Alvin A. Brodbeck
Al Brodbeck, The man who had to die by mistake.
Grave 5 in the 18th row of box C is the final resting place of soldier 1st class Alvin A. Brodbeck, a family man from Louisville, Kentucky, which by an administrative error was called under arms and was boarded by mistake-then-again to Europe in 1945, where he was killed by a bullet from an SS rifle.Al, or Butch, as he was called in his family, was 24 years old and had a postponement from military service because he did important work as architectural designer for an American lifts factory. He was married and had a two-year-old son, that also was called Butch. The Brodbeck's had a piece of land purchased in Louisville, Kentucky, where they wanted to build a cottage. Though it was already the drawings started when he got a call in July 1944 to his surprise for military service.
What turned out to be? The administrator of his company had forgotten to submit the usual forms for the periodic renewal of his reprieve. There was nothing more to do. A month after d-day was Butch called at Camp Hood, Texas, recruut for a basic training as an infantryman. After that training he was told he was added to the framework school for officers at the mapping authority in New Jersey, where he would have to sign ordnance survey maps. But first he was allowed home on leave. His wife Mildred and his little son he had not seen for over 4 months. In the ten wonderful days that they were back together, they took the decision that Mildred would move with the little Butch once Al had found a home in his new place. When his leave was over Al stepped with optimistic outlook in the troop train that would bring him to his new destination. En route to the East Coast turned out that one of the conscripts in its coupé mumps had, when the whole wagon was shunted in quarantine and had to get sidetracked. That maneuver would get for all fatal consequences, because soon afterwards became the wagon mistakenly linked to an army train with reserves for the front, that the soldiers took to New York. Despite all protests, they were brought there aboard the Queen Mary and sent to Europe.
Instead of army cards to draw in New Jersey, he underwent his baptism of fire as armor infantryman in the North French Nancy, where Al Brodbeck was added to the 44th Armored Infantry Battalion of the 6th Division of the Sixth Army. Then rushed his new unit on by Germany and arrived in april 1945 in Groitzsch (Eastern Germany), where he on Friday the 13th by a SS unit was shot dead after he had been reported as a volunteer for a nighttime action.Shortly after, Mildred received the telegram that began with the sentence "We regret to inform you ...". "My world was crushed, "says Mildred. "Our son was almost three and I can still see his face with those frightened eyes, every time he asked, Mom, are you going to cry again now? After the war I had a difficult time. All around us were the families again happily reunited but I had to go on alone.
Thank God I can pick it up and the pieces back together for my son and me. Mildred later became a journalist for the Douglas Daily News-press in Castle Rock-near Denver, Colorado-and made in her spare time name as balloon sailing star. Al Brodbeck, who initially got a temporary grave in the East German Brenau, rest for a half century in the Limburg Earth. His wife visited him there for the first time in 1967, along with Mrs Liberthe J-de Graaff from Heerlen, which the grave as 14-year-old schoolgirl had been adopted. "Because Margraten so far away," said Mildred, "we go every year on Memorial Day back to Louisville, where his name is mentioned on a memorial for the fallen of that place. That's pretty much our own Margraten ".
Source: Dagblad De Limburger, D-day in Zuid-Limburg (translation)
The San Bernardino County Sun
(San Bernardino, California)
3 May 1981 • Page 34
18 May 1945, Fri • Page 10
21 Aug 1946, Wed • Page 8
Alvin A. Brodbeck
Private First Class, U.S. Army
Service # 35815523
44th Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division
Entered the Service from: Kentucky
Buried at: Plot C Row 18 Grave 5
Netherlands American Cemetery
Awards: Purple Heart