Austin Civil War Round Table

William and Kathryn Brant

United States Army and American Red Cross

North Africa, Sicily, France, India and Asam, 1942-1945

Bill Brant's Story

William A. Brant was born in Newark, Delaware, and grew up in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Bill's father was a World War I Army veteran. Bill graduated from Somerset High School and attended Pittsburgh University. He was studying for exams at Pittsburgh when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

William and Kathryn Brant "My father had been in the Army, and there was a National Guard unit in Somerset," Bill recalls. "As a kid, I attended a lot of their meetings and marched beside them when they marched uptown and so forth. So it just seemed natural that I would go in the Army."

When Bill went into the service, he found that his time spent with Army veterans was like basic training in itself. "I had learned so many things, I was about six months ahead in training of any of the men who went in with me. Things like general orders, and firing -- I had fired everything up to and including the heavy 30-caliber machine gun," Bill says. "I was assigned to artillery. I probably would have chosen to be in the paratroopers or the infantry. When you're young and dumb, you think things like that. But they sent me to the artillery."

Bill was chosen to go to Officers Candidate School. "As soon as I got my commission, which was almost right away, they sent me to Africa, and that's where I began my overseas tour," Bill recalls. "We went into the Port of Oran, which had been taken by the First Infantry Division, and I was assigned to the First Division Artillery. The division was still conducting operations against the Germans, who were coming up the east side of Tunisia, and so I was transported to the front."

Someone was looking out for the young soldier, because the toughest fighting in North Africa was over by the time he got there. "Not much exciting was going on -- they kept me kind of in the background," Bill says. "We were just kind of mopping up. When we finished the North African campaign, we went back further into Algeria to check our ordinance, check the guns, weapons, and vehicles, and to wait for the next campaign."

Bill's time in Algeria was unexpectedly idyllic. "Actually, it was very pleasant for us -- we enjoyed it very much. We were able to get out and go into shops in Algiers and Oran. There wasn't much you could purchase, but there were girls." Later, Bill and his fellow soldiers were moved to little town called Mostaganem. "Mostaganem was on the north coast of Algeria, between Oran and Algiers. Our battalion had taken over a farm that belonged to a wine merchant, and he made wine. He must have had a lot of it, because every Saturday he drove up to our mess hall in a horse and wagon, and he'd always have about twenty cases of wine. We went for the sparkling wine first. He used to tell us, 'If you don't drink all this wine, you won't get any sparkling wine on the next delivery.' So we drank very heavily on the wine -- breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were right on the coast, so we could go swimming and so forth. And after Africa, the lads I ran into were so happy to be there and out of the fighting, they made the most of it, I'll tell you."

Bill remained in Algeria through the spring of 1943, while he and his fellow soldiers trained and equipped for a boat landing. "As I recall, we didn't know where we were going," Bill says. "We just knew there'd be an operation down the road. Then we loaded on to LSTs and got ready to move to Sicily."

At the beginning of July, Bill's unit left for Sicily. "That was something, because few of us knew very much about the Navy," Bill says. "When we took off, we joined what was then the largest armada that had ever been put together. We were on board for four or five days, eating Navy chow, which wasn't too hard to take. We were happy for that. But the night of July 9th, just before we went in, there was a terrible storm across the eastern part of the Mediterranean. We got quite a bit of it. As a matter of fact, I don't know anyone, except for myself and a couple of other youngsters, who weren't sick going into Sicily. We were bobbing up and down and these guys were sick and throwing up all over, and it was a mess.

"But we went into Sicily the next morning, at Gela Beach, where part of the First Division landed. My LST was the second one in. LST stands for landing ship tank. We got our guns off, and trucks, and started inland. I don't know if you've ever heard of the duck -- it was a vehicle, a 2 1/2-ton truck, which they made into little boats. They had a lot of power and a lot of traction. Since the beach was sandy, almost everybody who came off the LSTs had to take ducks to get across the beach."

