Chaplains of the
36th Infantry Division
Chaplain (Colonel) Herbert E. MacCombie
Colonel Claude J. Merrill,
Division Chemical Warfare Officer and Chief of the Liaison Section, was
accompanied by his assistant, Captain Arthur D. Gallupe. They were riding
down a road with Col. Merrill leading. Col. Merrill passed over the road
successfully. Captain Gallupe who was following struck a mine and was
instantly killed. When we came for the body, we found that the French had
secured a coffin and place the body in it. The coffin was covered with
flowers. Some months later the athletic field at Division C.P. was named
in honor of Captain Gallupe.
On September 16th we moved to a
new C.P. at Luxeuil-les-Bains. This was a famous French spa. We were
able to luxuriate in warm baths. It was a great pleasure. It did not
last long. On September 20th we moved to Polombiers, and on September
21st to a new position five miles southwest of Remiremont. September 24th
was a Sunday. In addition to conducting two church services we moved to a
new C.P. at Eloyes.
On September 28th G1 informed
me that I was to represent the Division Commander at a funeral for eight
Maquis at Eloyes. I wrote our short address in English and then
translated it into French. I had our French liaison officer check it for
good French idiom. Accompanied by several Division staff officers I
attended the funeral and brought the greeting of the Division Commander.
I delivered the address in French. Those present seemed to appreciate our
presence and our respect for their brave citizens who had been killed by
On September 26th I submitted a
memorandum to the Commanding General (Thru G1) concerning the policy of
the division in the matter of rotation for chaplains. I pointed out that
only 42% of the officers who came with us overseas were still in the
division. The percentage of enlisted men still with us was 50%. The
percentage of chaplains was 66 and 2/3%. Every chaplain except myself had
seen service with the infantry battalions. (This included Chaplain Roemer
who had been on duty with the 143rd Infantry when Chaplain Quinn was in
the hospital.) The other five chaplains who came overseas with us were
accounted for as follows:
1 Killed in action
1 Wounded in action.
3 Reclassified as physically
unfit for combat duty, after several months of front line duty.
2 of our replacements had
also been killed in action.
In some battalions not over
three or four of the original personnel were still on duty. The chief of
staff stated he did not consider any action necessary, but a memo was sent
to all units stating that chaplains should be considered for rotation on
the same basis as other officers. On October 3rd Captain Douglas N. Boyd,
Personnel Officer of the 143rd Infantry, told me that during the month of
August the name of Chaplain Charles W. Arbuthnot had been submitted for
rotation. He had been told by Major Kelton that chaplains were not
eligible for rotation and his name was withdrawn.
In an interview with Major
Kelton and WO Anderson both denied having stated that chaplains were not
eligible for rotation. I do not know who told the truth. I do know that
no chaplain of the 36th Infantry Division was ever granted rotation. The
same was true for chaplainsí assistants. I had tried unsuccessfully to
secure rotation for Sergeant Sweigert.
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by Mary MacCombie Fietsam
Printed by Permission