Sixty years ago, Bouck was a young, whip-smart lieutenant, commanding a U.S. Army intelligence and reconnaissance platoon made up of 18 elite soldiers -- the eyes and ears of a fragmented Allied force pushing through Belgium toward the German border.This is an amazing story, and he doesn't see himself as a hero either. I thank him for his service and wish Lyle and his wife Lucy well.
By mid-December 1944, they had just about reached the border. But there was a huge gap in the front lines, and Bouck's platoon was ordered to plug an isolated stretch of it, on a hill.
"We weren't trained to occupy a defensive position in the front lines. We were trained to patrol and get information about the enemy," says Bouck.
But the enemy found them.
On December 16, a huge column of German paratroopers got wind of Bouck's platoon, dug in on that hill.
The Germans threw some 700 men, in three waves, at Lyle Bouck and 17 other Americans.
The GIs had their orders.
"They were told to hold at all costs. Basically that meant 'until you get killed or taken prisoner,'" says Alex Kershaw, whose new book, "The Longest Winter," recounts the story of Bouck's platoon.
But by day's end, hundreds of Germans were dead.
Some Americans were badly wounded, but not one was killed, and they were captured only when they ran out of ammunition.
Friday, December 17
A Hero to Remember
Posted by total at 12/17/2004 01:34:00 PM