This is the closest possible thing to an eyewitness account of the war as my grandpa saw it. This man was born the same year as Mel (1919) and would have been 88 years old at the time of the interview. I tried to search for this guy who I could correspond with him or possibly meet him, but he died a few months later. The video this text record was transcribed from has also since been deleted.
Arthur C. Neriani
Enlisted 1940, Honorably discharged 1945
HQ Company, 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division
Interview conducted by Matthew Kwapien for oral veterans history project. Arthur C. Neriani enlisted in the National Guard in December of 1940. Soon after, in February of 1941, the Guard was federalized and he was sent to Camp Blanding, FL for basic training. After basic training he was sent to Officer Candidate School, and then became part of the 8th infantry division in Fort Leavenworth, KS. From there the 8th infantry division was shipped to Northern Ireland to await their orders. Twenty eight days after the D-day invasion, the soldiers were sent to Normandy to replace the 82nd airborne division. Their mission was to travel up the Brittany peninsula, and establish a port for incoming Allied supplies. From there the soldiers travelled into Germany, where they fought in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, a battle that had 33, 000 casualties, but has been largely overlooked. Neriani describes in great detail what he and the soldiers under his command endured during the very long, cold battle. The 8th infantry division was also responsible for the liberation of the Wobbelin concentration camp, which is just outside of Ludwigslust, Germany. After the fighting in Europe ended, the soldiers were sent back to the United States in order to train for the Battle of Japan, and the Pacific theatre of operations, but the war was declared over before they were sent. Neriani was discharged in Mississippi in late 1945, and he returned to Connecticut where he joined the Avon VFW and was the first commander of the post.