For part 1 go here.
The Octofoil shoulder patch of the 9th Infantry Division dates from the 15th Century when it was customary for each son in a family to have an individual mark of distinction. Under the rules of heraldry there are eight foils or positions. The Octofoil went to the ninth son, symbolic of him being surrounded by eight brothers. The symbolism of the Octofoil makes it a logical and correct insignia for the 9th Infantry Division. The red quarterfoil of the patch alludes to the Artillery, while the blue one represents the Infantry. h/t: http://9thinfdivsociety.org/
For quick outline of the 9th’s WWII history go here.
On the ship heading to Sicily, Doc had some time to reflect on how he had ended up there. Here he was a Choctaw boy from Oklahoma that had just left some bad fighting in Tunisia and Morocco, now going to Sicily and who knows what else.
Doc was going to turn 23 in August of ’43 and he’d already had a lifetime of adventure.
One month after he was born in 1920 his father Edmond gave him to his Grandfather, because the Grandfather had said if Edmond’s first born is a boy that he, the Grandfather, wanted him. So his Grandparents raised Julius. Pretty good upbringing; lots of hunting, fishing, and running around the farm. Collins went to a country school only until he was 12. He left school and went to Atoka County to work on a farm so he could buy what he needed to help out the family; hard times in the U. S.
He cycled through three farmers every summer until 1938 when he went to an Indian C.C.C. camp , smack in the middle of the Cherokee Nation. Beside the work that was performed by the “c.c.c. boys” there were sports such as baseball and boxing. Collins got pretty good at boxing and did some Golden Gloves boxing around the area. After several months at Camp Hollow, Julius returned to help on the farm.
He went to a “White” C.C.C. Camp in Colorado in 1940 and stayed until he enlisted in the Army in 1942. Doc remembered that the camp in Colorado was where he really learned that there were more cuss words in English than in Choctaw. Those White boys could cuss the leaves off an Aspen tree.
More to come. I’ll do more battles next and his time as a POW of the Germans.