Carroll Crouch: WWII (Part I)

Carroll Crouch
April 7, 2011
Janie Bogus

Citation for Bronze Star Medal to Sergeant Carroll H. Crouch, Headquarters Company, Second Battalion, 134th Infantry:

For Heroic service in connection with military operations against an enemy of the United States in the Moselle River sector, near Frolois, France, 10 September 1944. When the Second Battalion, 134th Infantry, was engaged with the enemy in an attempt to seize and hold a bridge over the Moselle River, Sergeant Crouch, leader of a squad of the Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon, was given the mission of holding a tunnel beneath the bridge. Despite enemy fire of all types concentrated upon the bridge throughout the night, Sergeant Crouch maintained full control of his men and held the tunnel until the following morning, when a withdrawal was ordered, during which operation Sergeant Crouch evacuated two wounded men. Under Sergeant Crouch’s leadership, coolness and tenacity of purpose, the squad successfully completed its mission without casualties.

Mr. Carroll Crouch was born Jan 24, 1921 in Florence, Alabama. At the time of this interview he was just past 90 years old. He remembers the development of many of the streets in Florence.

His first memory of realizing a war was going on was December 7, 1941 when a man came up to him and said pearl harbor had just been bombed. “I didn’t know where Pearl Harbor was but the man said, ‘The Japanese have bombed and it is bad’, this was my first knowledge of war.” He remembers President Roosevelt’s speech on radio that night with the famous announcement that war had begun.

He was drafted into the Army in August of 1942. His basic training included camps in Texas, California and in Camp Rucker Alabama, Camp Butler North Carolina and West Virginia. In West Virginia he was trained for Mountain climbing to enable him to go into the invasion of France where cliffs would be encountered.

Mr. Carroll lost a brother who was in the National Guard in Alaska on December 7, 1943. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Mr. Carroll went to New York and shipped out sometime in early may. They were on ships 15 days on their way to England in a convoy of 150 ships of soldiers and combat personnel. They were in England for about a mo nth before they were brought together and told they were in good shape for warfare. It was from here that they realized that the Invasion of France was taking place.

Some, but not all, of his heroic service to our country during this period of time is chronicled in his citation for the bronze star. He tells about several of the battles in detail, but others were very difficult for him emotionally.

He was wounded in Germany where he was hit seven times. He was hospitalized in France and England until March of 1945 when he was shipped back to Boston, MA, and then to Jackson, MS. An interesting event occurred in Jackson Ms. He was walking on crutches on the sidewalk when he met some people who told him how happy they were that the war had ended and that America had won the war. They wanted to take him out to lunch. They were German men who somehow had escaped from Germany!

He then was sent to a convalescent center in Daytona Beach Florida. And was there when he learned the war had ended in Japan. He was discharged in February of 1946.

There are many interesting stories surrounding Mr. Crouch’s life. He has been able to connect with several family members of soldiers who were killed in action during battles that he was involved in. He is a true Patriot!