I was a member of a small night patrol out on reconnaissance in the Ardennes in Belgium. After a brief skirmish with a German machine gun outpost, we headed back towards our lines. On the way back, we were challenged by an American machine gun outpost. In the confusion of battle, none of our patrol members remembered the password. What ever made me answer this way I’ll never know. I yelled out, “We are American. We don’t know the password, but if you are a G.I. we’ll kiss your f—c—g a–s.” We were allowed to enter our lines.

The irony of this incident fell into place 40 years later at our annual Division reunion. While chitchatting with my buddies from E Company, this incident came up. I never knew the G.I. sentry who challenged our patrol that night. To my amazement, Bud Black from Kokomo, Indiana, told me he was that sentry. His finger was ready to squeeze the trigger on his machine gun when he heard my reply to his challenge. The language convinced him we were American G.I.s. I hesitated to tell this story because of the language. In reality, though, it saved our lives.

U.S. Army Star
James Hennessey
E Company, 345th Infantry Regiment

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