Sgt. Joseph C. Madison - World War II Veteran

Joe was a half-track Section Leader attached to the 5th Armored Division and helping to guard the 71st Field Artillery. They were headed to Berlin. After months of combat they could see the end of the war with the capture of what had been Hitler’sseat of government. With no more than 60 miles to go, the greatest obstacle was building the pontoon bridge that would allowthem to cross the Elbe River. Suddenly a jeep sped toward the front of the column. The order finally filtered down to the sergeants, who relayed it to their men. The Americans were to stop so that the Russians could capture Berlin. In the next few hours and days their pontoon bridge saw much German traffic coming toward them. The Russians had acquired a well-deserved reputation as mercilessness conquerors. German civilians and military approached the Americans with their arms in the air, grateful to surrender to people who would treat them humanely.


JoAnne P. Miller