Ed Mattingly, 26th Tank called September 26th. He said his father was from Kentucky (our home) but eventually settled in Arkansas. Ed did his basic training at Fort Knox, KY. and then was transferred to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. He was part of a mortar platoon and after leaving the city center of Pilsen, they camped on farmland at the city limits of Pilsen near the airport. They dug foxholes and slept in them. He first heard that the war was over from the locals. It was about daylight when a lady came to his foxhole and woke him up with the news “the war is over.” He said the people spoke some English but it was enough and they had made coffee and cookies for the soldiers. Ed added that the scene in Pilsen and the surrounding area was really something with all the German soldiers surrendering. The highways were packed with Germans walking shoulder to shoulder coming from the east, wanting to get to the Americans and get away from the Russians. After the 16th disbanded, he was transferred to the 4th Armored Division and arrived home May, 1946. Ed’s last few months in Europe were spent in Germany and Austria. He related a story that happened to a “most deserving” solder. The war was over and they were assigned to a POW camp in Germany in which German soldiers were waiting to be processed to go home. It seems that there was a GI in their outfit that no one liked. He was always bragging about how brave he was and about all he had done during the war. One night, there was some kind of trouble at the camp in Duggendorf. Ed and others were sent there to surround the camp. Guards were posted about every 100 yards and they patrolled the perimeter. There were lights around the camp and guards in the guard tower. Suddenly, something happened and the guy in the tower started shooting. Machine gun bursts! Well, the tough guy who was always bragging about himself and his exploits took off running. He ran and jumped into what he thought was a foxhole but it was an old abandoned latrine. He was cold, wet and smelled so he was made to ride on the back of the truck on the return trip to camp. This episode stopped his bragging. The others thought “he had it coming and he got it.”
Here is the Herman the deer story as told by Archie Fuller, 26th Tank
After a short time in Pilsen, we started being moved around Czechoslovakia and at one of the locations, we found this very small deer. He was only a day or two old and so small that we made a pen out of old window blinds. We had Czech girls working in the kitchen and they fed him with a bottle. We called him Herman. When we moved to a new town, Wesseritz, Herman learned where the food was and would go there on his own when he was hungry. Anytime we moved, we just took Herman along. He rode like it was n o big deal.
When the 16th started breaking up, many of us went to the 4th AD. When we went to Deggendorf, it was good for Herman as the compound was big and all walled in. Herman had the run of the whole place and everyone knew him. The buildings here were large , two story brick. We could here Herman’s feet hitting the concrete floor as he came down the hall. He didn’t stay long as he didn’t like being closed in, but he would come see us. Ed Mattingly was very involved with the deer. I was sent home but Ed stayed in Deggendorf and then was sent to Hoff, Germany. At first, he didn’t take Herman with him but then went back to Deggendorf by train and took Herman to Hoff with him. While he was away on day, one of the civilian workers killed Herman for food. The civilian was warned to not be there when Ed returned. They never saw that worker again. Ed said that he buried Herman’s remains and thus ended the life and time of Herman the deer.