Paschal McCoy, 90th ID, 315th Eng
Paschal McCoy (1915-1971)
Served US Army 90th Division, 315th Engineers Company A. Retired Captain.
Recipient of the Purple Heart and Silver Star.
He was born in Paris Arkansas (1915) rather than work in the coal mines he joined the Army. I do not have the exact date he joined however I do know he was a member of the 315th from the beginning of training at Camp Barkeley, Texas in 1942. There is a wealth of information on the 315th Combat Engineers written by FRANK GILCHRIST at http://www.90thdivisionassoc.org/90thdivisionfolders/mervinhogg/315/315frameunit.htm
He received several battlefield promotions during his tour, finally reaching the rank of Capitan. I am working on obtaining the paperwork for this Silver Star and Purple Heart.
While stationed at Fort Dix (Jan. 1944 to Mar. 1944) in New Jersey he met my mother. She was a USO event coordinator bringing girls from the Philadelphia area over to Fort Dix on Friday and Saturday evenings to dance with the men stationed there. They became acquainted there and remained in contact throughout his tour. After he was wounded (hit by shrapnel or bullet in his leg) he was shipped back stateside. He spent about a year recovering at Valley Forge army hospital. When he was released he retired (active duty) and married. He secured a job as Chief Engineer for a Philadelphia company and raised 4 children. He died on Nov. 19th 1971 of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. He is buried at Saint Peter and Paul cemetery in Springfield PA.
He only talked about his war experiences once and spoke mainly of some of the fun he and his comrades had. It was clear by his silence on the other events that what he had endured was horrific. A year or two after his death a friend of his, (Curtis Ivy, also of the 315th Co. A) came to visit my mother. He was with my father when my father was wounded. From his account my father was hit during a fierce firefight in a semi wooded area (this was during the winter as he said there was snow on the ground.) Shortly after my father was hit his company had to pull back leaving my father there. From my fathers account, after he was hit and his company pulled back the Germans advanced looting what they could from the wounded and dead. They stripped him of his clothing and left him in the snow. At one point a German soldier had pointed his weapon at my father and was about to shoot him. Another soldier intervened. My father thought the other soldier may have said something like he is going to die anyway. He laid there all that evening, packing snow around his leg to slow the bleeding. He had hid a pack of matches between his legs (a common practice from what I was told) but dared not light them for fear that the Germans would return and shoot him. The following morning his company was able to advance and tend to the dead and wounded. My fathers friend (Curtis) made sure my father was quickly evacuated. Curtis had come to visit us seeking forgiveness from my mother for leaving my father on that day. There was no need for forgiveness, he had done nothing wrong.
I think what struck me most about my father was he never talked about the circumstances leading up to him receiving the Silver Star.
I have attached several pictures of my father. You have my permission to use them as needed, with the exception of the Company A photograph and roster. That is property of Art Ward here is a link to it http://www.90thdivisionassoc.org/90thdivisionfolders/companypics/315thcoa/315thcoaall.htm
My family and I would like to thank you for the work you are doing. The 5 second clip of our father is the only movie footage we have of him. While it is brief, it has brought enormous joy to us.
Watch Paschal McCoy on 90th Division Infantry Invasion of Normandy Series- Volume XV Chapter 13 (time is 38:28 to 38:32)
Just after a close-up scene of a man (medic helmet) drinking out of a canteen there is a scene of several men passing by in a truck. My father is seated next to the driver in the passenger seat (you can see a mustache on him.)