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A Miracle 
at St. Vith

John Coyne (right)
John Coyne (right)

by John R. Coyne, 634th AAA AW BN

After leaving Easton, PA for basic training at Fort Eustus VA, I was sent to England with the 1st Army, 634th AAA BN. Next, I landed at Omaha Beach on D-day.

It was around the 3rd day of December, 1944, about a week and a half before the Battle of the Bulge. We had just cleaned the 40mm gun. The weather was clear on a beautiful day when  Cpt. Wilmount and Col. Rachs came to me and asked me to be the Col’s aid. At first I said, “No sir, I want to stay with my gun crew.” But, after more conversation, I accepted the offer.

This decision saved my life. My gun crew were all killed by Tiger tanks, and D Battery was captured. Later, when going through Malmedy, we came upon a field where a massacre had taken place. It may have been the men of the 634th D Battery who were killed there. This was my miracle at St. Vith.

Afterwards came the bridge at Remagen, where we crossed before the bridge came down.

Later, I was in northern Germany, and with the 3rd Army, 443rd AAA BN in southern Germany, where another soldier and I captured 60 high-ranking soldiers of the German Army.