Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Melton Helton 1911-1994, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion 2nd Infantry Division in WWII

I've recently been put in contact with a friend's Dad; WWII Veteran Jesse 'Brown'.  
We were able to catch up on the phone and he told me several stories.  

Quick overview (more on him later): 

Jesse was in the 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion; 2nd Infantry Division in WWII- his combat started at the onset of the Battle of the Bulge at St. Vith, Belgium.   

~Discharged July 1946; reenlisted for Airborne, then OCS, commissioned 1949

~187th Regimental Combat Team in Korea 

~5th special forces Vietnam

Of the MANY questions I asked him (WHAT A CAREER!!! WHERE DOES ONE START!?)  I asked if he recalled
 any of his WWII buddies that he was especially fond of.  

He said there was a name by the name of Melton Helton of Crossville, TN.  Just a Private when Jesse first met him, but he was "more level-headed, practical, and competent than most of the officers!" 
I recently found a post-War of Melton Helton later in life on his farm in Crossville, TN.  

Today, Jesse emailed me a short story he wrote about his buddy Melton Helton: 

"During the Battle of the Bulge, January 1944, we were for a time in Hurtgen Forest.  Any competent commander would wish to provide security for his soldiers so we all took turns at guard duty which meant two of us were armed and keeping our eyes peeled.  
If you stood the watch with Slim (we assigned the name to Melton Helton), you got to hear how much he missed his wife and son.  Slim walked with a sort of rolling gait, not unlike someone with one leg shorter than the other.  We invented the story that Slim kept his garden above his root cellar so that when he wanted to harvest, he could simply cut a vegetable from its vine and it would roll down into the cellar.  He didn't have to carry it.  

That was also how he came to have a short leg, from having to walk around the mountain.
It was said that he learned to read and write after entering the Army.  Whether that is true, Slim always knew how to accomplish whatever we were assigned to do and many of us felt that it was better to be under his supervision than that of our non-commissioned officers.  Not surprisingly, Slim was one of the first of us to promoted."

Jesse 'Brown', August 11, 2015

(Jesse's surname has been changed to protect his privacy)

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