World War II:  Walden Campbell Photos - Camp Carson, Fort Benning

  

Photos of the 14th Infantry Regiment
during its service with the 71st Infantry Division in World War II.


Thanks to Katherine Campbell Bond, daughter of Staff Sergeant Walden Campbell, for the photos and documents on this page.  Staff Sergeant Campbell enlisted on July 1, 1942, and leaving his family's ranch in the mountains of Wyoming, he went to Company "D", 354th Infantry Regiment at Camp Carson, Colorado for Basic Training.  He was promoted to Private First Class on May 22, 1943.

On June 7, 1943, the 14th Infantry Regiment left the Panama Canal Zone and moved to Camp Carson.  One month later the 71st Division was activated at Camp Carson, drawing upon the 14th Infantry Regiment, the 5th Infantry Regiment, and the newly formed 66th Infantry Regiment.

During this organizational period, PFC Campbell became part of "L" Company, 3rd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment.  He was promoted to Corporal, and then volunteered for paratrooper training at Fort Benning, Ga.  But it didn't suit him, and he returned to the Regiment, just in time to travel with them to Camp Roberts, California, and the Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, where the 71st Light Infantry Division tested the new Light Division concept - which did not prove successful.

The 71st Division moved to Fort Benning, Georgia on May 24, 1944 for more training.  Three months before the end of the year 3,200 enlisted men with the rank of Private and Private First Class were sent overseas as replacements in the European conflict.  Now a Sergeant, Walden Campbell was one of those men who remained with the Regiment, entrusted to pass on, to the new, raw recruits, the critical skills necessary to survive in the coming fight.

In January, 1945, the 71st Division moved to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey and on to the Port of New York for embarkation.  They arrived in France at Camp Old Gold, and after a month of training, moved by train to the front lines near the eastern edge of France.  Still with "L" Company, 3rd Battalion, he served in several major battles, including the defeat of the 6th SS Mountain Division "Nord", the crossing of the Danube and the assault on Regensburg.  The 14th Regiment was part of the easternmost movement of the Army in Europe, contacting forward Russian elements just days before the war's end.

Promoted to Staff Sergeant shortly after Victory in Europe, he remained in Europe through the rest of the year, and mustered out of the Army on March 27, 1946.

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          Jan 13, 1944, letter to family, at Fort Benning, Ga for paratrooper training
"...the best thing I had since I was in the Army was that furlough . . . those days at home with you were wonderful and I have some grand memories to carry with me wherever I go."

"Don't worry dad, those rats in Germany will pay..."

[01]  Pvt Walden Campbell on furlough
[02]  Cpl Walden Campbell and Unknown
[03]  Unknown and SSgt Walden Campbell, winter in post-war Germany
[04]  Combat Infantryman Badge orders
[05]  Infantry Drill Regulations - from Walden Campbell Basic Training
[06]  In France, preparing to ship back to the states - Walden Campbell in middle

[07]  In Training at Camp Carson, Colorado
        Row 1:  Mulhearn, Maestas, Dodson, Baley, Torez, Almado, Summers, Dione
        Row 2:  Serna, J. W. Curlis, Carrol, Anden, Mesceli, Linder, Kestev, Polland, Price
        Row 3:  Larson, Walden Campbell, Hill, Steveson, Kinner, MacDonald, Yazzie, Fuscilo, Wilkson, Lt. Bryan
        Row 4:  Kittleson, Winkleback, Havand, S. M. Jones, Perkins, E. J. Curtis, Berg, Shelov, Bitseedy
        Row 5:  Armstrong, Gregory, Skomp, Manlea, Toledo, Betts
        These names are the "best guess" I can make based on the handwriting - some, like "Toledo", may be a home town instead of the person's name

[08]  "Jughead" in training exercises
[09]  "L" Company, 14th Infantry Regiment, in training
[10]  Signpost somewhere in France, 1945
[11]  On board ship to America, Walden Campbell stands at rail, cigarette in mouth
[12]  Ration book used by Walden Campbell

The assault on hill 267 by K and L companies, the first major assault against the 6th SS Mountain Division "Nord" by men of the 14th Infantry, which destroyed the 6th's remaining artillery pieces :  "...men began searching the German debris for anything useful and discovered in one of the German wagons a cartload of neatly packaged and crated German Reichmarks.  Sims told his men the money was no longer any good, but many GIs stopped by the wagon and took several bills as souvenirs."  In Final Defense of the Reich: The Destruction of the 6th SS Mountain Division "Nord", Stephen M. Rusiecki, p.214

[13]  Furlough orders for visit to post-war Switzerland dated 12-Sep-1945
[14]  Switzerland Leave Center information and map, dated 15-Sep-1945
[15]  Receipt for two M-1 carbines dated 7-Nov-1945
[16]  German half-mark, or 50 pfennig

 

"Dearest Dad and Mom"

April 26, 1944 letter to family from Sergeant Campbell at Camp Roberts, Ca.

     "We are done maneuvering now but still in the field.  We have squad tents and are pulling garrison duty..."
"
     "...they are going to take most of the old privates and PFCs and send them across...we are getting a bunch of ASTP boys and Air Cadets...rumors are we are going east..."
     "...your hill billy son finally made it to the big city - I got a 3 1/2 day pass.  I went up to San Francisco and Oakland...the big bridges, bay, shipyards and everything, but boy, they can have the big towns."

October 19, 1944 letter to family from Fort Benning, Ga.

     "...looks like the 71st is going to take a trip in the near future, they are packing up..."

January 21, 1945 letter to family from Camp Kilmer, N.J.

     "I went to New York City on pass yesterday, boy, it is a wonderful sight to see...went up to the top of the Empire State Building..."
     "...when I get home I will try to make up to you for these past few years that you have been working and suffering so much [on the ranch]...Hope the cattle are doing good and that we get a good calf crop in the spring."

July 15, 1945 letter to family from Gunzburg, Germany (the war in Europe ended on May 9th)

     "I am sending a money order for $75.  You can put it in the bank and use it in a payment [on the ranch] this fall."
     "Was to Augsburg yesterday and saw a good U.S.O. show.  Plenty of good looking squaws, but all a guy could do is look at them."
     "I have put in for a pass to go to France next Sunday, some of the boys have gone and said they had plenty of fun."



Medals awarded to S/Sgt Walden Campbell at the end of combat in Germany
 

Combat Infantryman Badge

 

Good Conduct Medal ribbon American Campaign Award ribbon Europe-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon World War II Victory ribbon

 

U.S. Army Honorable Discharge Lapel button or pin

 

Selective Service Registration Certificate
February 16, 1942
Port of New York Embarkation, Transportation Corps - matches for the troops leaving for Europe Money Order Receipt to send money home to the ranch from Germany
14th Infantry Pass allowing the bearer to travel no more than 3 miles from his post-war base at Gunzburg, Germany Temporary Pass issued to S/Sgt Walden Campbell at Fort Logan, Colorado, a month before his release from service, to spend the evening in Denver. 1947 American Legion membership card, Pinedale, Wyoming

 



Acknowledgements:
World War II:  Walden Campbell Photos - Camp Carson, Fort Benning
Photos Copyright 2015  Walden Campbell, generously provided by his daughter, Katherine Campbell Bond
Copyright 2015  14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: March 23, 2016