Under fire from the Germans, Bill's unit tried to take cover behind some sand dunes. "On the way in, we had shells bursting on our LST and I remember very vividly seeing a doctor that I had run into. He wasn't in our unit, he was in another unit, and he was working on someone -- taking shrapnel out of him. And here he was bleeding all over from shrapnel himself. He'd got caught in those first shells."

They were facing the seasoned veterans of the famous Hermann Goering Panzer Division. "The Germans were tremendous fighters," Bill says. "Of course, we knew them from Africa, had seen them as prisoners, and so forth. They were big, good-looking blonds, we all thought they were good fighters. At least that's the way I felt about it."

The morning after they landed, Bill received orders get down to a spot near the beach for a briefing. He was startled when Division Commander Terry Allen, a two-star general, called him by name. "I went down there, and a two-star general came over to me and said, 'Brant, are you going to be all ready?' We didn't have any name tags or anything -- I was so amazed, I nearly fell through the sand dune. But I said, 'Oh, yes sir, we'll be ready.' What can you say to a general in a spot like that, as a second lieutenant?

"When I got away from there I said to somebody, 'Gee, we aren't wearing name tags. General Allen's really something.' He said, 'He does that all the time. He'll go up to someone and ask the name of that soldier, then go and call the person by name.' And that's what he had done, obviously. But I remembered that, and I used it many times later on. It was a good public relations thing to do."

The Hermann Goering Division hit them just after noon. "They were in sight of the beach, firing on us. They were going to wipe us out, get us off the beaches. We fired back and kept them from coming in. When I say 'we,' it wasn't just our battalion -- we had a lot of help from Navy guns and the Air Force."

Bill recalls, "I was really shook -- scared as could be. But I was willing to go anywhere I was told to go, to help in the fight." Bill went forward with an infantry company and called back information about where German tanks were located, so they could be knocked out. " I'll tell you, we stopped 'em," Bill says. "And that night, we rested a lot easier. Except, that night the Airborne lost twenty-six plane loads of troopers, because everybody was firing at those planes. The coordination was terrible. We were told, 'Be careful, don't shoot tonight because we've got paratroopers coming in,' but apparently the Navy was not that well informed. And when they started firing, it looked like every weapon in Sicily opened up against that outfit. As a consequence, we lost a lot of good troopers."

The First Division continued on into Sicily, as rapidly as the terrain would allow. "There were big hills there," Bill recalls. "I remember we had a joke going on -- 'if you fall off the road, you won't have to worry about getting killed because you'll starve to death on your way down.' That's how steep the mountains and how high they were. Running the ridge lines with our guns was really something."

In Sicily, Bill had a terrifying encounter with a very high-ranking officer. "It was near the center of Sicily, and I was taking a gun off the road," Bill says. "In Sicily, instead of fences, they had stone walls to keep the goats from grazing out. The walls were three to five feet high, and they'd leave little holes in the fences so they could herd the animals through. Then they'd just put a couple of pieces of wood across the holes to keep the animals in.

"I was getting this gun and truck off the road. It was obviously going to be a big job. I was concerned about hitting the sides of the stone walls, because I knew if I damaged one of these vehicles, I'd be paying for it the rest of my life. So I was trying to get this gun and truck off the road without wrecking them. I was directing things, giving hand signals, and all at once I heard a squeaky voice saying: 'Get that goddamn gun off the road, Lieutenant!'

George Patton "I thought it was somebody from the battalion, so I said, 'In a minute, sir,' and I turned around and here were three big stars." It was none other than George Patton. "It was something to see these three big stars glaring at this second lieutenant. I was scared to death. And I said, 'Yes, sir, immediately, sir!' and I gave him a big highball and turned around, and the truck was gone. With the crew, the ammunition, part of the wall, and everything. They were being thrown out of the sides. I got down there and my section sergeant was sitting on an ammo box, holding his head, and he said, "We'll be busted to A-Rabs!" We'd just come from Africa, and being an A-Rab was about the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

"And I was sure we would be, but his jeep went on. I waited for forty-eight hours at least for somebody from the battalion to come down and chew me out, but nobody came. And that was the last I saw of Patton. But that was an infamous greeting from that wartime general. He really scared me to death. I felt sure they'd break me or send me to prison."

