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Captain Ray Wantz, G Company Commander and Lt Millwee Owen 2nd platoon leader; June 1945 (photos courtesy Millwee Owen)
Captain Ray Wantz, G Company Commander and Lt Millwee Owen 2nd platoon leader; June 1945 (photos courtesy Millwee Owen)

Raymond E. Wantz ASN:35120207 was born in Ohio in 1916. On December 3rd, 1941 He enlisted at Fort Thomas, Newport, Kentucky. He went to OCS and was shipped to North Africa in March of '44.

He was assigned to the 45th in June in Naples,Italy.1st Lt. Richard Gworek G Co. Comdr Kidded Ray(because he wore crossed sabers on his collar from the cavalry. Formerly with the 1st Cav. Div. & then the 2nd Cav Div. He said I didn't know Infantry Tactics, and only he & Sgt. Chilson knew how to fight. That I should stay around and take lessons, which I did.)He became G Company commander from 4 January 1945 until the end of the war . Ray Wantz was a fighting man's officer, in the thick of action. He reluctantly let us know that he'd received a Distinguished Service Cross. When asked what for, he replied, "Monkeyin around." He was also wounded four times. He managed to celebrate the end of the war with G Company in Munich.

Ray was out of the Army for 4 months then joined for a 20 year career. He retired a Lt Col in '61. After that he worked construction for a while, dividing his time between Florida and Ohio in the appropriate seasons. He is married and has a stepson and 2 grandchildren.


Millwee Owens Jr. of Augusta, Georgia, attended ROTC at the University of Georgia, and entered the war as a 2ndLt. He arrived with G Company about October of 1945.

On 7 Jan '45 Owens earned a Bronze Star Medal and on 10 Jan he was wounded and evacuated. He still has the bullet, and, and the twisted scissors which intercepted its path through his leg. He got back got back to the war and joined 2nd Plt G Co soon after the crossing of the Rhine in time to take part in the drive on Nuremberg. It was his platoon which was credited with being the first to break into the city of Nuremberg on 16 Apr, 1945.

There are two stories of Lt Owens arrival at the platoon, the first told by Sergeant Chilson:

He said they'd been dug in for a while, and here came this raw 2nd Lt up from the rear wearing pinks and carrying a pearl-handled revolver. He was looking for the command post. He peered over the edge of the foxhole, wrinkled up his nose and said, "Ooh. It smells bad down there." Chilson said to him, "If you don't like the smell, Sir, go dig your own goddam foxhole."

Millwee put us straight on that one. He said he'd been following along about a month behind the outfit and finally caught up with them in Southern France. The platoon had occupied an abandoned farmhouse. He asked one of the men for a Sergeant Chilson. "Yeah," the guy said. "He's up in the loft." When he got up there, he saw someone sitting alone in the hay. Millwee introduced himself. "Hello. I'm Millwee Owens. I'm your new Lieutennant." Chilson just looked at him over his shoulder and growled, "I've had six Lieutennants in the last two weeks."

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