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M/SGT Richard Dozier Meigs, U.S. Army European Theater

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Joined: Aug 21 2003
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Location: Hayden, AL

PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:12 am    Post subject: M/SGT Richard Dozier Meigs, U.S. Army European Theater Reply with quote

M/Sgt. Richard Dozier Meigs, U.S. Army
Serial Number: 34975804
D.O.B. 13 November 1925

Issued Weapon: M-1 Garand

M/Sgt. Meigs was drafted in 29 March of 1943. He departed his home town of Centreville, (Bibb County) Alabama by bus to Ft. McPherson, Georgia for induction to military service. He had wanted to be in the Navy but was told that quota was full so he was sworn in to the U.S. Army. From there he took 16 weeks of Basic Training in Ft. Riley, Kansas. He was at Ft. Riley on 6 June 1944. He was offered a choice for Advanced Training either in the Horse Cavalry or Mechanized Cavalry. He chose the Mechanized Cavalry and was sent to Camp Buckner, (near Durham) North Carolina, and stayed there until December of 1944. From there he went to Ft. Miles Standish, in Boston, Mass. At this time, he held the rank of Private, in Company B, of the 89th Infantry Division. (3rd Army and later the 7th Army). He does not remember the battalion he was assigned to. They shipped out for England (on board a “Liberty” ship) where they were to complete their basic training. Due to a large portion of the 66th Division being lost in a torpedo attack, they were diverted and landed at LaHarve, France and sent to one of many small posts, this one called Camp Lucky Strike. They stayed there from 10 Jan 45 to 22 Jan 45. All their equipment was in England. It was cold, with snow and rain. They did not have adequate clothing and had to borrow food from other outfits. They had a few canned goods brought from the ship. Someone had stolen a 5# block of cheese, along with some “Franks” and crackers. They kept these items hidden in their duffel bags. Food was so scarce, that if someone in the chow line dropped a slice of bread in the mud, he picked it up, brushed it off and ate it. It was here that Dozier suffered his only physical problem, and that was frostbite. It was a mild case but his sergeant insisted he have a Medic look at it. The Medic advised him to soak it several times a day in hot water. The irony of that is they hardly had cold water to drink.

Sometime in late January or early February they went to Metz through Luxembourg. By now he was a Company First Scout and promoted to PFC. They headed for Germany as part of the Central OPS and had their first major operation at the Mozel River. Their division job was mostly a mop up operation as General Patton was spearheading the drive to Germany with his tanks. When they reached the river, they commandeered some houses and spent the night there. The next day they crossed the river in pontoon boats, and had one man wounded by “friendly” fire. During a change of the guard, one G.I. shot another over the wrong password and sign. There was fierce fighting in the next town they came to with heavy resistance by the Germans. When they came to the 2nd town, it was here, as M/Sgt Meigs describes it, the “Hand of Providence” took over. The company was split 3 ways to enter the town. His normal assignment was First Scout, 3rd Platoon. Because his foot was still swollen from frostbite, he was re-assigned to 2nd Platoon and told to ride in a jeep. The 2nd Platoon was pinned down, the Plt Sgt was killed and several others wounded. The assistant plt. Sgt said some of our troops ran away. As the Nazis surrendered, they were sent under guard to the rear. The Corporal leading the 3rd Platoon (Dozier’s normal position as First Scout) was killed. The next town, before crossing the Rhine River was small with no resistance. Each company was assigned a crossing place. At 3 a.m. the pontoon boats started across under fire and drifted off course. There was lots of resistance here with machine gun and rifle fire, but no mortar or artillery fire. The next morning they assaulted the next town and met strong resistance but took the town before noon. The Lt. cleaned out a machine gun nest with one squad at daylight the next day. They killed one sentry, 2 Germans ran and two surrendered. Dozier carried the prisoners back to the rear and encountered “friendly fire”, hit the dirt, and was finally able to get the prisoners delivered. The same day, the point man for the 2nd Plt., Davott, from Pennsylvania, was shot by a machine gun. After running out of ammunition the German gun crew surrendered. The Lt. was angry, and the quad shot the prisoners. M/Sgt Meigs also noted that they lost “lots” of men to “friendly” fire. They did recon for the next village and had some resistance, but after this they were put on hold, for an unknown reason. The later found out they were waiting on the Russians to advance. After a while Dozier’s Plt. Joined up with the Russians. The Russians did not have much equipment but did have some female troops. Some of the American/Russian troops raped some of the German women. The C.O., a captain, lined up the U.S. troops, allowed the women to pick out the men who committed the crime, and shipped them out. By now the war was over and they were sent back to a staging area for shipment to Japan. Before this could happen the A bomb was dropped and the war was over everywhere. Dozier said while going through the towns they had a saying about themselves, “10 are lootin’ and 2 are shootin’ ” Embarassed; He admitted to bringing back a baby fork, and a Luger pistol. Discharges were on a point system. Dozier did not have enough points to go home so at the staging area was issued new uniforms and given a pass for R&R. He spent 3 days at the Riviera, 3 days in Scotland, England, and Ireland, and then went to Rome and visited the Vatican. After the R&R he was assigned on 4 Nov 46 to the 25th Regulation Transportation Unit. This was railroad transportation with Headquarters in Lentz, Austria. The duties were to transport troops from Vienna, Austria to Munich, Germany and all points between. This route carried them across the Bavarian Alps and the Danube River, which froze in winter. With the new rank of Corporal, Dozier was in charge of the “Mess” car on the trains. It was staffed by civilian cooks. Vienna was partitioned into 4 Allied sections. These trains were “Off Limits” to the Russians. The Elbe River had a Russian checkpoint. The train commander shot a drunk Russian. The trains ran an empty engine and coal tender in front of the main engine, in case of explosives laid by Russian terrorists. The G.I.’s could sell Mickey Mouse watches to the Russians. The Russians liked these watches as they were loud ticking and kept good time. Dozier was now promoted to “Buck” Sergeant and assigned to the railroad office in Vienna. He was there until discharged in November of 1947 at Ft. Miles Standish in Boston after serving a total of 3 years, 7 months and 16 days in the regulator Army. In April of 1950 Sgt. Meigs joined an Army Reserve artillery unit in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and retired from this service as a Master Sergeant (E-8 ) in 1972.

During his tour of active duty, M/Sgt. Meigs was awarded the “Combat Infantry Badge”, ETO Ribbon, 2 River Crossing badges, Good Conduct Ribbon, Army of Occupation badges, and EAME Ribbon with 2 Bronze Stars.
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Joined: Aug 27 2003
Posts: 80

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2016 6:06 pm    Post subject: In Memory, M/Sgt Dozier Meigs, U.S. Army Reply with quote

My close friend since my childhood, Dozier, died October 30, 2016. He would have been 91 on November 13, 2016. He lead an active life up until shortly before his death. His funeral service was conducted by the American Legion with full military honors at the end of the ceremony when Taps was played and his flag presented to his daughter, Sandy Meigs Horsley. In later years when ever I visited with him and was ready to come home, he always said....."Let me tell you something...Jesus loves you, and I do too!" I will always remember him!
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