Our Hitch In Hell

From:
EVER FORWARD – HISTORY OF THE 99TH CAVALRY RECONNAISSANCE TROOP
by the men of 99th Recon

Francis McGroary (left), F Company, 42nd Cavalry Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Group, and his friend “Red”, sit on the west bank of the Moselle River with a bottle of French wine as enemy shells hit the hills in the background. click on photo to enlarge

I’m sitting here and thinking of the things I left behind
And I have to put on paper what is running through my mind
We’ve dug a million ditches and cleared ten miles of ground
A meaner place this side of hell is waiting to be found
But there’s one small consolation…gather closely while I tell
When we die we’ll go to Heaven, for we’ve done our hitch in hell

We’ve built a hundred kitchens for the cook’s who stew our beans
We’ve stood a million guard mounts and we’ve never acted mean
We’ve washed a million mess kits and peeled a million spuds
We’ve rolled a million blank rolls and washed the Captain’s duds

The number of parades we’ve stood is very hard to tell
But we’ll not parade in Heaven, for we’ve done our hitch in hell

We’ve killed a million rats and bugs that crawled out of our eats
We’ve pulled a million centipedes from our dirty sheets
We’ve marched a million miles and we’ve made a million camps
The grub we’ve had to eat at times has given us the cramps
But when our work on earth is done, our friends behind will tell
“They surely went to Heaven, for they did their hitch in hell”

When final Taps is sounded and we’ve laid aside life’s cares
We’ll do our last parade upon those shining Golden Stairs
The Angels all will welcome us and harps will start to play
We’ll draw a million canteen checks and spend them all one day
The Great Commanding General will smile on us and tell
“Take a front seat, soldiers, you’ve done your hitch in hell”

by Pfc. Paul Adamek
99th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop
99th Infantry Division, WW II

24 Replies to “Our Hitch In Hell”

  1. I was an 11B that had been cross leveled from 2/4INF out of Neu Ulm,FRG. I was assigned as a BC in RSS running vanguard for the supply lines as the manuever elements moved forward. The morning we began the attack, we marshalled all the vehicles at about 0400. Sgt Nichols was in front of me. As we slowly moved into march order I noticed Sgt Nichols Bradley begin to climb what appeared to be a hill. I could not determine why his Bradley was increasingly elevating until his vehicle had cleared the obstacle. The obstacle turned out to be a CUCV (dodge truck) with a major sleeping in the cab. Thank God he was not injured, because Sgt. Nichols had crushed his vehicle into the desert floor. He was extremely upset to say the least. Anyone have any idea who that was?

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  2. It was another 18 hour day driving around in the Hummvee searching for parts to keep our troops vehicles up. SSG Hand and I lived in the Hummvee. I saw green most of the time as I drove with night vision goggles on. This night we had to stop and close our eyes for a few minutes. We knew we were outside the perimeter of a friendly unit. We stopped the Hummvee and leaned back to close our eyes. A few minutes later, to our suprise we got a knock on my drivers door. It was a trooper from the unit we had stopped by. He was letting us know that we were 50 meters down range from the business end of a 155mm howitzer and that they were standing buy for the orders to fire a mission. It wouldn’t be good for us to get a wake up call like that. I should say not. Might even stop your heart who knows. We made a hasty get away all the way back to the safety of our unit.

    SGT Willis
    A-Troop

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  3. have been trying for several days to REGISTER and can not because I have no ide of what information is wanted. What is ICQ, AIM, YIM, MSNM? I thought I was computer literate but I now have my doubts. How about putting this in English or even German so people can use it?

