Robert N. Poindexter
NAME: Robert N. Poindexter
PLACE OF BIRTH: IL?
DATE OF BIRTH: 1918?
DATES OF SERVICE: 20 Jan 1942 to Unknown
UNIT ASSIGNED: 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment
Demolitions Platoon, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Demolitions Platoon, Headquarters Company, 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion
508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
CAMPAIGNS: Naples-Foggia, Anzio, Rome Arno, Southern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland
AWARDS: Combat Infantryman Badge, Parachutist Badge with two combat jump stars, EAME Campaign Medal with arrowhead device and five bronze star devices, World War II Victory Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation
SUMMARY OF SERVICE:
Prior to entering the service Robert worked in the oil fields
20 Jan 1942 - Inducted into the service
23 Jan 1942 - Enlisted at Camp Grant, IL - NARA Enlistment Record
|ARMY SERIAL NUMBER||36313441||36313441|
|PLACE OF ENLISTMENT||6112||CP GRANT ILLINOIS|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT DAY||23||23|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT MONTH||01||01|
|DATE OF ENLISTMENT YEAR||42||42|
|GRADE: ALPHA DESIGNATION||PVT#||Private|
|BRANCH: ALPHA DESIGNATION||BI#||Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA|
|BRANCH: CODE||00||Branch Immaterial - Warrant Officers, USA|
|FIELD USE AS DESIRED||#||#|
|TERM OF ENLISTMENT||5||Enlistment for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to law|
|SOURCE OF ARMY PERSONNEL||0||Civil Life|
|YEAR OF BIRTH||18||18|
|RACE AND CITIZENSHIP||1||White, citizen|
|EDUCATION||4||4 years of high school|
|CIVILIAN OCCUPATION||920||Unskilled occupations in production of petroleum|
|MARITAL STATUS||6||Single, without dependents|
|COMPONENT OF THE ARMY||7||Selectees (Enlisted Men)|
|FILM REEL NUMBER||5.125||5.125|
Completed basic training and volunteered for the Paratroops
Assigned to the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, GA
15 Aug 1942 - 502nd PIR is assigned to the 101st Airborne Division
24 Sep 1942 - 502nd PIR transferred to Fort Bragg, NC
After about two weeks at Fort Bragg, NC, about 110 Paratroops were pulled to be replacements in England for the 2nd Bn 503 PIR (which was soon redesignated 2nd Bn 509th PIR in Nov 1942
The 110 replacements were sent to New York to board the Queen Mary and sailed for Scotland
The 110 replacements arrived in England and were placed in the rear detachment commanded by Lt. Bud Seigel. Pvt. Poindexter was assigned to Demolitions Platoon, HHC, 2nd Bn, 509th PIR. While the 509th left to make Americas first combat jump into North Africa, the rear detachment remained in England and was on regular pass. The rear detachment was responsible for transporting the extra equipment and baggage that was left behind. They boarded a transport about a month later and sailed for Casablanca.
In Casablanca the rear detachment boarded the train in boxcars called 40 and 8's (referring to holding either 40 Soldiers or 8 horses) that was going to Masion Carre? about 8 1/2 mile south of Algers. Along the way the train would make occasional stops and Soldiers would get off and stretch and eat. On one of these stops, Robert and a friend built a fire to heat meals and the train took off with out them. They attempted to run and get on but were not able to catch up. Not knowing how far to the next station, they walked back to the last station and waited for the next train to Algers. I n Algers they reported in to the Captain and fortunately were not reported as AWOL.
Robert remembers occasionally getting passes into Algers. Robert also remembers doing several practice jumps in North Africa. On one jump he became entangled in his parachute. He was able to get free in time and his canopy deployed but because of the low opening and the terrain they thought he was dead. They made him do another jump by himself just to make sure he would not have problems with jumping later.
Next they flew to Sicily and landed only spent a short time there preparing for the invasion of Italy
Robert remembers jumping into Avellino, Italy and being with Lt Col. Yardleys group when the Italian guide led them into a trap. Robert was will back in the movement and when the ambush took place he and several others were able to escape. Poindexter and Ryder hide out together near the top of a mountain where they spent four to five days evading the Germans who were searching the area in strength. Eventually they linked up with about 15 others and evaded overland to Naples, along the way they were straffed by Germans. In Naples they linked up with the returning 509ers where they lived in tents and eventually moved into the School House in Piscinola, Italy.
In Piscinola, Italy they trained in amphibious operations in preparation for Anzio. They boarded the HMS Winchester and sailed for Anzio as part of the Rnger Task Force. At Anzio beachhead they climbed down ropes into LCVPs. He was suprised that there was no shooting as they landed. As they moved inland they conducted patrols. Later he was dug in along a canal when a round landed in front of his foxhole, fortunately it was a dud. He also remembers digging another trooper out after being buried by a round. Remembers going on a patrol into a cemetery to flush out Germans. Fortunately they had already withdrawn.
10 Apr 1944 - General Order # 5, Award of the Combat Infantryman Badge
They were sent back to Naples and began training for the invasion of Southern France.
15 Aug 1944 - Around 0400 in the morning Robert landed in a tree and was able to get himself down. He was in the group that landed near Le Muy, France and worked their way toward Nice, France. Lt. Shaw was his Demolitions Platoon Leader. Lt. Shaw was checking a bridge north or Nice, France when a French Red Cross girl drove up to them and told them that the Germans had left town. She gave the seven of them a ride into town where they were met with celebration and drink.
Next he remembers staying at a ski resort in the Maritime Alps conducting patrols and going on pass to Nice, France.
They were transported north to another town where they were suppose to stay for Christmas. They were there for only about a day or so when they were loaded into trucks and taken to Belgium to counter the German offensive. As Demo Platoon they were tasked to guard the Bn HQ but when the battle for Sadzot, Belgium began they were divided up among A, B, and C Companies for the attack. Poindexter, Harper and Colvin was wounded in the woods around Sadzot by mortar fire. Robert was evacuated to Leige, Belgium for a day then sent back to Paris by New Years Eve. He spent about 3 to 4 weeks recovering. Found out after he recovered that the 509th was disbanded and he was sent to the 508th PIR. Robert was in the Hurtgen Forest with the 508th PIR. He was extremely upset that the 509th was disbanded and that he would not see those guys again.
Robert said that he was 1st Squad Leader in the Demo Platoon replacing Sgt Holder.
Demo Platoon Leaders were Lt. Martin then Lt. Mc Kinney then Lt. Shaw
Demo Platoon Sergeants were Ray Cagle (captured in Avellino) then Bjelland
He remembers Dusty Rhodes, Rex Wilson, Joe Blackwood, Herb Carls and Conklin in the Demo Platoon
09 Apr 2011 - Passed away
(Photo provided courtesy of the Chandler family)
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