"Patton got his glory in Sicily, but he also got into trouble there," Bill says. It was during the Sicilian campaign that Patton generated considerable controversy when he struck a hospitalized G.I. whom he accused of being a malingerer. "I heard about that real fast, because there was another second lieutenant who had been hit in our battalion. And he had been up in the hospital, that hospital, and he came back and told us some wild tale, and we all said, 'Boy I pity that poor S.O.B. who got whacked. Patton will probably get him as soon as he gets back to his outfit and bust him, God only knows what he'll do to him.'

Instead, Patton was reprimanded by Eisenhower and forced to issue a public apology. "They had digest-sized edition of Time magazine, and we got ahold of one about two months later and we saw a writeup about it, and we couldn't believe it," Bill says. "Patton was supposed to speak to all the troops, and he didn't get around to us. I was glad."

The Sicilian campaign was wrapped up in about thirty-five days, after which Bill's unit was loaded onto an Australian ship, bound for England. "We had two meals a day -- fish for breakfast and mutton for dinner," Bill recalls. "I'm not too fond of either one of them. The mutton was really rough. And I was sick. I got malaria and went down to the wardroom to see the doctor, and he said, 'Brant, you don't have to worry about your malaria anymore. You've got yellow jaundice.' He got out a mirror and showed me, He said, 'We're going to have to put you on some kind of a diet, and it's not going to be good.' And it wasn't!"

Bill was happy to arrive in England for some much-needed rest. "Going to England was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me in my life, travel-wise," Bill says. The troops disembarked in Glasgow, Scotland and traveled by train down to the south coast of England. Bill still remembers the pleasures of the trip. "We'd stop at noontime and they'd have a British nappy or someone bring us sandwiches and soup and we'd be there for an hour or so, then they'd blow the whistle and away we'd go. We made a couple of stops on our way -- we didn't know where we were going."

As it happened, they were on the train to a place called Lyme Regis, a small resort town on the south coast of England, about a hundred miles from London. "All I could think of is, after having been in Africa and Sicily, and pretty sick after I got out of the hospital, was that I'd died and gone to heaven. It was so wonderful."

"As soon as we got there, our sergeant got me into this hospital in Axminster, which was about four miles from our encampment," Bill says. "This was in the end of November 1943, and I stayed in the hospital through December. Finally, my yellow jaundice ran dry, and they got me out of the hospital. There wasn't much to do or see in Lyme Regis, but we were real happy. We had a lot of tea, and they had restaurants there that opened for a little while in the evening. The British people were tremendous. I was quartered in this one hotel, and this man used to bring down a bottle of Scotch the night before we went out on some maneuver or to a firing point. I wouldn't even know about it, but he'd say, 'You're going tomorrow,' and he'd bring a bottle of Scotch to us. This was typical of the people I ran into. They were just wonderful -- couldn't have been better.

"We were there until the morning of the 5th of June, 1944. And we were told to get our vehicles ready, we were going to move. On the morning of 6th June, we left our encampment and loaded on to LSTs again, and went into France."

Bill landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy about 4 A.M. on June 7, 1944, the day after D-Day. "It was just barely breaking daylight, and we started up the side of a hill with our truck. I had a three- quarter ton truck then, and our guides would show the batteries where to go. We were being shot at by small-arms fire. We went into an orchard, and de-waterproofed our vehicles and guns and so forth, then took up our positions. At that time I was with the Fifth Field. It was a medium artillery, but the heaviest artillery we had. Our field officers were scattered throughout the division, so we could call in fires from any point. We moved from positions near Omaha Beach on inland.

"If you've seen 'Saving Private Ryan,' you know what we saw, going up off that beach. It was just unbelievable. In those days, you lost twenty, thirty men within the space of minutes." Along the narrow strip of sand were dead and wounded men, as well as piles of debris including burned out tanks, half-sunken boats, and blown-up trucks and halftracks.

