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"You get used to the dead. I mean, you'd be surprised at how you become immune to it." (1993 Interview, 1:05:02)

   Luther E. Hall
Image of Luther E. Hall
Luther Hall at time of service
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: C Company, 370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division
Service Location: European Theater
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Luther Hall was drafted in February 1941 and was already a sergeant at Fort Huachuca when all the elements of the 92nd Division assembled there in late 1943. He describes several dismaying incidents of prejudice that took place when the Division went on maneuvers in the South. In Italy, the company kept losing commanders to enemy fire, and Hall was briefly put in charge at one point. One of his assignments was to keep tabs on the casualties; because replacements arrived during the night, he sometimes saw a soldier for the first time when he was already dead. He tolerated men going AWOL for a few days at a time to clear their heads, as long as they understood that time missed was time they wouldn't be paid.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (9 clips)
»Interview conducted 11/1/1993 
Download: audio (181 min.)
»Additional Interview conducted 10/25/2004  (75 min.)
  Photos
»Photo Album (2 photos)
 Official Documents
»Award of Bronze Star Medal [8/30/1945]
 Other Materials
»View List (2 items)
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»Buffalo Soldiers
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (9 items)
Going to Louisiana on maneuvers; living outside; staying in Anniston, Alabama; while they were out, locals burned down building containing their extra clothes and personal possessions; encountering segregation in a tavern divided by a wall, with the smaller portion for blacks; assigned to pick up an AWOL soldier in Mobile; segregation in bus station and on the bus. (10:02) Casualty losses in his unit; losing two white officers to snipers in the first couple of months; after second company commander was killed, no one to operate the company, so it fell to him for a couple of days; replacement commander and troops very inexperienced; technicalities of declaring a deceased soldier as officially dead; losing 24 or 25 men; suddenness of death; recovering three corpses at night before the Germans could get to them; sight of corpses in camp was demoralizing; importance of camaraderie; not forcing his men, making it clear if they didn't show up for morning call, they wouldn't be paid for that day; officer killed by friendly fire when he didn't answer with the day's password. (16:59) End of a break from the front, returning to the action in the Serchio Valley; C rations; some men ate all their meals at once, figuring they'd be dead the next day; keeping track of the living, missing, and the dead. (07:05)
Close call during a street fight; another one while riding on a tank. (02:38) His luck at not getting killed; irked by the Italian men who just quit fighting and sat around the cafes while he and his buddies marched by on their way back to the front; struck by poverty of the country, after it was raided by withdrawing German army; giving away his rations to the locals. (05:38) How his work in the Civilian Conservation Corps and serving in the army made a man out of him; Army also changed his daily habits-rising early, getting a lot done each day. (01:35)
[Secondary Interview conducted 10/25/2004] The kind of leader his platoon leader Vernon Baker was; ordered to take Hill X, Baker ran into German soldiers, captured 3, killed 8; going to Washington in 1999 to see Baker get his medal. (01:48) [Secondary Interview conducted 10/25/2004] How he got married while stationed in Arizona: his bride took train from Indianapolis to Tucson; getting special permission to be wed in Bisbee, closest big town to Ft. Huachuca' confined to quarters on his "honeymoon." (11:17) [Secondary Interview conducted 10/25/2004] Their first action in Italy; relieving a company ambushed by Germans while trying to cross a river; night patrol recovering bodies from the river bank; corpses left out in the open damaged the moral of his men; learning lesson about dealing with casualties; could not report a man dead until he actually laid eyes on his body; one of his men going AWOL for a couple of days; Hall's rule was that if you didn't move on with the company, you weren't paid for time you missed. (08:50)
  
 Other Materials (2 items)
Certificate of Appreciation from the VFW [2/18/2002] Certificate of Appreciation from the VFW [2/19/2001] 
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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