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Patton's Troubleshooters Book                        Patton's Troubleshooters DVD

 

 

 

Introduction
 

This book began for me as nothing more than a wish to fulfill a quest, started by my maternal Grandfather, on behalf of my family.  This quest involved the search for information about my Uncle, who died in World War II.

 

Frank Lee Ream, Jr. 2nd Cavalry Division

 

In the beginning, I had no intention of writing a book, or for that matter, of doing more than trying to discover the most basic of information about my Uncle.  However, as fate would have it, in order to solve my seemingly simple problem, I would be forced to become a self-taught expert on certain areas of contemporary American/European history. 

 

In order to answer that simple question asked by my Grandfather: How did my Son die?  I would need to totally rearrange my life, and walk where no one had walked before.  The area in which I would have to tread was a shadowy one at best.  Having a natural inclination for history was my first asset. Having a background in journalism helped.  A working knowledge of the basics of investigative research techniques was crucial.  But by far, the most important asset in my favor, was the mule-headed determination to do what was reputedly impossible.  So, my task evolved from a search for one man, to an attempt to write the history of a tank battalion. 

 

As my work progressed, I soon came to realize that in order to tell the story of this small unit of tankers, I would also have to (partially at least) write the story of an entire division, an Army, a national hero, and a world war.  A project such as this is overwhelming to say the least. This is undoubtedly why no one else had bothered to do this job before me.  And why should they?  The rewards are not of the type to attract those seeking financial gain.  The only financial benefit for all my time and expenses will be a very modest profit from the sale of this book.  At best, I can hope to recoup my expenses.  One might ask:  Why do it?  I can only answer:  Because it seemed the right thing to do.  This would lead one to question my sanity, which I have done on numerous occasions.  Sane or not, I have accomplished my task, where I was supposed to have failed.

 

The bulk of my information came from documents in the collection owned by Col. William B. Miller, U.S.A. Retired.  Col. Miller had the foresight to realize the historical significance of these papers.  Among these papers were personal journals, diaries, reports (morning and monthly), letters, etc.  Another part of my information came from interviews with those who had a personal knowledge of events which transpired.  Many problems presented themselves.  In the case of the above mentioned documentation, there was the problem of reading handwritten papers, (many of which were written while the writer was riding down a bomb-cratered road in a tank) now yellowed and brittle with age.  In most cases the writers of these papers were not thinking of the historical significance of what they were writing.  Many errors in spelling, punctuation, etc. were evident in most of these documents. 

 

Analyzing and correlating this enormous amount of documentation, and then transcribing most of it was a Herculean task.  Of the interview data, a whole new set of problems arose. Since most of the men interviewed were 60 to 80 years of age, a certain degree of clouded memories was involved.  In some cases, deliberate fabrications of events were encountered.  In rare instances, these fabrications were created to make a man's part in an event, bigger than life.  Generally those men who deliberately altered the facts, did so to try to erase bad memories.  This phenomenon of attempting to erase horrible memories, is in itself the main stumbling block to overcome when interviewing war veterans. 

 

What amazed this writer, was that forty-three years had done little to take the edge off of the horrors faced by these men.  It was the rare man, who seemed to not suffer any after-effects of the war.  Much research has gone into the after-effects on veterans of Vietnam, but it is this writer's humble opinion that the W.W.II Veteran merits more study of the long term effects of war's horrors.

 

Taking the data derived from interviews, documentation, and memoirs is akin to putting together a picture puzzle.  Once the pieces were grouped into categories, the facts were separated from the fiction.  Every attempt was made to correct honest errors in spelling and punctuation.  I did take the liberty of translating military time into civilian.  I believe the average reader of this history will be civilian, so I attempted to accommodate those readers. Those readers who prefer to think in military time are asked to bear with me.  At no time was any attempt made to change the emphasis or meaning of the original material.  This writer has made every attempt to maintain accuracy.  Any errors in spelling, such as names of foreign places, were deliberately left to maintain the flavor of the original material.

 

In creating this “Revised Edition”, I merged “Patton’s Troubleshooters”, “Patton’s Troubleshooters II”, and “Patton’s Troubleshooters III” into one book.  There was not much repetition, so my job was fairly straightforward.  I tried to stay true to the originals, but yet tried to improve the finished product, and make it more than the mere sum of the originals.  I hope that I have succeeded in that effort, but I leave it to you, dear reader to judge.  The opinions of those interviewed or the authors of source material are not necessarily the opinions of this writer, and no responsibility for these views or opinions is taken.  In the course of researching for this book, this Writer was honored with the privilege of becoming an Honorary Member of the 702nd Tank Battalion Red Devils Association.  I have been fortunate to come to be friends with many of these men, and have been taken into their hearts and homes.  These were very special people, and this is their story . . .

 

 

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