Moving into France, Bill was right on the front line. At one point, he took up a position at an observation post north of the town of Caumont, an area of cultivated fields, orchards, and small cottages. From the observation post, the men could observe the German position south of the town and call in reports to help direct artillery fire. One night Bill was on duty at the observation post with another observer, Lt. Paul Zweidock, when the Germans launched a full-scale attack.

With no time to get the radios and equipment out, and with the Americans pulling back under heavy fire, the men found the trap door to a fruit cellar and carried down everything they had. "We were very quiet, and our task was made all the more difficult because of the darkness," Bill recalls. "About the time the firing seemed to be easing up outside, we heard the unmistakable sounds of hard boots on the floor above."

It was a German patrol. "For several minutes, I could not even hear breathing, and I had this extra sense of sight. Even though it was as dark as the bottom of a coal-mine shaft, I believed I could see everyone and everything in that room as clearly as though we were outside in sunlight," Bill says. "I just knew the patrol above would soon let daylight in by opening that door and dropping a 'potato masher' down the ladder, or cut loose with their burp-guns."

After what seemed like an eternity, the Germans left without detecting the Americans hidden in the cellar. But it was a long and dreadful night before the American troops returned about 6:00AM the next morning.

The fighting was made more difficult because of the terrain of rural France, where there were large hedgerows as high as the walls that had been formed from twigs and branches over centuries. "The Germans had great defensive positions in back of those hedgerows," Bill says, "They were hard to get through and if you went around one, you were running into small arms fire from the Krauts. We kept going."

Bill's fight ended on July 25th, 1944. "One morning, I guess it was about noon, or shortly after noon, I was putting a gun in the field, and mortar fire caught us. I got hit. And that was the end of my fighting," Bill says. "Two pieces went in to my jaw and mangled up my lower mandible. It was a million-dollar wound. I was evacuated by air from Normandy back to England, and went to the Cotswolds. I went to one of the three general hospitals.

"The only bad part about that was one of our officers had been wounded earlier, and I owed him fifty dollars from a poker game. He was sent to the same place. Every time they brought a new shipment of wounded in, if you were ambulatory you walked down to see who was there, where they were from, and so forth, and that's what he did. He came down to see if there was anyone there from First Division, and he found me. I said, 'I know, I know, I've got your money.' Fortunately I had the fifty dollars in scrip, so I gave it to him."

Bill stayed at the quonset hut hospital until September, when he was put on the Queen Elizabeth I and headed home to the States. "I had a bridge partner on the QE I, Ernie Pyle. He was my bridge partner most of the time," Bill says. Back in the States, he went into Halloran General Hospital on Staten Island, and then to Deshon General Hospital in western Pennsylvania -- back on his home soil at last.

"I was there a couple of months," Bill recalls. "It was great. That hospital had been built by the state to be a tuberculosis hospital. The war came on, and the state transferred it over to the Feds. But it was manned by a hospital reserves unit out of Pittsburgh, and these people couldn't do enough for us. We had steaks every day. It was just marvelous. The people of Pittsburgh, they couldn't do enough for us. I remember people were promised they could take a wounded veteran to the Ice Capades if they bought a war bond for fifty dollars. As a matter of fact, I went three times to the Ice Capades in Pittsburgh."

After being discharged from Deshon Hospital, Bill was stationed at Fort Bliss. Then he had orders to go to the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. "I went to the Island of Leyte, that's where I ended up. And the war ended just as I got there. So that wasn't so bad. I volunteered my services as a mess officer, then as provost marshal to the colonel who ran the engineer depot. All the time, I was waiting for a ship to come home. I had all the points that were necessary to get home, but I couldn't get a ship. So in the Philippines, I made the best of that that I could. I had a couple of fighting cocks. I didn't learn how bad that was until I got here to Texas," Bill says.

Bill returned to Fort Bliss for six months, then he was sent to Germany to be part of the army of occupation. Because Bill had started out in pre-law, he was assigned to be a defense counsel and was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany. One day, Bill was at the Graf Zeppelin Hotel in Stuttgart when he met a pretty young Red Cross worker named Kathryn.

