Would You Want to be in a Foxhole with Me?

Pfc. Arlon L. Adams, 119th Inf. Reg., of Temperance, Mich. awaits German counterattacks in his foxhole in the vicinity of Bardenberg and Wurselen, Germany, October 17th, 1944. Pfc. Adams was later KIA on Feb. 24th, 1945 in the Roer River assault. The 119th crossed and attacked just south of the Hambach Forest. Pfc. Adams was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.
Recolored using Photoshop CS4. Photo by Za Rodinu (http://www.flickr.com/photos/36919288@N08/)

Tuesday, I watched an episode from Band of Brothers called ‘Bastogne.’  This particular episode focused on the men of Easy Company, battling the German forces from foxholes, at the Siege of Bastogne.

Conditions were horrible – snow, low on supplies, spread thin, and under constant threat of German fire. Yet the men of Easy Company didn’t shy away from their duty and they held the line.

The soldiers in the foxholes shared several characteristics:

They were all committed to the task.  Sure, levels of commitment varied, but none walked away from their responsibilities.

They looked out for each other.  One guy told a medic that another didn’t have boots – he took them off to dry his socks and a German mortar blew them to smithereens.  The medic found some boots – he had to take them off a dead soldier – and made sure made sure the soldier got them.

They shared.  Sips of coffee here, morphine for the medics there, bandages, cigarettes, and chocolate – everyone shared the little they had with each other.

They held each other up in moments of despair. The medic was a workhorse, he ran from foxhole to foxhole.  Eventually the stress got to him and there was a point when he didn’t want to get out of the foxhole and help anyone else.  Another soldier pulled him out and shoved him in the right direction.  That shove was all it took to break through the funk and get him moving.

I learned a lot, yet I walked away from the episode haunted by a question: “Am I the kind of guy you would want to be in a foxhole – in the worst conditions possible for a protracted period of time – with?  How about you, are you that guy (or girl)?