CW3 Smith S. Niehaus, USA-Ret.

CW3 Smith S. Niehaus, USA-Ret.
16 April 1918

I enlisted in the regular Army in Ft. Logan, Colorado in October, 1939 and assigned to the 7th Engineer Battalion. I was then assigned to Ft. McClellan, Alabama, and then to Ft. Knox, Kentucky. From there, I was sent on Army maneuvers in Louisiana and Tennessee, then to Camp Custer, Michigan to train National Guard Troops, back to Ft. Know and then again to Ft. Custer, Michigan. By this time I was a supply sergeant in the 7th Engineer Battalion.

In December, 1941, I had a furlough at Christmas time and planned to get married - until Pearl Harbor was hit by the Japanese. I had three days to tell my intended in Evansville, Indiana, that I was on my way overseas. So, we postponed our wedding until I returned.

As part of the 5th Infantry Division, the 7th Engineers went to Iceland where we relieved the British Army which had garrisoned in Iceland to keep the Germans from capturing it after the fall of Denmark. While in Iceland, we built Army camps and a complete hospital. Our most important job was to help build Keflavik Airport, which was needed to ferry aircraft from the U. S. to Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland and on to England.

In July 1943, I flew with the 5th Division advance party to England. Having been promoted to technical sergeant, I was assigned to Battalion Supply and Division Engineer Supply. There, I requisitioned, received, and stored all the engineer equipment to re-equip the 5th Division.

After more training in North Ireland, it was on to Normandy in France about a month after D-Day. Then the 5th Division became part of the Third Army under General George Patton and joined the fight across Europe through France, Luxemburg, and Germany all the way to the Austrian-Czechoslovakian border. The war ended on May 8, 1945.

We rode a train back to France and a ship home to the land of the round doorknobs. I was discharged from the Army in June, 1945. On July 1, 1945, I married the girl who had waited 3½ years until I got home. After a honeymoon in Wisconsin, I worked as a civilian until May 1947, when I re-enlisted in the Army. I completed over 23 years and put in for early retirement in 1965. During my service, I had tours in the United States, two 3-year tours to Germany, and 13 months in Korea. I retired as Chief Warrant Officer W-3.

As my wife and I had no children, we decided to help the Scholarship Fund of the Retired Officers Association, now the Military Officers Association of America. We are both retired at 91 years of age and 64 years of married life together.

Written by
Smith S. Niehaus
CW-3 USAR (Ret.)
August 2009