Kathryn Brant's Story

Red Cross Kathryn Brant grew up in Minnesota. "I had six brothers -- two had passed away before it was time to go to university," Kathryn says. "My dad then moved from Minnesota to Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is where the University of North Dakota is, so we could all go to the university. When Pearl Harbor came, I was a junior in college. We were all called to the armory to hear the president's speech. And of course, everybody who was able went into the service. There was a lot of patriotism, and just disbelief that someone could do that to this country."

Kathryn worked several jobs to get through college, and was determined to pursue her education further. "I had worked at Yellowstone National Park at Old Faithful in the summers, and I had met college students from all over the country. It seemed to me that the people from the East Coast were a little more sophisticated than the rest of the country. So I decided I wanted to go east to college," Kathryn says. "Most of my friends went for Masters degrees at Northwestern for advertising, or to the University of Chicago for social work. At Yellowstone, I met someone who was an escort for the Burlington Tours. The girls from Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith -- the "Seven Sisters" --were taking this tour through Yellowstone. And so I made the remark, 'Those girls just don't know how lucky they are, going to those wonderful schools in the East.' And he said, 'Well, why don't you go?' I said, 'I'm trying to work my way through college here, there's no way I could go.' He said, 'Put in for a Master's degree.' So I did!"

Kathryn received a scholarship to Columbia University. "But I needed a full-time job, because I would not get one penny from my folks. They were against me going to Columbia in the first place. It was in New York, and they figured it wasn't safe, and also my brothers had to get through school." Kathryn found a job with a Columbia professor, Dr. Arthur Linden, and worked for him full-time for two years, while she attended classes at Columbia at night.

"Then I wanted to be in the foreign service, taking international relations, but they weren't sending girls overseas because of the war," Kathryn says. "I found out that the Red Cross was sending people overseas. One of my jobs was to arrange trips for Dr. Linden around the country, and I would go down to Grand Central and Penn Station and arrange his trips. The New York state headquarters for the Red Cross was about three blocks from Penn Station. So I'd go in there and say, 'I want to join. I want to go overseas." They said no -- come back in three years.

"So I jumped on the elevator one day, after being turned down six times, and who was on there but this distinguished-looking woman in a Red Cross uniform. She said, 'You're not very happy on this beautiful day.' I said, 'I've been turned down so many times for the Red Cross.' She said, 'What makes you think you're old enough?' I told her about my work at Yellowstone, and my schooling, and all my brothers. And she said, 'Let me introduce myself. I'm Mrs. Darby, Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, and my best friend is Mrs. Averell Harriman, chairman of the hiring committee. Where are you going?' I said, 'I'm going up to Columbia.' She said, 'My car's out front, I'll drive you.' Two weeks later, I got a call to go in for my final interview. So that's how I got in."

Kathryn spent two weeks at American University in Washington before she was called out for an assignment. "I got all these shots -- bubonic plague, yellow fever, cholera. They had this assignment, and the five healthiest were picked. They said, 'Only four can go, and if someone doesn't volunteer to stay behind, we'll have to pick one.' Well, I volunteered to stay behind, because I liked Washington. But about four days later, I was called out again. I couldn't call anyone, and couldn't write letters.

"We took a troop train from Washington to Camp Anza, which was near Riverside, California. And we went through the basic course. All the physical things, wearing a gas mask, climbing up and down rope ladders. I was there about four weeks. Then, in the dead of night, we went to San Pedro, California, and we boarded a troop ship at night.

"There I was with my gas mask, musette bag, canteen, and rain coat. We went up the ladder, and we did not see land for thirty days. Submarines were chasing us and they were afraid we'd be torpedoed, so they zigzagged. We finally saw Fiji Island and everyone rushed and cried, 'Land, Land!' From Fiji, we docked in Melbourne, Australia. That's when we opened our orders. And I was to report to a school in Calcutta."

