Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

Carl H. Klein

1919 - 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2ND INFANTRY DIVISION

“SECOND TO NONE”

SHOULDER PATCH

38TH INFANTRY REGIMENT

“ROCK OF THE MARNE” REGIMENTAL CREST

COMBAT MEDIC'S BADGE


Carl H. Klein

PATRIOT, Chapter 1919

Army, WWII, Europe

 

Carl H. Klein was born in 1919 in Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas.  His family lived in Creedmoor until, when Carl was eight, they moved into Austin where his father was employed by the city utility department.  Carl graduated from Austin High School in 1937 and then took courses at Nixon-Clay Commercial College.  He worked for the legislative service of the Chamber of Commerce until drafted, and then was inducted into the Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas on June 20, 1941.

 

For the next two years, four months, Carl went through training at Fort Sam Houston and Camp Wolters in Texas, and at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.  He was a Medic assigned to 2nd Battalion, 38th Infantry, 2nd Infantry Division and he was with them when the division deployed to Europe, arriving in Ireland on October 19, 1943.  The division remained in Ireland and continued to train in preparation for the invasion of mainland Europe.       

 

The 2nd Infantry Division went ashore on Omaha Beach in Normandy, D-Day + 1, June 7, 1944, and went into action immediately.  From that beginning, the division would then record 303 days of combat in five campaigns before the cessation of hostilities.

 

Carl’s battalion of the 38th Infantry, as part of the division, also went into combat promptly after landing in Normandy and was also in continuous fighting.  Nine days later, on June 16, 1944, the 2nd Battalion was attacking the German defenders holding the southern slope of hill 192, near Cerisy-la-Foret, France.  Private First Class Carl Klein was the aid man attached to 3rd Platoon of Company G, and when a squad was sent out to reestablish contact with the platoon, which was surrounded, Carl went with them.  They came under intense fire that kept the men pinned down in a ditch, but; Carl left the safety of a covered position and went forward to aid the wounded.  When passing through a gate, exposed to heavy enemy fire, he was wounded.  Despite the wound, he continued on until he reached the casualties and administered aid.  Although under constant sniper fire, and wounded a second time by small arms fire, he continued treating the wounded in complete disregard for his own personal safety until he was knocked unconscious by the detonation of a mortar shell.  He remained helpless on the battlefield until the wounded could be evacuated under the cover of darkness.

 

Those words preceding are drawn from the citation accompanying the award of the Silver Star to Corporal Carl H. Klein for his actions that day in France. Carl would spend three weeks in a field hospital in France before returning to duty in his unit.  He then continued on with the 2nd Infantry Division through the end of the war, participating in the Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and Central Europe Campaigns.  Three months after the fighting had ended, he came home “on points,” arriving back in the United States on July 28, 1945.  Carl was then discharged from the Army where he had entered it, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas on August 5, 1945 and returned home to Austin.

 

Carl has been a lifetime member of Saint Martin’s Lutheran Church and he immediately started going back to church where he soon met Bess Kauitzsch, a girl from Bartlett who had come to Austin in 1944 to attend Nixon-Clay Commercial College.  For several years Carl took a lot of trips around the State visiting with the families of soldiers that he knew who had died.  There were a lot of Texans in the 38th Infantry and as a medic he had treated many who had been wounded that did not return home alive.  He did that traveling at his own expense and he received heartfelt thanks from many families for the emotional support that his visits provided.  It took him up into 1947 before had seen all the families on his list, and as soon as he had finished the last of them he and Bess were married.

 

Carl had already taken the exam to work for the Post Office before he was drafted.  He got a job as a mail handler at the main post office in Austin and worked there until about 1953.  He transferred to the post office at Bergstrom Air Force Base and worked at successive positions there until his retirement in 1981 as Postmaster of the base Post Office.  Having been born in Austin, and having been an Austin resident for his entire lifetime, except for his service during WWII, Carl Klein says he has seen so many changes in Austin that he could not begin to describe them.  His family had lived on East Avenue when he was growing up and East Avenue has been Interstate-35 for many decades now.  When he and Bess married, they bought a new home and lived in it until 1956.  Carl is not a charter member of Chapter 1919; but, he is one of our early members, having joined us soon after the chapter was formed.

 

Carl H. Klein provided this Purple Heart story for publication in the February 2006 issue of PATRIOT BULLETIN.  Carl passed away in June 2008.


 

 

CARL H. KLEIN

RECIPIENT OF THE SILVER STAR MEDAL AND THE COMBAT MEDIC’S BADGE

 

 

WEDDING PICTURE OF CARL AND BESS IN 1947

 

WARTIME PHOTOS OF CARL.

CARL TOOK A LOT OF SNAPSHOTS AND HE HAS A TREMENDOUS ALBUM OF WWII VINTAGE VIEWS OF FORT SAM HOUSTON AND CAMP WOLTERS IN TEXAS, AND WINTER SCENES OF A SNOWBOUND CAMP MCCOY IN WISCONSIN


 

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