Eyewitness to Malmedy Carnage

Member Clearsy Mullins was going through the papers of her late husband Chester Mullins, 7 ARMDD, 38 AIB, Co A, and came across this startling letter, dated May 28, 1998:

Chester Mullins,  7 ARMDD
Chester Mullins, 7 ARMDD

Dear Mr. Mullins:

I just received my May [1998] issue of The Bulge Bugle and was reading it, when I came to page 13 and your [inquiry] concerning the 7th Armored Division and the Malmedy incident. I was there, and so was my brother Edward, who was with the 291st Combat engineer Battalion.

First, let me tell you about myself: I was a communication sergeant with Company C, 33rd Armored Engineer Battalion, 7th Armored Division, with CCR. We were through the bulge from December 17, when we came from Holland, and pushed the Germans back to Germany until the end of the war. VE Day was my birthday! It was a long push, but we did what we were supposed to do, and we lost a lot of our buddies.

About the Malmedy incident, I can tell you where I was and what I saw. We were moving around in the bulge to many places. One day we got orders to move, so we’re on the move and came to this crossroad, continued about 100 yards or so until we saw this field to our right. We saw all these GIs laying there, and couldn’t figure out what that was. We took a good look and saw that they were all dead. One guy said it was a graves registration collecting point, but we had seen such points before, and they had laid out all the dead GIs side-by-side in rows. What we saw here were the GIs laying in a scattered manner in an open field. We couldn’t make out what had happened.

Sometime later, we were walking through snow that had fallen the night before, and we recognize the same field. We saw that the bodies were covered with snow, and saw a hand or two sticking out of the snow.

I am one of five brothers who served in World War II—three of us were in Europe. My brother Edward, 291st Combat Engineer Battalion, was in Trois Ponts when the bulge began. His company was called to the Malmedy Massacre site to help the graves registration. When they started to move the bodies, they found that some bodies were booby-trapped, so they called for the engineers to help them. My brother was one of those who had to sweep the snow off of the bodies, and tie a rope to the leg to drag them to a safe place, so that the graves registration could examine them and tag them for removal. A few days later, we found out all about the Malmedy incident; how they were brought to that field and stood there to be machine gunned, killed in cold blood. It got us scared and had us thinking about what it would be like to get captured; to have to stand there and be machine gunned by the enemy. But I guess the Lord was with us, and it didn’t happen. Thank you Lord.

So Mr. Mullins, I hope my little story would be of use to you. Bye for now.

Yours truly,

Henry S. Runbacki