PFC Paul E. Priest

HQ Company, 52nd Infantry Battalion, 9th Armored Division

Paul E. Priest was born on December 25, 1925, in Flint, Michigan.

In the spring of 1942, Paul’s high school graduation was followed by a draft letter from the U.S. Army on June 28, 1944. He completed basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida, and was assigned to the 9th Armored Division as an Infantryman.

Paul landed in France on December 25, 1944, involuntarily assigned as a replacement crew on a Sherman tank. After asking his captain for another assignment, he was granted a move and assigned to the division’s headquarters company, performing reconnaissance patrols for the division. During these patrols, he obtained two German pistols and one Italian Beretta from deceased German soldiers and preferred those pistols in close combat. Paul’s patrol operated in front of the division and was always on the move.

On March 7, 1945, he was on the lead Pershing’s tank of the 9th Armored Division. He directed the column to the Ludendorff Railway Bridge over the Rhine River at Remagen. He helped create a wooden sign placed on the east bank of the bridge stating ’’Cross the Rhine with dry feet, courtesy of the 9th Armored Division.” Moving into Germany, his unit spearheaded the 9th Armored Division into Germany crossing the border to Czechoslovakia.

Paul was honorably discharged on February 2, 1946.