"Mutt" McCord
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Camp Croft, South Carolina
US Army Infantry Replacement Training Center

Howard W. "Mutt" McCord submitted an excellent recollection  of his experiences while stationed at Camp Croft.  Not included in the summary on the Reminiscences page is the complete, unedited text of his personal biography presented below.

Also, click here to visit a page where Mutt describes a "stalag cooker" as used by American and British POWs in Germany.

 
    "Captain HW “Mutt” McCord (A second Lieutenant at time of picture taken) was a member of the 104th AAA, AW, Bn,. SP, Battery B. During the Korean War. Served two years on active duty. (1950-1952) I was one of four McCord brothers serving in the Army in Europe during world war two. I was married to the late Jeanne E. Berryhill who passed away in January 1989. We had two sons and one daughter. I have ten grand children and six great grand children. My present wife Mamie Daily McCord and I married on August 27,1989. She has two daughters and three grand children, two boys and one girl.

    I served three years and three days on active duty during World War Two. (August 6, 1942 to August 9, 1945) I was drafted into the army from my home town of Sheffield, Alabama on August 6, 1942 at the age of twenty one. I was inducted into the army at Fort McClellan Alabama. Shipped to Fort McPhearson GA. for processing and classification and a week of orientation, shots, and clothing issuing. Here the Articles of War were read to us. We boarded a troop train headed to an unknown army camp for our basic training.

I received my first six weeks of basic training in Company D, 34th Bn. 9th Reg. Camp Croft SC. I was made an acting corporal and squad leader. Most of this training was as it is called, basic soldier training. We trained with the Enfield bolt action 1903-type rifle. At the end of our first six weeks we were transferred to Company B, 30th, Bn. 9th Reg. for seven more weeks of advance weapons training. Company B was a heavy weapons company. We received training on the M-1 rifle, 60 mm and 81mm mortars. Also the 30 cal. Light machine gun, the heavy 30 cal (water-cooled) machine-gun and the 50 cal machine gun. We had training on the towed 37 mm anti-tank gun. We had many hours on map and compass reading and night training. Many miles of conditioning hiking with full field packs. We were taught hand to hand combat, Bayonet fighting and at that time a new version of training was the Commando training. Commando training during world war two is sort of like what our Special Forces are today.  We had many hours of running the obstacle course. We trained six days a week. We had many hours of night training Sunday was an off day for church and free time. Saturday nights most every one went into town or the Service Club or the USO and some went across the highway  near  the main gate to Jungle Jim's beer joint.

At the end of our training cycle I was selected out of a company of two hundred men to be promoted to Corporal and assigned as cadre in the second platoon. This was my platoon were I took my training. I was assigned to assist the same platoon sergeant that was over me during my training, Sergeant Mason. I was lucky enough to stay in the same platoon. I made platoon Sergeant and stayed nearly two years in the same barracks. I enjoyed my training and being there at Camp Croft SC.

    Camp Croft was known for its caliber of soldiers they turned out at the end of each training cycle. It was an Infantry Replacement Training Center. General George Patton was quoted as saying that Camp Croft turned out class “A” fighting men. Croft had one of the largest rifle ranges of any Army Replacement Training Center. 

    The toughest training course at Croft was the Infiltration Course. Here the trainees had to crawl under barb wire obstacles with rifle and field packs while loud explosives were blasting off and live machine gun tracer bullets being fired about waist high over their heads. This was called getting your Baptism Of Fire. We didn't know it then but we realized later that this was good training for all trainees that faced combat. We were taught at Croft, not only how to kill if we had to but .how not to get killed.

    The City of Spartanburg, SC. was like all other towns near Military Installations. Over crowded with military people. The City of Spartanburg the Churches, the USO and the Services Clubs did a good job of having entertainment for the troops.

McCord Group Photo

    After nearly two years stationed here I got orders to ship overseas late in May. I was home on a delayed in route leave when the Invasion of Europe started. (D-Day 1944) I was shipped to Fort Mead MD. Here I was processed for overseas assignments. Next shipped to a Marshaling Area at Camp Miles Standish in New Jersey.  Went by train to the Port of Embarkation and loaded on to the troop ship USS Wakefield in Hew York Harbor headed to unknown destinations.  It took seven days to reach our destination, England. Two days out from England we were told where we were going. We were issued a handbook on the country and the people of England and the value of their money compared to the American dollar and we were to be guests in their Country. So be a good soldier and stay out of trouble.

