326th Engineer Battalion | 101st Airborne Division
On September 18 we boarded a glider at Chilbolten airfield England at 1230 pm and landed one mile north of Son, Holland at 1600 hours. The flight took, as you can see, three and one half hours. We had a jeep in our glider and just three troops. The jeep driver and the pilot and myself. I flew in the co-pilot's seat
As we crossed the coast of Holland the glider on our left wing, carrying a load of explosives caught some German AA fire and just exploded. In the glider was an officer of my unit and I found his grave in Margraten cemetery in 1964.
When the plane towing our glider signaled that we were over the landing field and signaled for us to release my pilot told me that he was going to be turning to the left so that he could look down for a landing field and that I was to tell him the air speed and altitude as fast as it changed and I was supposed to unlock the nose of the glider so that when we landed and the load (jeep) shifted it would pull the nose of the glider up in the air and the jeep would slide out under us and not hurt us.
The pilot found a long narrow field with no other gliders in it and headed for that field. He overshot the landing and at the end of the field was a road built up like a small dyke. We flew up and over that but the field that we landed in was freshly plowed and as the glider touched down the wheels were torn of and we skidded to a stop in about 15 meters. I forgot to unlock the nose but the cable held the jeep and no harm was done.
There was no German fire in the area at the time so we proceeded to our rendezvous area which was just north of Son right on the road called Hell's Highway. We had just enough time to get settled when it was reported ther were three German tanks coming thru our area and would blow up the bridge in Son across the canal. We did not see the tanks but the bridge was blown. (apparently it was not known to Bob Salley and the men in his unit that the bridge had already been blown on the day before).
Since my unit was an Engineer unit we had to build a new bridge, which we did.
Planning your trip to see the Market Garden battlefields? Bring the battlefield guide.
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