E Pluribus Unum - Out of Many, One

Arrayed south of the Seille River in October and early November, 1944, the 80th had time to identify targets and sight artillery prior to the battle for Luxemburg and the Battle of the Bulge. Major General McBride noted that new methods of identifying targets over the horizon with the use of reconnaissance planes and oblique photography, and sighting artillery effectively, were being employed for perhaps the first time in combat. Two officers of the 80th Field Artillery proved the effectiveness of this method of using gridded oblique photographs while dealing with complications imposed by limited equipment in the field. Dave Hindlemann, Aide to Brig General MacKelvie, Headquarters, Field Artillery, was one of the officers singled out for a Bronze Star for his work.


A Bronze Star Medal is awarded to 1st Lt David Jay Hindlemann, 01105058, Field Artillery, Army of the United States, for meritorious achievement in France during the period 24 October, to 8 November 1944, in connection with military operations against and enemy of the United States.

During the period from 24 October 1944 to 8 November 1944, 1st Lt Hindlemann, assisted by a fellow officer, undertook the difficult tasks of assembling the necessary materials and equipment to enable his organization to photograph, develop, and print gridded oblique photographs. 1st Lt Hindlemann has also, through his technical knowledge and skill in photograph, contributed materially to the high degree of success obtained thus far, under additional complications imposed by operating with limited equipment in the field. The zealousness, tireless energy and devotion to duty displayed by Lt Hindlemann are commensurate with the highest traditions of the armed forces of the United States.

Major General McBride

Most probably due to the combat death of a General, which was not advertised, Dave’s Bronze Star for his service on Mousson Hill was not awarded until 1945. Thus, as his Bronze Star mentioned above was awarded first, the second was an Oak Leaf cluster on the Bronze Star.

Dave arrived in France in August. Won a Bronze Star and his 1st Lt. status by October 1st, for actions September 14, 1944, and a Bronze Star awarded on the 22 of November 1944 for achievements October 24 – Nov 8, 1944.

We helped Dave as he tried, without luck, to recover his service records. All we knew about his military service was what he told us. No recorded oral history was taken until August 2006, a few weeks before he died.  Jo and I were in Denver visiting him and we asked him to give us a complete oral history. Dave shared many parts of his story. His memory was clear. At 90, he had remarkable recall of events that took place more than 60 years before. In this excerpt, in his words, is the story of how he became a member of the 80th Field Artillery and Aide to Brigadier General Edmund J. Searby.

…I was called into the office and I was told that I was being transferred to the 80th Infantry Division and desert maneuvers near Iron Mountain, California and they were getting ready to take their test for overseas efficiency and their efficiency test on firing was below 50% – very poor – and I was supposed to go there and get them up to a passing grade. So I arrived at the camp and they put me in with the Headquarters Company which was the General and the staff officers of/for the artillery: S1, S2, S3, S4. S3 was operations, S2 was transportation, S1 was strategy or something, I forget. So every day I would go out with the crews and work with them. First we’d worked with a transit – I had to teach them how to read it, how to handle it, how to set it up, and how to locate a position relative to a map – we had to have a point on the map to start with that we could identify on the ground and from that point on we would locate the position of the guns. So we worked on transit. We finally got three or four crews that could do it. You see there is in the artillery – there were four battalions of guns. Each battalion had twelve guns. So each battalion had to be complete in itself as far as being able to function properly. So we worked with them and most of these kids had never been through high school or they never took math – they took the lines of least resistance so it was almost impossible to teach them how to do – algebra, calculus –  or anything related to math. So I created charts which gave them the question and the answer so they could take these in waterproof covering to the gun and in a certain elevation and a certain distance the answer was on the chart where to elevate and so forth and that worked pretty good! So we gradually worked with them and after 60 days we had a test and we got them up to about 75%. So eventually, after 5 months we were up to 95% which made us ready to go overseas.

In the meantime every night we used to play volleyball and Gen Searby was my height. As a West Pointer he was in charge – he was commanding officer of the artillery, a one star Gen, so he always teamed up with me. He picked me, so we were constantly beating all the other men because we were the two tallest guys so we’d take turns – one would stand at the net and fork it over…  So we got along fine and I had a lot of freedom because I used to take the crews out in jeeps. We’d go out on a problem we’d pick a spot and we would set up the guns and we’d pick another spot which was gonna be the target and we’d run a program where they would have to set up the guns and I would be the observer. And it was testing them the way they would be tested.

So, after we passed the tests they were told make ready and they moved us to Ft. Dix which was the point of embarkation for overseas. [Where was that?] New Jersey. So the General [Searby] called me into his tent there and he said you’re really not a part of the division here because you were sent here as an instructor on loan. But he said, if I send you back you won’t go back to the school you’ll go to an officer’s pool and you’ll probably be put into some infantry division as a forward observer. He says, the only thing I can do if you’d like to stay and go overseas with us – and I’d like to have you – is I would appoint you my second aide. My first aide is a 1st Lt. and my second is a 2nd Lt. so you would become my second aide. I says okay I’ll become your aide.

Tagged with:

David J Hindlemann was 26 when he enlisted in the army at Ft. Logan, Colorado on November 14, 1942. He was sent to Camp Adair, Oregon for his basic training. From there he went to Ft Sill, Oklahoma for Officer Candidate School.  He became a 2nd Lieutenant September 2, 1943. At Ft. Sill, he became a field artillery instructor. He was assigned to the 80th Blue Ridge Division. It was there that he became acquainted with General Searby who asked him to  become his aide-de-camp.

In late June 1944 the 80th Division boarded the Queen Mary for Scotland. In August they landed in Normandy, and fought their way across France. The 80th became part of the 3rd Army under Patton. During a major offensive on the Moselle River, General Searby and 2nd Lt. Hindlemann joined the infantry to take the strategic high ground of Mousson Hill. Dave was beside General Searby when he was killed on Mousson Hill. Dave took over the FA duties. He was awarded a battlefield promotion and became a 1st Lieutenant. General MacKelvie replaced General Searby and Dave became his aide-de-camp. Dave was awarded two Bronze Stars

The 80th Division defended the city of Luxembourg, broke through the Maginot and Siegfried lines, and continued across Germany. Late in the spring of 1945 the 80th entered Austria and met the Russian army when the 6th German army surrendered in May 1945. Dave was promoted to Captain.

After VE Day he was released as General MacKelvie’s aide and assigned to 80th Division Headquarters. He was directed to take over a German uniform factory to manufacture clothing for the thousands of displaced persons living in the DP camps. In December 1945 he returned to the United States on the USS Mt. Vernon and was discharged in January 1946. Dave was born in 1916 and died in 2006 at the age of 90.

This blog is lovingly created by his son-in-law Edward Berger and his daughter Jo Hindlemann Berger to document his story and share his numerous photos. Dave was an avid photographer and fortunately many of his photographs were labeled with locations and dates.  Others are not.  We have posted a number of photos we cannot specifically identify on the ‘Help Identify Photos’ page. If you can identify any of these people, places, and a date that would be GREAT! Thank you to the many veterans who have given their service. Ed and Jo Berger