Donald Bruce Reynolds Sr, was born in Morgan, New Jersey on January 10, 1924. Donald’s Father served during WWI, but never spoke of his service. Donald knew he was gassed and had trouble breathing but not much more.
While in college he was in the Enlisted Reserve Corps (ERC) Second Service Command of NY, NJ and Delaware. He went through Basic Training in Camp Upton, NY, and then was transferred to Fort Knox, KY to begin training in tanks. Due to Donald’s 6’4” height, he couldn’t fit through the escape hatch on the bottom of the tank. Donald was reassigned to begin training as a clerk, due to his Journalist education in college.
Donald next found himself at Fort Standish in Boston, MA preparing to set sail on the USS Washington enroute to Liverpool, England. Upon arrival, they were placed on a train and sent to Summerset to a tent city near Bristol. In February 1944 in an effort to conceal the soldiers from spying eyes, the soldiers lived with families in Bristol. Donald and another soldier lived with the Stevens family which they would bring home food for the family.
Once again they were on the move; next it would be South Hampton and prepared to load ships to make the Channel crossing. On June 20, 1944, Donald and the first Supply Division landed on Omaha Beach. The Division established their Headquarters in a barn and the soldiers slept in pup tents in an apple orchard near the town of Catz, France. The main responsibility of the Supply Division was to get fuel and supplies to the front line. They established the Red Ball express truck route for 2 ½ ton trucks of the 524 Car Division. They also, created the Toot Sweet train route which carried supplies faster.
In July 1944, the Supply Division started to move into France. After the breakthrough of the Battle of Saint-Lo, Donald witnessed thousands of planes overhead. The Division continued through cities as Saint Lo, Le Mons, Etampes, Paris, and Reims. Their mission was to keep up with Patton with fuel and supplies. Donald remembered the first time he saw a dead German on the side of the road; no one went near the body, because sometimes the bodies were booby-tramped.
The Supply Division continued to follow the front into Belgium to Bastogne. Every man was needed in Bastogne, in fact, clerks and cooks were issued ammunition for their guns and helped with the fight. Donald was assigned to the daily teletypes to keep the supply lines open.
The closest Donald ever came to General Patton was to help a WAC Sergeant catch his bull terrier dog “Willie”, which had gotten lose. Everyone knew General Patton was a tough soldier, but Donald remembers during Christmas he instructed the Supply Division to make sure every man in his Third Army got a candy bar for Christmas.
In May 1945, the war in Europe had ended. Donald found himself on a War History Writing Team and remained in country until December 1945, Donald then sailed the North Atlantic on a troop ship home. He remembers the fire boats spraying red and blue colored water through the hoses as a welcome home to the troops.
Donald and his wife Sally have returned to France three times. During his last trip, Donald was interviewed by students from the Mount Savior School in Saint-Lo, France. Donald is very proud that he was able to connect students from Mount Savior School with students from the Rocky Run School in Chantilly, Virginia.
Looking back on his time in WWII, Donald feels very lucky and fortunate that his journalist skills helped him through the war. His advice for the younger generation is to get all the education you can because you never know when you will need it.
Donald has a wonderful wife (Sally), four children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Thank you Donald for your service to our country.
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Bio prepared by Rebeccah Christovich.