From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander
02/22/2020 | By Brig. Gen. Charles S. Sentell III Commanding, 95th Training Division (IET)
From the 95th Training Division (IET) Commander
In November, our very own 95th Division Association traveled to France to take part in some key commemorations. As many of you know our Division played a critical role in the liberation of France during World War II, and this year marks the 75th anniversary. The 95th Infantry Division consisted of approximately 14,000 Soldiers. After being called to active duty they deployed in August of 1944 to France where they liberated more than 439 towns and cities during their nearly 12 month deployment including Dortmund, which was Germany’s ninth largest city. The 95th Division is credited with killing or wounding 15,276 German soldiers and capturing 31,988. Eliminating 47,264 German soldiers came at extreme costs with the 95th Division suffering 6,591 casualties—almost half the Division. Every five years, the association, led by Major General (Retired) James Archer—former commanding general of the 95th Training Division (IET)—along with current and past members of the Division travel to France to help honor the brave service members that fought battles in Metz and the Lorraine region.
This year’s commemoration was held November 12-20 and hosted by many dignitaries and citizens of France. Some of the events included: a reception at the Governor’s Palace—built in 1902 and the Headquarters of the German XVI Corps and used by the Gestapo; Club Lorrain de Vehicules Militaria Allies—this club restored several vintage American WWII vehicles and has established a museum honoring the American Army and, specifically the 95th Infantry Division; and Fort Belle Croix—the site of the monument to the Soldiers of the 95th Infantry Division, ‘the Men of Iron.’
One stop during the trip also included a visit to the Saint Avold American Cemetery. This cemetery is the final resting place of 441 of the 95th war heroes. There is also a wall that lists those missing in action—20 Iron Men of Metz. Additionally, the cemetery is home to the division’s sole Medal of Honor recipient, Staff Sgt. Andrew Miller. On November 16, 1944, Miller single-handedly captured two German machine gun positions which had his unit pinned down. He went forward alone capturing the first position and 5 Germans at bayonet point. He then single handedly took out the second position using grenades, killing 2, wounding 3, and taking 2 prisoners. The next day, outside of Metz, he stayed behind while his platoon withdrew and then destroyed another enemy machine gun nest. On November 19, 1944, Miller led an attack on some German barracks in which Miller crawled through a window capturing 6 riflemen and then led his company to capture an additional 75 Germans. The next morning after being knocked down by a rifle grenade, he climbed to a position on a roof that exposed him but gave him an open position to fire a bazooka at an enemy stronghold. His shot found its mark and the blast caused the Germans to begin surrendering in droves. The next day in Metz he volunteered to silence another machinegun position and took 12 more prisoners. On November 29, 1944, surprise enemy fire pinned their company, but Miller on his own initiative led his squad past the company’s lead element to meet the German attack. They advanced deliberately which inspired Miller’s platoon to follow them as well as another platoon. These actions, led by Miller, suppressed the German attack which saved Miller’s company but it cost Miller his life. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on September 1, 1945.
This year’s journey was particularly special for several former members of the division because they physically took part in some of the battles and are some of the unit’s last remaining WWII veterans. Our Division has some incredible history and we are fortunate to serve in this unit following these veterans that sacrificed so much for French and American freedom.
I urge you all to visit the unit’s memorial museum, located at our headquarters building in Fort Sill, and take the time to appreciate some of the remarkable contributions these veterans and our unit have provided to world history and the Army Reserve. Furthermore, as members of the 95th Division, you are eligible to become a member of the 95th Division Association. As the years go by, we certainly want to keep our legacy alive, and it will become even more crucial as our greatest generation is no longer around to share the stories. Each year, the association chooses a reunion site full of events geared around camaraderie and to memorialize the division’s accomplishments. I encourage you to participate if you can. Iron Men of Metz!
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