    Ken Meek

    OKMTRPOOL@aol.com

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  4. G+1, Monday 25th January. Aptly stated by the operations update that Isaac has posted, “the cross desert convoy became complicated when Support Squadron stuck most of its supporting ammo trucks in soft sand.” Actually, all 73 of the attached 5- ton commercial trucks pulling 30 foot trailers loaded with the Regiment’s ammo resupply became stuck in the soft sand at the base of a large escarpment. The escarpment lay in three distinct steps broken by steep drop-offs with few trails that a commercial flatbed truck could manage. A/1/2 provided security and scouted for a way out of the soft sand. The 5000 gallon fuel tankers also experienced problems, but they were pulled by tactical 5-ton tractors and eventually were pulled free of the sand and sped away to catch up with the RSS convoy. At twilight, LTC Leighton, RSS SCO, determined that the stragglers would not make it out in time to rejoin the advancing regiment. The SXO(yours truely) remained behind with one M88 recovery vehicle and two of the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicles retained by RSS as recovery vehicles. Orders were to recover the vehicles and catch up with the advancing RSS trains. Everyone worked overnight pushing and pulling the ammo trucks toward an oasis of rock about 3 kilometers to the north. One section of 10 trucks split off to try another trail just to the west. We monitored their progress over the radio all night long. When the sun peeked over the horizon, they had progressed less than 1 kilometer. Around noon on the 26th, the last vehicle was recovered to the rock oasis and we formed the column and began following the deep trail in the sand left by the large RSS convoy. RSS HQ55 performed almost 500 recovery operations between the escarpment and cease fire. The fighting recovery vehicles proved their worth.

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  5. Ten years ago today I was a volunteer door-gunner for Savage Troop. I was actually assigned to HHT commo section. While deployed to Saudi volunteers where ask for Ariel observers and door gunners. Me and 4 other troopers from the commo section volunteered. We all earned our crew member wings. It was the best time I had while assigned to 2nd ACR.

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  6. 23 Feb 91- As the RSS SXO, I was positioned on the right flank of the very large RSS march column. I watched in fascination as an MLRS launcher pulled off to the right of the formations and proceeded to launch its full set of missiles toward the north. I am sure all of you have seen videos of similar launches during the war, but nothing will match being there and feeling the launch.

    I know everyone wants to read about the daring combat operations, but the RSS support mission execution also holds some interesting tales. We had calculated fuel and ammunition requirements to sustain the Regiment plus attached units for the three days we knew we would be outpacing the Corps supply lines. RSS did not own enough organic lift assets (trucks) so Corps provided three transportation companies to the Regiment. All three companies had arrived, fully loaded with ammunition and fuel, late in the evening on 21 Feb. The two National Guard truck companies hauling our ammunition were commercial 5-ton tractors with highway tires. Because of the late arrival, we were forced to “Dance with who we brung to the dance” and all three National Guard companies that thought they were going to be operating in the Theater rear area began earning their spurs. Saber 5; RSS SXO

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  7. Issac

    be a pal and help me out here.

    Cant seem to find or remember my account name or password. Go figure, I’m just a dumb old B Troop

    Gun Bunny.

    Name: Chuck Kenneally

    Email: delta5cav@hotmail.com

    Have had my info in the various sites for about the past 5 yrs.

    B Trooper 74-78

    Have a bunch of Rock,Graf,and Border Pics I’d like to

    send. Any help in regards to getting a new nick name and password will be great.

    Regards Chuck K

    BTW: Great Job with the site

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  8. I was watching General Schwartzkoff give a debriefing to the news media about the days events and I was really surprised when he mention the 2A/C. I felt a surge of pride at hearing that name. Back in 1959-61 we were sure the Cav would live and die in Germany. Also, I see that times haven’t changed that much, Commo Personell will still do anything to get away from those radios. R.A.

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  9. After doing a little trace I found that this site “coldwar.army.mil” belongs to The Army Signal Command and is located in Alexandria VA.. Maybe everyone has found this out by now. Just trying to help.

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  10. Unfortunately the General has hit the nail on the head about our Army. Again we saw a mass exodus of great soldiers get out, because they saw what was coming. Many sub standard soldiers were allowed to remain by the lowering of standards and political correctness. Now some of these individuals are in high leadership positions and they spread there way the Army should be run and dislike intently old warhorses like myself who feel the way the Army was in the 80’s was the way to go. We are in real trouble these days, Junior officers resigning, Captains committing suicide, and Senior NCO’s retiring at twenty because we can not train the force the way it should be trained to win a war and bring back as many as we can alive. The Chief of Staff is one of the big problems we as NCO’s have. He’s a General and we are supposedly uneducated enlisted with no opinion. I hope that we get leaders in who can see reality instead of there political agenda. A lot of good soldiers are going to die in the next war because it was more important to be politically correct

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