Escorted by British corvettes. Kathryn's ship crossed the Indian Ocean and docked in Bombay, India. "We got on a troop train again, and of course they had K-rations because you couldn't eat any of the food," Kathryn says. "You could smell India a day out. It was a filthy place, and all these beggars in the streets. We crossed India by train. I think it took about three days. Of course all the names have changed now, but we went to Benares, which is supposed to be the holy city, and you could see from the train the people were bathing in the Ganges, and then drinking the water.

"So I went to Calcutta and went to this school to learn about how to take care of yourself, and all the different diseases, and what was going on in India. We had taken this big air field in Burma, but the Japanese had retaken it. That was the big mission, to go back and take the Myitkyina air field. I heard rumors that India was involved, but I don't know if it's true or not. Of course they were building the Lido Road.

"I was amazed at Calcutta," Kathryn says. "It was so filthy, you'd step over bodies in the street. Cows are sacred, so they of course they were walking all over. A man took my foot locker and put it on his head, and we saw two people running down the street with a piano on their head. It was just mind-boggling.

"I was supposed to be in a small hospital, as a hospital administrator. My first assignment was in a small town about a hundred miles into Bengal. I took the train, all alone, and there were Indian men in there, of course. It took about eight or nine hours to get there. Most people just flew in, because there were no roads. The British had control of India at that time and had built the roads and bridges, and anything really elegant was British

"Finally someone came for me and took me out in an ice truck to this base, to a basha, a thatched roof hut with a mud floor. There were two Red Cross girls there, a nurse and another girl. They said, 'We're glad you're here, because we're taking off -- we can't stand this place a minute longer!' So they left, and I was alone there. This outpost was home to a mapping squadron, they'd come over the hump to the Himalayas to map China, and many of them had lost their lives in the mountains. I called Calcutta and said that Jenny had gone, and they said, 'If you ever hear from her, let us know.' I had to have someone on the front of the basha with guns. But I refused to leave. I felt it would be like going AWOL."

Kathryn stayed until someone finally came to take her place. Because she stayed there alone, the Red Cross rewarded her by letting her choose her next posting in India. "I said I wanted to be near a large city, so they put me eighteen miles from Calcutta at Hastings Mill, which was this jute mill and the Army Air Corps headquarters. I was in a very small hospital. I used to take an ambulance into Calcutta, to get my supplies at the main hospital there. I was there about eight or nine months." During this time, Kathryn and a friend saved their days off and were able to visit Kashmir, where they lived on a houseboat for three weeks. Kathryn was in Kashmir on VE Day -- May 8, 1945.

The Red Cross next offered her a job in Columbo, Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka. "I worked in a place called the White House, which was part of their university building. It was a big Coast Guard facility, like a rest home, and we were turning it back to the people. I took inventory. There were three of us Red Cross workers there. We would take the people who were sick on the ship, maybe they'd had a operation or something or were seasick, and we'd take them off the ship and put them in the Royal Naval Hospital in Columbo, and look after them, see that they were taken care of. I was there on VJ day."

The war was over, but Kathryn's adventures were just beginning. Her next assignment was a post in Asam, near Mount Everest. "They said, 'Oh, we've got this interesting assignment for you!' They gave me 500 dollars in rupees. I was to go to this outpost near Mount Everest, where they had lots of railroads going back and forth. The British were there, and I was to rent a building from the British. They said, 'We are going to send you supplies for the trains. There will be five to six hundred men coming from Burma and China. They'll be stopping there for a couple of hours. And you are to have coffee and sandwiches ready.' And they had phonograph records, and all these books I was supposed to take."

When Kathryn arrived at the outpost with two other Red Cross girls, it was a big job just trying to figure out which boxcar held her supplies. Kathryn got some much-needed help from an unexpected source. "At Camp Angus, near Calcutta, I had kind of adopted a little Indian boy named Darjo. He'd been around the troops so long, he spoke English. He thought he was from Madras, he didn't know how old he was, but he was a smart little thing. I had put him on the payroll as a little janitor. I told everybody, this is the janitor, and here he was, this little kid.

