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AMERICA SLEEPS SAFE BECAUSE OF THE ACTION OF SUCH SOLDIERS



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AMERICA SLEEPS SAFE BECAUSE OF THE ACTION OF SUCH SOLDIERS

AMERICA SLEEPS SAFE BECAUSE OF THE ACTION OF SUCH SOLDIERS
By Dean Draper
November 11, 2009

Teddy L. Nielson, 92, now of Delta, enlisted in the Army leaving his home in Oak City behind for four years, seven months and 20 days.

Nielson enlisted in the Army before World War II started. Inducted at Ft. Douglas in Salt Lake City he was soon sent to Fort Ord, CA, where he was assigned to the 76th Field Artillery Battalion-horse drawn. The camp held 35,000 soldiers with General Stillwell commanding.

Nielson was trained to operate French 75--officially known as the 75 mm Field Gun, Model of 1897 (French).

“Our training consisted of manning a French 75 horse-drawn field artillery piece, caring for horses, the firing and qualifying of a Colt pistol and a Springfield 30.06. We were later mechanized and our training started all over again,” said Nielson.

Before switching to trucks and more modern 105mm cannon, Nielson had many experiences with the horse-drawn artillery piece.

“I drove the swing team. The cannon was pulled by six horses. I rode the left horse of the second pair, the swing team. There were reins to the off horse, the rider less horse to the right,” said Nielson. “I can say I rode a horse across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.”

On July 3, 1943, Nielson’s battalion embarked for France and then on to Belgium. He and John “Pop” Harry Darrington were called to take the truck, or “prime mover,” for duty on the Redball Express.

“We hauled supplies from Cherbourg up through France for six weeks moving ammunition and gasoline to the front lines to supply Gen. Patton. We spent 30 days and nights in the truck. We drove those night hours blackout (without lights) up the route along the Seine River. The road crossed the river many times. One time we had this load of gasoline and ammunition (we were not supposed to have both) and the M.P. jumped on the running board of the truck and said, “[They are bombing that bridge up there.” I said, “’What am I supposed to do about it?’ and we kept going. That happened at 2:00 AM in the morning and we arrived safely at our destination,” said Nielson.

Nielson was eventually stationed near Bastogne operating a 105mm artillery piece. They ran out of ammunition and were supplied with a British 25-pounder for which there was ample ammunition.

“We fired 125,000 rounds through the 105mm and about 70,000 rounds through the 25-pounder,” said Nielson.

“We started with about 24,000 men and only 4000 came away from the battle. I’ve seen a lot of death,” Nielson said. “There were 80,000 German casualties in the battle of the Bulge and about 150,000 Allied casualties.”

While in Germany, Nielson spent time at the front with the artillery both fighting and just waiting. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge fought in sub-zero weather. His ingenuity kept himself and his buddy, dry, somewhat warm and fed.

“During the day we made a fire with the extra powder we had from the guns. We could dry our clothes and warm ourselves. There was a potato patch by us so we would dig them and roast them when we got hungry. We would do this during the day and not at night so the Germans would not be able to spot our fire and know our position,” Nielson said.

Near the end of the war Nielson was injured in a vehicular accident. An inexperienced sergeant insisted on driving. He managed to overturn the truck with 14 men riding in the rear. Two were killed, two suffered broken backs and other injuries occurred. Nielson was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was told he was going home.

I was held up for 30 days while the longshoremen were on strike in France at a debarkation port named after some brand of cigarettes,” Nielson said. “The ship we crossed the Atlantic on was a captured German tender for the famous Graf Spee.”

Nielson is one of those dedicated citizens who set an example of faithfulness. Until this year he never missed a call to duty from the American legion, Disabled Veterans, or Veterans of Foreign Wars of which he holds life membership in each. His niece Roberta Dutson said of Ted, “He is the parade.” Meals at the Nielson home revolved around ceremony times on holidays.

Nielson’s thoughts about Veterans Day are these:

“I love this country. There is a lot of blood spilt to keep our freedom. People do not know or appreciate what the soldiers are going through now. People need to salute the flag again.”

Unpleasant duty contributing to both good and bad times for the rest of their lives is a common thread for all veterans. Next time one is in a room or on the side of the street with the flag, symbol of our country, going by remember to salute and send a thank you to the veterans who are surely nearby



Click on the below Homepage links:

11TH CAVALRY PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1919 TO 1940
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11th Cavalry Presidio of Monterey, 1919 to 1940


76TH FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, 1922 TO 1940
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76th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Battalion


FORT ORD U.S. ARMY STATION VETERINARY HOSPITAL (HORSE) WW2
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Fort Ord U.S. Army Station Veterinary Hospital (Horse) WW2


THE ARMY VETERINARY SERVICE DURING THE GREAT WAR, WW1
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The Army Veterinary Service During the Great War, WW1


SERGEANT LEONARD MURPHY VETERINARY HOSPITAL NO. 18, A.E.F., WW1
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Sergeant Leonard Murphy Veterinary Hospital No. 18, A.E.F., WW1





U.S. ARMY VETERINARY CORPS HISTORICAL PRESERVATION GROUP

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group is a group of individuals that are concerned about the preservation of the History of the Veterinary Corps, Remount Service and Cavalry or wherever our country’s history is being lost in conjunction with our beloved “Horse and Mule”. There is no cost to join and membership is for life. We believe by uniting together in numbers we will be a more powerful force to be heard. Our membership list is private and only used to contact our members. Email us and become a member.

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U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Historical Preservation Group