The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Service to Others and Allegiance to U.S.A.-One Nation Under God
By Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher
The story of Ray Shafer continues after he survives the D-Day invasion June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, France and after he was injured in two heavy battles in Saint Lo, and Siegfried Line. Due to Ray's injuries, he was held back, but then he decided he would be a driver.
Ray drove a semi between the very large shipyard of Scarborough Harbor France to Antwerp Belgium with supplies of gasoline, ammo, food, k-rations, medical supplies. We ran a lot of trucks, hauling all through the night.
It was a foggy morning December 16, 1944 and we were driving ammo to the front lines. We could hear the whistle of artillery fire, and it was not small fire. We could tell how far away it was by how loud it was. Bullets would make a sound like a fire cracker.
The Colonel from the 112th Infantry stopped us and took our ammo because that's where the break-through was at and they were out of ammo. The Germans had opened up fire that morning. They wiped out the 112th Infantry anyway and that's why ammo is so important. The fog had been a deterent and we couldn't get it to them. In Belgium there were five major battles and Ray's company fought in all of them:
3-Battle of the Bulge
5-Central Europe-Elbe River
The war was over then and General Patton called us back. We waited there a good week waiting on the Russians south of where we were.
General Eisenhower came up to where we were at and he said, "Men, there were a lot of heartaches, but," he told us, "We will never lose our country. We won't lose it like this. If we lose it, we'll lose it from within."
We were then detached to the British's 9th Army at the end of the war. Ray served six months in the Army of Occupation in Berlin and they hauled supplies into Berlin. "There was not much left of it," Ray said.
"I volunteered a lot for driving," Ray said. "It was 105 miles from Berlin to the American zone and the Democratic Congress took our guns away from us so we wouldn't intimidate The Russians." Ray said they were walking one night and he got shot at crossing the bridge in his zone.
"I was drinking a Coke and the shot just missed my Coke, but we couldn't defend ourselves." Ray said he ran all the way to his post and when he checked he had five holes in his raincoat.
They called the Police Marshall but couldn't do anything since they were in Russian territory.
After that, our Lieutenant gave us shoulder guns and said, "To H with Congress. They don't know what we're up against.
Ray said when it came time to get his awards and go home, he didn't care about the awards, he just wanted to be home.
[Memories of Ray Shafer will continue next week]