"And one day in Asam, who shows up but Darjo. This was months later. I don't know how he ever found me. I said, 'Darjo, do I ever need you!' He helped me find the supplies in the boxcars, he was able to find some Indians who were pretty smart and could help. Of course, they had the caste system then. The sweepers wouldn't do anything but sweep. The bearers would only wait on table. There was one who was rather smart, so I taught him to tell time. I was living in an Indian hospital, in some old building, and he was to wake me up and make tea. One thing over there was you could never drink the water. You had to boil it twenty minutes at least.

"I was given two weeks to do all this. And by George, on the first train coming through were the officials from the Red Cross. I had named this place Farewell Inn, and I had a map of the United States on the wall, and a map of Texas."

After two years in the Red Cross, Kathryn felt ready to go back to more familiar ground. "Everyone I knew had picked up amoebic dysentery or some kind of strange disease, and I'd had about ten cholera shots. There were epidemics all over, and I felt I couldn't press my luck any further. After about three months in Asam, the Red Cross asked me, 'How would you like to be the first American girl into Shanghai?' I said, 'No, I'd better get back to the States.'"

When she returned to the States, Kathryn accepted a job at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, as assistant to the dean in Adelbert College. "I was there about four months, when I got a call from the Red Cross in Washington, saying, 'When you first joined, you said you wanted to go to Europe. Would you still like to go to Europe?' And I said, 'Oh, yes, I'd love it!'

"That's when I went over to Germany. I went to Stuttgart. The Red Cross had taken over the big opera house in Stuttgart, as a club. And they were turning everything back to the Germans, and of course I'd done that in Ceylon. Then I saw this lieutenant smiling at me one morning at the Graf Zeppelin Hotel in Stuttgart. That did it."

Kathryn and Bill Brant were married in 1947. "We were married in a castle -- Schloss Meinberg," Kathryn says. "It had belonged to Willie Sachs, who owned the ball-bearing factory. He had entertained Goering and all the big-wheel Nazis there, and it had been modernized in the thirties. They'd put in elevators, but they didn't have any hot water. It was very cold, and there was no coal. Coal was rationed."

Bill stayed in the Army after the war ended, and he and Kathryn enjoyed the traveling life of an Army family. "Bill hates cold weather, and he had a year in Greenland and three years in Alaska. Instead of going to Korea, he got Alaska," Kathryn says. "He slept in an ice cave, a lean-to at fifty-five below zero. And our daughter was born there, in a quonset hut. We had two little boys who loved Alaska. They'd go back in a minute."

Bill also served in Vietnam for about a year. While in Vietnam, he was called in to take the entrance exam for Graduate School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill, where he earned a Master's degree. Later, Bill was assigned to a public information post at NATO Headquarters in Turkey.

NATO Headquarters "My favorite place of all was Turkey," Kathryn says. "We were treated royally. I was always very interested in classical archaeology. We lived in a penthouse over there. When I would write letters to my children, I'd see these big ships going up the Aegean Sea through the Bosphorus, and in back of us in the hills, you could seen the last remnants of Alexander the Great's camp from 323 B.C."

Bill retired from the Army with the rank of full colonel. The Brants have three children: their first son is an attorney in Boerne, Texas, and their second son is himself a full colonel and Inspector General of the Armed Forces in the United States. Their daughter is a loan officer and an aspiring author. They have five grandchildren.

Bill and Kathryn's experiences traveling the world, in wartime and peacetime, have given them some unique insights. "When we go to a country, we obey their laws, and we try to learn some of the language. You have to go over and be a good Samaritan for your country," Kathryn says. "Americans, when they go traveling, are boisterous, they drink to much, they don't want to learn about that country. Well, you can't do that. You should learn the geography, and you should learn some of the history. It's so rewarding when you do that, because then they like you. If you give them half a chance in any country, they'll like you. When Bill was with NATO, it was so interesting, because you had Italian, Turkish, Greek, British, and Americans all working together."

Bill adds, "You've got to assimilate some of their customs. The first thing you ought to do when you go to another country is learn some of the language, and learn something about their life and customs. You don't have to change from being an American, you don't have to change your beliefs, but you do have to understand a little bit about their way of life. It's a kind of give and take."


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