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34 DAYS UNCONSCIOUS
William Guy Harrell served in Company I, 508th PIR during 1942 and most of 1943 before he was transferred.  The exact date and destination of the transfer is unknown.  The official press release shown below indicates that Pvt Harrell was in the 101st Airborne for the invasion of France
WAR DEPARTMENT
Bureau of Public Relations
PRESS BRANCH
Tel: RE 6700, Brs. 3425 and  4860

SIS Release B-142


McNamara-657

   One of the remarkable stories of the war is the battle odyssey of Private William Guy Harrell of Hyattsville, Maryland, a 20-year-old paratrooper who was knocked unconscious while fighting in France and woke up 34 days later in a New York hospital.
   Private Harrell, the son of an Army chaplain, grinned as he related his unique experience recently at Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C. where he is well on the way to recovery.
   "Boy, that was a thrill when a nurse told me I was back in the United States and that I was going to get better," he exclaimed, "I couldn't believe her at first."
   The young doughboy, who fought with the 101st Airborne Division was dropped behind the German lines on the Cherbourg peninsula the night before D-Day.  He saw 15 days of the fiercest kind of combat in France.
   "That's the kind of fighting we Paratroopers like," he said proudly, "the tougher the better.  One of the main missions of my outfit was knocking out enemy artillery batteries. The day I was wounded my outfit had knocked out a German 'Long Tom' nest and we were headed for another when they sent some medium tanks against us."
   The Hyattsville doughboy was armed only with an M1 rifle and some hand grenades.  A machinegun which he had mounted on the hood of a Jeep flown in by glider, had been put out of action.
   "That's not much defense against a tank," he said, "but I was using armor-piercing ammunition, which helped a lot.  If you get an armor-piercing bullet into the belly or through the front slit of a tank, it ricochets around and frequently knocks out everyone inside."
   "I figured I got in a lucky shot when a German medium tank which was heading in my direction suddenly swerved and stopped.

  However, when I moved up closer to finish her off with a hand grenade, the tank lunged forward again, right at me."
   Private Harrell was knocked into a foxhole seriously wounded with head and leg injuries.
  "That foxhole saved my life,: he said.  "If it hadn't been there I would have been run over.  I was shaken up plenty, but managed to grab my rifle and god off one round at a Heinie who poked his head out of the tank to take a look back. That accounted for him.  Then one of our machineguns went to work and the tank nosed over and stopped for keeps just as I felt myself passing out."
    The Maryland Doughboy was taken to a hospital in England, where he underwent an operation, laxer was returned to  the United States --- still unconscious.  Om July 25th, 34 days after the tank struck him, he woke up in Halloran General Hospital, Long Island, New York.
   "I thought I was dreaming when they told me I was back in the United States," he said, "It didn't seem possible, for the last thing I remember was firing at that Heinie in the tank and seeing our machinegun put it out of business."
   "When the nurse assured me I was really home I told her it as like one of those stories you read about people being flown place on a magic carpet.  Then Mother and Dad were there and I knew it couldn't be a dream.  Let me tell you, I was one happy soldier."
   Paratrooper Harrell, whose home is at 4205 Tuckerman street, Hyattsville, received his basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida before going overseas. His father, Lieutenant Colonel Leighton E. Harrell, an Army chaplain stationed at the War Department in Washington, was a Methodist minister in Madison and Amherst, Virginia, for a number of years before joining the Chaplain Corps.

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