FOREWORD: BY LEE HATFIELD, JR., SON OF PFC. LEE E. HATFIELD, 3rd INFANTRY DIVISION, 30th REGIMENT, 2nd BATTALION, Co. F & Hq. Co.
When I was a kid I asked my father endless questions about his wartime experiences. I sat on the floor with the 3rd Division and 30th Regiment histories and drilled him about Brolo, Anzio, the Colmar Pocket and Germany. He was always careful not to give too many details or to make it sound as it horrible as it was. To be able to hold his souvenir German P38 pistol was a special event. I lost interest during and after my teenage years and I regret that to this day. That may have been the time we needed to talk about it more. Then it became too late.
Several years ago I began reading the old books again. In February of 2001 I searched the Internet and found your website. When you answered my letter the same night, I never thought it would develop into the friendship we now have. I am very grateful for your friendship. You have shown me what it was like way back then in the sweltering summers and icy, muddy winters of Italy, France and Germany. Your hardships and sacrifices were those of our fathers. I know that you are proud of your service to our country and I have a deep respect for you, for what you did and for who you became in the process. You can look back on a life filled with hard work, success, a loving family and, of course, your music. These are wonderful accomplishments that must have seemed like impossible daydreams during the years from 1943 to1945. Congratulations.
I’ve read your story many times and I’m always taken by your sense of loyalty to your friends. Those guys were a major part of your life. I recalled these song
lyrics as I realized that those buddies were in your heart when you sat down to express yourself in your story:
“One of these days
I’m gonna sit down and write a long letter
To all the good friends
And I’m gonna try
To thank them all for the good times together
Though so apart we’ve grown…..
One of these days…..
And it won’t be long…..it won’t be long.”
Neil Young – 1992
Norm, your story is your ‘long letter’ and it is a true tribute to you and your comrades of World War II. You didn’t ask to go and you didn’t want to be there.
You witnessed unspeakable horrors and served with honor. Again, I am honored to be your friend and to have the opportunity to express my feelings here. I will never forget your kindnesses. May we have many more years of friendship.
Here’s to the 3rd Infantry Division – 30th Regiment .
Lee E. Hatfield, Jr.
May 8, 2002