Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division
Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Farewell To Major General Walker
When we were moving north of
Rome we came to a road junction. Division Headquarters took the left hand
fork. The 141st Infantry took the right hand fork. After we had gone
several miles north of that point, I decided it was necessary for me to go
to visit the 141st.
I studied my map and discovered
a connecting road some miles north of the junction. I thought I could use
that road and save myself time and mileage. I took the road. I held my
conferences and started back over the same road. I was stopped.
One of the officers told me,
“That is what we are fighting for. The road is mined. You had better go
the long way around.”
Later on they took thirty mines
out of the road I had traversed so confidently. Someone UP THERE must
have been taking care of me.
On June 16th I went to Grosseto
to visit the Aid Stations and the collecting points. As we were riding
along the road the German artillery opened up on me. One shell landed
ahead of me. Another behind me. They had me bracketed. Fortunately just
ahead there was a stone building. As we passed behind it, I ordered my
driver to stop. Sure enough another shell landed just where I would have
been, if we had not stopped. I waited a few minutes to perplex the enemy
and then took off fast. We were safe.
During this period we changed
our bivouac area almost every day. It was exciting. Finally we got to
where we could see Livorno in the distance. Then on June 25th the Chief
of Staff announced that the Division was being pulled out of action that
The next day we received the
sad news that General Walker was to be relieved of command. Every one of
us was shocked. How could they relieve of command an officer who had been
so successful? Personally I thought he was best commanding officer I had
ever known, and I had served under many commanding officers.
Later I attended his farewell
party in Rome. The chaplains of the division had a special meeting with
him when we presented him with a scroll of appreciation. I attended his
final review. Things were never quite the same again. I had lost not
only a superior commanding officer, but one whom I had appreciated as a
Many years later he sent me a
greeting card signed “With admiration and respect”. I felt it was the
highest accolade I had ever received.
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by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission