Seymour L. Schnuer
"L", 377th Infantry Regiment
July 5, 1943, Seymour Schnuer enlisted in the US
order to not to be drafted. He was originally sent to the
"Tank Destroyers" and was later enrolled in the
ASTP program. When the program was discontinued, he was
sent to the Mechanized Cavalry in a light tank.
Because of his six foot 2 inch
height, it was very difficult for him to sit down suitably
inside the light tank to which he was assigned. After two
weeks the Captain arranged all his men in order of size
and sent the four tallest to the Military
Police in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Seymour Schnuer was in
he become a Sergeant and was responsible for the traffic
and the safety of the
He had at his disposal a jeep and a driver. One day, a car
with a flag of a Brigadier General was parked in a ‘No
Parking’ zone’ He questioned the Corporal who was the
driver of the vehicle. This man said that his General was
in the PX and that he had to wait for him there, it should
be only a few minutes. Seymour Schnuer accepted this
excuse for a short duration. However thirty minutes later,
he returned and found the car
still parked at the same place. He then advised the
soldier to park his vehicle in an authorized zone, but the
soldier said that he must obey the order of his General.
After having made a second, then a third thirty minute
tour later, the car
still had not moved away. Seymour Schnuer then decided to
issue a parking citation. Hardly half an hour later, he
was met at the HQ where his Captain, his Lieutenant and a
Major from the General’s staff awaited him. The Captain
showed him part of the citation, which he had written and
asked for the second half of the document to destroy it...
He explained why this General had just returned from North
Africa and was not used to respecting ‘No Parking’
rules. Seymour said that it was not marked ‘No Parking
except for Generals’ and that he felt that he had to
enforce the rules the same for a General as for a Private.
The following day, his excuses
were denied and he was busted to Private. He then asked
the Captain to transfer him from the Military Police to
another branch of service. He was then designated as a
volunteer for the infantry.
After several forts and
training centers, he left for England where he remained
for a short time while waiting for his embarkation to
the day arrived and they embarked on a Belgian ship named
Leopoldville. The crew was Belgian, the officers British,
and the engine crew were blacks from the Congo. Eventually,
he was delivered to Omaha Beach in France.
After several days of waiting,
he moved to Le Mans. From there, they were put into French
boxcars called ‘40 men or 8 horses’ and crossed
France. They make a stop in Chartres where Seymour Schnuer
and three of his friends pose in front of a statue.
(Picture on opposite).
They then boarded trucks and passed through Orleans where the local
people greeted them with wine and flowers. They continued
on the road to the East of France where they received
their assignments. Schnuer was assigned to the 95th
Infantry Division. On November 11, 1944, he was in
Conflans-Jarny where a ceremony took place with French
veterans of the First World War, celebrating the end of
that war. He arrived in Nancy then went around Metz to
arrive in Maizières-lès-Metz.
On November 16, his unit
approached Metz while skirting the Moselle. Within about
10 km of the city (sector La Maxe - Woippy), German tanks
on the other bank opened fire, wounding several GI's.
Among them, a comrade of Seymour Schnuer from Puerto Rico
was shot in his arm. Seymour, who
had taken two years of Spanish in High School, had
befriended this soldier. He then gave him first
and in order to draw the attention of the medics, he
planted the man’s rifle in the ground, and tied a handkerchief to it.
He tried to catch up with the
rest of his unit but the German tanks on the opposite bank
opened fire. An 88mm shell exploded just behind him,
blowing him into a small creek. When he returned to
consciousness, he noticed that he had been wounded in the
arm and that two of his comrades were with him. One was
wounded in the leg, the other was dead. They administered first
aid to themselves and waited for it to become dark. They then went to a farm
building not far from there and found an artillery spotter
who called for the medics. They were then evacuated to a
school in Verdun, which had become a hospital.
A comrade from his squad,
slightly wounded, made the rounds of the rooms to see whether any friends were there. He found Seymour and told him
that at the time when he was wounded, only three of
the eleven men of his squad were still unwounded and
fighting. He then received a Purple Heart and a
Bronze Star, probably for his action with the
soldier from Puerto Rico.
was then evacuated by plane to England. After many
operations, his arm was saved but he lost his
dexterity. One day, he learned that he had five
minutes to prepare to leave to board a plane for the
United States He arrived at a hospital in Atlantic
City, New Jersey, his home state.
After several operations, he
was discharged in the Spring of 1946.
After the war, he re-entered
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he obtained a
degree in Engineering. He worked for the General
Electric Company and traversed the whole world
selling power stations.
Today, Seymour Schnuer lives
near Boston, Massachusetts in a peaceful house right
on a lake...
: Bronze Star awarded to Seymour Schnuer for his action on November 16,
of Seymour L. Schnuer
: Class "A" Jacket in wool and
having belonged to Seymour L Schnuer. Donation
want to thank Seymour L. Schnuer for the use of his
photographs and documents.