Paratrooper beaten to death for stealing, 1945

Discussion in 'USA' started by jspitery, May 27, 2011.

  1. jspitery

    jspitery Member

    My Dad served in the 505th Paratroop Infantry. My Dad was extremely afraid of heights and was often asked why he would become a Paratrooper. He would always respond "Everyone has to be afraid of something so the best thing to do is try and overcome your fear". He would also say, "fear keeps you alive".

    Dad told me a horrific story about an incident that occurred during the final days of his Paratrooper training at Ft Benning GA.
    He told me that someone in his barracks was sneaking around stealing wallets and wings from the everyones footlockers.
    Dad explained that stealing wallets was bad enough but stealing some ones wings, something that was not so easily earned was absolutely sacrilegious. So when the thief was caught in the act by his fellow Paratroopers he was beaten to death. Dad said nearly everyone got in a kick or a punch on the guy. I tried to research the incident, but could not find anything relating to it at all.
    I've been told it's was probably something the military would have taken care of quietly and internally, especially during war time.
    Any thoughts?
     
  2. PA. Dutchman

    PA. Dutchman Senior Member

    When I was in Basic Training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center we had a thief in the company.

    During an Inspection the Officer told this guy the only thing on his uniform that passed any kind of inspection was his hat.

    The Officer pulled it off his head and discovered the guy had taken someone's hat without permission and got caught this time.(our names were stenciled in our hats)

    We did not beat him to death but he never went near anyone's personal gear again.

    A thief in the military and your unit is a slug and needs to be dealt with. There is no place in a unit for a thief or liar.
     
  3. Goodygixxer

    Goodygixxer Senior Member

    If that happened in the Royal Navy, they would get a hatch dropped on their fingers!
    Harsh......but fair!
     
    A-58 likes this.
  4. Tab

    Tab Senior Member

    A chap in our unit was caught stealing and while trying to run for it he fell down two flights of stone stairs and broke both wrists and a couple of ribs. It was the thing at one time that we did not have lock any thing up and if any one needed any cash or any thing else they just asked for it and they got it, on the understanding that it would be paid back and it always was.
     
  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    :lol: Everyone steals in the British Army .... Its a right of passge to have some of your kit nicked.

    The Americans didn't call us the 'Borrowers' for nothing - I'm still borrowing some USMC kit 8 years on ;)
     
  6. PA. Dutchman

    PA. Dutchman Senior Member

    One of the saddest things I witnessed was a WWII Veteran who was a terrible Alcoholic, I worked with him years ago. A lot of WWII Vets had drinking problems for sure and never received the aid they should have in the US for combat issues.

    This man could not get enough money to drink so he started stealing out of our lockers at work. We had never had a problem with stealing in the past. He was caught and fired.

    He never got the real help he needed and his drinking killed him. Drinking killed a lot of American Veterans years after the war.

    I knew a few fine men who died from drinking who came back from the War. Our local social clubs and bars were supported by them. Now many have died and are dying. My father never became problem drinker, but he would go up to the club to sit and drink with other Veterans of the War. They understood each other as no one else could.
     
  7. Goodygixxer

    Goodygixxer Senior Member

    A chap in our unit was caught stealing and while trying to run for it he fell down two flights of stone stairs and broke both wrists and a couple of ribs. It was the thing at one time that we did not have lock any thing up and if any one needed any cash or any thing else they just asked for it and they got it, on the understanding that it would be paid back and it always was.


    Fell or pushed?????
     
  8. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    :lol: Everyone steals in the British Army .... Its a right of passge to have some of your kit nicked.

    The Americans didn't call us the 'Borrowers' for nothing - I'm still borrowing some USMC kit 8 years on ;)

    What piece of gear suited your fancy so much that it drove you to "appropriation" of said item?

    I stole a couple of brand new garbage cans from the back of our battalion HQs one day. Actually, I dropped off a couple of old and grungy ones that belonged to my company and made off with the new ones. I didn't really enjoy scrubbing garbage cans, and when my platoon sergeant stepped away to the chow hall for some coffee I made my move. The staff duty NCO spied me as I was making a run with the goods and called for me to return them. I continued the E & E drill (escape and evade) and went between the barracks of Co A and HHC before looping back to my barracks (Co C). Things like that never change I guess.
     
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I was lent a USMC Eureka tent and a couple of pairs of trousers (Euro and Desert Cam) both of which are now cut down shorts and a Desert Boonie...Then there was the boxes of 12 x MRE's but I've eaten all of them :D
     
  10. snafu_72

    snafu_72 Junior Member

    My dad who served in the USN in WWII said that anyone caught stealing was taken out to the fantail for some "counseling" and told it was a long swim back to shore. AFAIK no one ever went for a swim but the potential was always there.
     
  11. PA. Dutchman

    PA. Dutchman Senior Member

    Again it was at work and we got paid enough to purchase anything we made. We had a man steal for years things we made and some of the others thought it was funny.

    I said "Listen a thief will steal from anybody, not just the company so just remember that and lock your locker!"

    Some had not thought of that then they did not think his stealing was so funny anymore. The same with a liar, they have no ethics.
     
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  12. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

     
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  13. PA. Dutchman

    PA. Dutchman Senior Member

    Smudger Jnr,

    He sounds a lot like my father, he was hard on us too. Some this came out of hard childhood during a hard Depression. My mother told me more before she died that my father had a very difficult life as a child.

    His father was a WWI Veteran and although he always held a job he was a very very difficult person and heavy and constant drinker. How knows what he might have experienced.

    My father and his brother joined the service as soon as they could to get out and away. Their sister did as well. She lived with some relatives at times before going to school to become a US Army Surgical Nurse in WWII.

    Coming out of that background and my father served in the Pacific from 1937 to 1945 in some of the worse of the fighting he had some issues. However he tried to be a father, he did the best he could. I only wish he had been more open and shared more and I know we would have been closer and had a better relationship.

    A lot of the WWII Veterans came out of a long deep and dark economic Depression. Coming out of this Depression they went into a World War. Who knows how we might have adjusted or reacted to such pressures had we had to face the same difficulties.

    I know others who express the same thoughts "if we had only realized or known, if my father had only been able to share more."

    My called me once before a serious operation I had. He said, "I will thinking of you tomorrow, I have never been able to say what I am trying to say now, but know I - I - I - I do care and do worry." He just could not say "I love you", but he showed it in many other ways.
     
  14. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Again it was at work and we got paid enough to purchase anything we made. We had a man steal for years things we made and some of the others thought it was funny.

    I said "Listen a thief will steal from anybody, not just the company so just remember that and lock your locker!"

    Some had not thought of that then they did not think his stealing was so funny anymore. The same with a liar, they have no ethics.

    That 'code' extends beyond the military.

    We had a similar occurrence in high school. Many of us lost valuables over the course of two years from our lockers, particularly in the gym classes. The culprit was finally caught rifling lockers one day and the athletic director (a tough, old school teacher and war vet), actively encouraged the "attitude adjustment" that the thief received. He was beaten black and blue and was away from school for several days.
    There were dozens of people who had items stolen so his return to class was very unpleasant. Ultimately, he had to transfer to another school to escape the ongoing retribution.

    I don't recall being very sympathetic.
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    I don't think that the Army keeps stats on "slipped on soap" incidents.
     
  16. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    I don't buy that he was beaten to death, especially stateside.
     
  17. A-58

    A-58 Not so senior Member

    Maybe not intentionally beat to death, but possibly died as a result of massive retaliation of those who really could care less for thieves in their midst. It was probably wrote off as a "training accident" in the hand to hand combat pit. People were very believing of their government in the old days.
     

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