    Our troop ship landed at Liverpool England.  We marched to a waiting English troop train to carry us to our first Replacement Depot in Europe. This was one of many we were later to be posted at. This place was named Dallermour Park. From here we t0.
ere we were told about the German break through that was headed towards St. Vith. On the morning of the 17th of December we started digging in our mortars and our foxholes. We were in support of the 106th Inf. Division. This was it, The Battle of the Bulge (it was later named) had started. 

    On the night of the 21st of December 1944 our positions were over run. I want go into detail of the battle.( you can read this in my Memoirs) I was wounded but was able to withdraw to the town of St. Vith where I caught the last half-track out of the town. I ended up in Crombach Belgium. I was wounded again in this battle on December 22, 1944. On December 23, 1944 while trying to withdraw from Crombauch our jeep was hit by a German 88 mm on a Tiger tank. I tried to escape to a barn but was captured by the Germans. (William Kemp from Middlesex, KY. was with me.)

    We were searched, our over shoes were taken along with our cigarettes, money, watches and rings. We were interrogated by a young German officer.( Details of this can be found in Mutt’s Memoirs of World War Two) We were put with a group of about fifty other captured American GI’s. That night on the 23rd of December 1944 we started marching back towards Germany as prisoners of war. For the first time in my life, my freedom had been taken away from me. I had lost all the freedom that I was so use to having as a free American it is an awful feeling. Yet the worse was yet to come.

    We walked many miles to Stalag IV-B near Mulhberg in deep snow. No food or water for days. Most every one in my group was wounded and had trouble keeping up with the main body of prisoners. By the time we made it to Stalag IV-B we were in bad shape. Arrived at Stalag IV-B on January 10, 1945. We were sick, cold, hungry and bad, bad cases of dysentery. It got worse as time went by. We were in a very bad condition.  Here I became Prisoner of War # 316538

    On January 15, 1945 I arrived at Stalag VIII-A near Gorlitz, Germany. This camp was worse than IV-B. Short on food and places for us to sleep. No place to take a bath. We stunk like skunks. (This wasn't suppose to rhyme and be funny) Conditions here were awful. A lot of prisoners were dying from old wounds and pneumonia. 

    The Russians were getting close to this camp in their drive to get to Berlin so the Germans moved us to Stalag XI-B near Fallingbostel Germany. We arrived there on February 11, 1945. Camp living condition here were the same as the other two camps. I remained at Stalag XI-B until the British liberated us on April 16, 1945.I spent a total of one hundred twenty two days of pure hell as a prisoner of war of the Germans.

Click here to visit a page where Mutt describes a "stalag cooker"
as used by American and British POWs in Germany.

    After liberation I was convoyed to Brussels Belgium for medical examinations and traveled to Camp Lucky Strike for more examinations and all the milk shakes I could hold three times a day. We were a starved pitiful looking company of men.

    Boarded the USS George Washington at La Harve France headed to the USA. Loaded with wounded and ex-prisoners of war. After fourteen days on the ocean we landed at New York Harbor. Our next stop was at Camp Kilmer NJ. From Kilmer to Fort McPhearson GA. where we were issued a sixty-six day leave. My first son was four months old when I first saw him. I didn't know if my baby was a girl or a boy till I reached the States and called home.

    Reported to R & R Center at Miami Beach FL. after my sixty six day leave at home. Next stop was back at Fort McPhearson GA. Having enough points for separation I was discharged from the Army at Fort McPhearson with the rank of Staff Sergeant for the conveyances of the government.

    I earned three Purple Hearts, Bronze Star Metal, Combat Infantry Badge, Good Conduct Medal, and Ex-POW Metal, ETO Ribbon with three bronze battle stars, American Defense metal, the Presidential Citation Award and the Belgium Citation for liberation of their country. I have one hash mark for three years service in world War Two and two overseas chevrons. 
Total time served was five years active duty and seven years National Guard Time. 

    After my discharged in 1945 I got my GED Diploma. I enrolled in the Carpenter's Apprenticeship class and after four years I became a first class carpenter. I became one of the well known cabinetmakers in our area. For two years I taught the Carpenters Apprentice School in my area. In 1948 I joined the Alabama National Guards as a Staff Sergeant and soon worked my way up to Master Sergeant. I was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1950 and later was promoted to a Captain. I work for the Tennessee Valley Authority building Locks and Dams. Retired from Construction May 15, 1983. Had a heart attack in Aug. 1983. Had to have four by-passes.

    My hobby was training dogs in obedience. I owned and operated a dog Obedience School. Retired from this in 1989. I am now eighty-four years old and we have a place on the lake. My hobby now is going fishing with my wife. You have heard of a golfer's caddy, well, I am now my wife's fishing caddy. Enough said!

Mutt passed away March 9, 2011