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Robert Lee Pugh: Long Journey into Hell

Robert Lee Pugh
Robert Pugh (3rd from left), induction ceremony

Read Long Journey into Hell (.pdf)

As a private in Company B of the 409th Infantry in the 103rd Division (7th Army), Pugh was sent to Europe in October 1944. His parents, still living in Crawfordsville at 616 E. Pike Street, received word that he was missing in action on December 1st of the same year. Pugh's company had been attacked by German troops who killed all but 13 of his fellow soldiers. Pugh was among those taken prisoner, but it was not until March 1945 did his parents learn that their son had been captured and was a POW in Germany. When he was first taken prisoner, Pugh spent eight days with little or no food or water in transit via train to a sorting camp. From there Pugh spent time in several other camps; from Stalag IIIA (Luckenwalde) located 30 miles south of Berlin, Pugh was finally able to write his parents: "Don't worry, we are treated all right and I am in good health. Although it is pretty cold here, I have plenty of warm clothes…. So far, we haven't had to work and I'm finding difficulty to know what to do."  This letter could not reveal the true conditions of his captivity, of course, where he suffered much from the cold weather and the lack of food. Pugh remained a prisoner until his camp was liberated by the Russians in June 1945, his weight having fallen from 145 to 90 pounds at his release.  After his return to the states, Pugh resumed his studies at Wabash, graduating in 1949.

In his 42-page narrative he recounts his time leading up to his capture as well as the miserable months as a POW and his liberation near the end of the war.