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Replacements « North Carolina's WWII ExperienceNorth Carolina's WWII Experience


In the summer of 1944, Roger Casey of Dudley was a replacement soldier with the 30th Division in Europe – initially, a North Carolina division. But Casey says the Tarheel soldiers were long gone – killed or wounded – and no longer fighting. Assigned to a machine gun squad, Casey began as an ammunition bearer but soon worked his way up to be a first gunner, where he always wanted to “mow ‘em down.” One winter morning, he had his chance. Casey describes how enemy soldiers approached and the Americans finally let loose on the unsuspecting Germans. He poignantly describes how he felt about it later on, realizing it was not a fair fight. In December, 1944, Casey was also in the Battle of the Bulge, trying to hold off the Germans – who had tanks – with machine guns and rifles. Casey’s unit tried to take the town of La Gleize, Belgium, and a horrible battle ensued. They finally made it into La Gleize and the horrific memories of what they found are still with Roger Casey today.

Roger Casey was a replacement in the winter of 1944 and became a first gunner in his machine gun squad. He recalls a specific morning when his squad fought Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. “I was on guard duty and I saw some Germans, what I thought was Germans coming our way. And the Germans kept getting closer and closer and closer. And I wanted to shoot them so bad. And finally the Lieutenant said, “FIRE!” and we all fired into them you know. And felt like just mowing hay on a farm you know. Just mowed them down. Between 25 and 50 I don’t know how many. And it was exhilarating…it was a lot of fun. That was something we’d been wanting to do for a long time and we did finally. I felt bad about it later on. It was not a fair fight.” - ROGER CASEY