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95th Infantry Division World War II Veterans Honor Their Leader

By Kevin M. Hymel, Historian on 10/21/2022

“We’re here to honor our beloved general,” said Ceo Bauer, a World War II veteran who fought with the U.S. Army’s 95th Infantry Division, at the headstone of Major General Harry Twaddle on October 20, 2022.

Three veterans of the 95th, along with families and friends of the soldiers who served with the division, came to Arlington National Cemetery to remember Twaddle, lay two wreaths at his grave and tour the cemetery. Their visit to ANC was part of the 95th Division Legacy Association’s 72nd Reunion. The division – known as both the “Iron Men of Metz” for its capture of the strategic French city and the “Victory Division” for its success on the battlefield – served in General George S. Patton’s Third Army.

“This is a somber location,” said Baur to the group of about thirty people. He spoke about the importance of veterans as symbols. “I represent the 95th Infantry Division,” he said as his voice choked with emotion. “I represent all veterans, and we veterans understand the role we have.”

ANC Superintendent Charles “Ray” Alexander (pictured above, at left) also spoke at Twaddle’s headstone. He thanked the veterans for their service and called the 95th “one of the finest units to serve in the U.S. Army in the dark days of 1944 and 1945.” Alexander listed some of the division’s achievements and awards, including a Presidential Unit Citation. He told Mr. Bauer, “My father, also a World War II veteran, is buried here, so I promise, sir, I will never forget.”

Mr. Alexander also noted that Maj. Gen. Twaddle had earned the Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star for his command of the division. “The burden of command can be taxing, even more so in combat,” Alexander said. “His command is one worth remembering.”

Clif Twaddle, the general’s grandson, told the group how his grandfather spent his youth as a farm boy, yet managed to pay for a degree at Syracuse University by shoveling coal into the school’s furnaces. While at a Cleveland, Ohio, post office in 1912, he spotted an Army recruitment poster and decided to join. He spent the next 34 years of his life in uniform.

Once the speakers had finished, the three veterans laid a wreath, with the 95th Division symbol in its center, at General Twaddle’s headstone. A French couple from the Metz region followed by laying another wreath with a French flag in its center. Then, the veterans and the French couple gathered at the headstone, while the crowd took photos. “This is really emotional,” said Bauer, his voice again shaking. Before leaving, he saluted his commanding general’s headstone.  

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Kevin M. Hymel