Rieschick injured during WW II battle
Editor’s note: This is the 94th in a series of stories about past and present Jackson County residents who earned the Purple Heart Medal, which is awarded to military personnel wounded or killed in the line of duty.
The names of those profiled in these stories are among those placed on a special monument for Purple Heart Medal recipients now standing in Holton’s Linscott Park.
Claude Rieschick of rural Soldier was in the U.S. Army for little more than a year at the tail end of World War II, but he can still remember some pretty vivid details about his time as a private first class in Italy with Company B of the 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment of the 10th Infantry Division.
There are recollections of German soldiers who, at the drop of a certain phrase, would turn around and run away from Rieschick and his squad. There’s the time he had to pull a German soldier out of a foxhole and “strip him down,” taking away the enemy combatant’s jewelry and weapons before making him run away.
There’s the memory of a battle on April 22, 1945, near the northern Italian village of San Benedetto in the Po Valley, in which Rieschick was hit by German ammunition but he still fought off the German army until his troop was ordered to withdraw — an incident that earned him both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart Medal.
“They fired their grenades,” Rieschick said. “One of them hit me in the arm.”