reynolds was called to fight in May 1943. He was first assigned to a tank unit at Ft. Knox, Ky., but at 6 feet, 4 inches, he was too tall for the escape hatch at the bottom of the tank. 

He then received battlefield training and administrative classes to prepare him for duties with ADSEC, a U.S. Army logistical agency attached to the U.S. First Army in the European Theater of Operations. He would use these skills to supply the rapidly moving U.S. Army en route to the Rhine.

“After the Normandy landings, we were responsible each night for determining what supplies were needed and making sure the troops got them,” he says. “When we arrived at Normandy, our U.S. forces were firing on the Carentan Bridge. Throughout the war, bridges were fought over. At that time, the U.S. needed the bridge to get our men, tanks, and supplies off the beach. We were headquartered there. The enemy, on the other hand, wanted the bridge to move tanks and artillery to destroy us on the beaches.”

During his time in Normandy, Don’s ADSEC engineers rebuilt the strategically important deep-water port in Cherbourg, captured by the Allies on June 30, 1944. ADSEC rebuilt the railroad lines out of Cherbourg, for what was called the “Tout Suite Express,” as well as an enormous truck convoy system known as the “Red Ball Express.” 

“It was our job to ensure that we got our supplies where they needed to go,” he says. “And it was tough considering how fast General Patton and the infantry were advancing.”

After almost two years of service, Don returned home in December 1945. 

“My most vivid post-war memory was the display of New York harbor fire boats saluting our troop ship with huge red and blue water spouts as we edged to the dock.”