U.S. Army 1943–1946


Joseph Alpers saw action in France and Germany as a radio operator with the 245th Combat Engineers. Attached to the 3rd Army under Patton, the 245th cleared minefields and restored bridges and roads. He recounts the push into Germany and the end of the war. Seeing pictures from a concentration camp, Joe visited the camp a few days after liberation and speaks of the conditions of the camp, of the haunting images in the pictures, and the denial by the townspeople who lived close by. Joe speaks of the two individuals who made lasting impressions on him: Staff Sgt. Breton from Maine and Staff Sgt. Summers, his instructor in boot camp, who “was the Army” in Joe’s eyes: tall, strong, stern and fair.

Alpers at inspection time
A stone-crushing machine
Shoring up a pier for a new bridge




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