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702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils Flag Returned!

By Terry D. Janes

 

At the end of World War Two, Lt. Col. Ralph Talbot, Commanding Officer of the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils ordered Battalion S-4 Supply Officer Capt. Sidney Cohen to donate the battalion flag with it's battle streamers to the State of Pennsylvania.  Captain Cohen followed orders, and sent the flag to the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.  Through a series of bureaucratic blunders, the flag ended up "lost"!  In the mid-eighties, I enquired about the flag, and was told by my Mentor, Col. Wm. B. "Bull" Miller, the story of what was supposed to have happened to the flag.  I asked Bull, and then later, Jim Hardy if they had any idea of where it was stored, as I would like to get a photo of it.  Neither man knew, and my enquiry sparked their interest as well.  Being one who believes in going to the top, I wrote to the governor of Pennsylvania at the time, asking where the flag might be located.  I explained that the Red Devils have an annual reunion, and that many families were interested in this symbol of all the brave men of the 702nd fought for.  I received a reply that after a thorough investigation, the flag could not be found.  We knew that Col. Talbot's reasoning in choosing Pennsylvania as a permanent home for the flag was because the majority of it's men came from that state.

 

For many years, the flag seemed lost forever.  One day, not so long ago, a government agency was preparing to demolish an old building.  As they emptied this old storage building, they threw away two old flags.  One was that of the 167th Transportation Battalion.  The second was none other than that of the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils, complete with campaign ribbons, as it was folded and sent to Pennsylvania in 1945!  If it weren't for the sharp eye of a young man by the name of Keith Lengle, who rescued these flags, they would be lost forever in a landfill!  Keith's Mother, Carol Lengle went on the Internet to see if she could find anything about either unit.  Her search brought her to this website.  Carol wrote to me to see if the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils was the owner of this flag.  Later, after learning that indeed it was our missing flag, Keith Lengle was kind enough to drive the 300 miles to Uniontown, Pa., to personally present Pete Porreca, President of the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devil's Association with the flag.  Pete proudly sent me these photos.  My eighteen-year search for this flag is now complete!  I wish that Col. Bull Miller, Jim Hardy and the other boys could have lived to see this!  But we Red Devils who remain, will love and care for our flag forever, in honor of those who have gone before us!  May it always wave proudly!  It represents the blood and sacrifices of the Red Devils and their families. Our eternal thanks to the Lengle Family, and especially to Keith!

 

702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils Association President, Pete P. Porreca proudly poses with the newly returned battalion flag.

 

Note the 80th Infantry Division and 3rd U.S. Army insignia being faced by the Red Devil!

On each end, hang the campaign ribbons earned with blood by the brave men of the Red Devil Battalion in W.W. 2

 

 

 

 

 

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