Bonnland Festivity 2005

Flag Ceremony

When the 14th US-Armored Division liberated OFLAG XIII-B, the first tank, which crashed the fence had a US-Flag. According 14th Armored Division History, a enlisted man said: "Ths American Flag on that Tank looked as good as the the Statue of Liberty!" This 48-Star-US-Flag was hoist over camp Hammelburg, until an official flag was delivered.

On 6 April 1945 Milton Long was a Jeep driver and guided trucks from division trains with supply to camp Hammelburg. After the war, his postmaster wanted him during a veterans reunion to bring this flag to Berlin into a museum. But Milton Long though, it would be a better idea, if this flag would come back to Hammelburg. Milton Long and Hauptmann (Ret) Manfred Roser are both member of the Motts Military Museum of Ohio. Milton Long tasked Manfred Roser to organize the return of this flag.

After the official opening of the Bonnland festivity on 18 June 2005, there was a little ceremony at 1030 hours behind Greifenstein Castle. Hauptfeldwebel Martin Heinlein's (second from the left) Officer Cadets stood in formation as a guard of honor.

Also the US-Reenactors stood as an infantry platoon of the 4th US-Armored Division in formation for the return of the flag.

At 1030 hours Oberstleutnant Peter Domes commanded the formation to attention and reported to the General of the Infantry and Commander of the Infantry School - Brigadegeneral Johann Berger.

Captain (retired) Manfred Roser (second from the left) read the speech which he received by Milton Long to the assembled audience. 

Speech of Milton Long

In view of the fact that I could not be present on this occasion I have asked my good friend Manfred Roser to give the speech.

General Berger, US Veterans and guests.

First I want to thank you for including me as part of your Hammelburg celebration. I am sure that the POW camp, OFLAG XIII-B played a role in the history both from its purpose and its liberation.

On 6 April when the tanks of the 14th Armored Division entered the compound they found some very happy former POW´s. A dry eye was hard to find and when the American Flag was raised all the men cheered and the flag was a symbol of freedom.

Colonel John Waters, General Patton´s son-in-law, thanked his liberators and the fact that few were killed or wounded in the liberation.

A few weeks later I had the honor to meet General Patton and when he asked me what my job was I told him "I am only a Jeep driver, Sir". He sat me down and for twenty minutes he told me how important good Jeep drivers were and that without them the brass would never be the place they were supposed to be. He said he wouldn't trade one Jeep driver for a half dozen of these shave tail officers they are sending him from the states.

During our training we were told that the German soldier was a monster and that we could expect the worse when fighting him. Well on Christmas Eve 1944 we learned this wasn't true.

While on outpost, and a star lit night, my buddy and I started singing Christmas carols, when from out in no-mans-land we heard someone joining in, only singing in German. On Christmas day we saw a white flag of truce raised and two German soldiers walking our way. They were not armed but were carrying something. We went out to meet them and they wanted to wish us a merry Christmas. They gave us a couple cans of beef and potatoes. We returned the favor and gave them some of our rations. In addition we gave them several packs of cigarettes. They stepped back, saluted, and were gone.

It is with pleasure that the flag that flew at the Hammelburg POW Camp becomes a part of your display to honor that occasion. This is presented as a token or our friendship after all these years. The officers and men of the 14th Armored Division are proud to be a part of your celebration.

Thank you, and may god bless you all.

Lt. Colonel Milton J. Long AUS (RET)

Gahanna, OHIO, U.S.A.

 

Manfred Roser, presents the US-Flag to Brigadegeneral Johann Berger. The flag will find a place in the Headquarters of the Infantry School, so that everybody, who enters the building cans see it.

[Photos: Oberstabsfeldwebel (Reserve) Herbert Hausmann, Milton Long]

2005 © Copyright Peter Domes -  Date of last change: 2008-07-10