Don Donath was a member, tank driver and a tank commander of the 20th Tank Battalion. This incident happened during the month of April 1945.
We had finished one conflict and were moving south through Germany and had stopped for a rest. We were out of our vehicles relaxing and talking when the following happened.
A young soldier had stopped and asked if anybody in our unit was from Missouri. Some of our company gave him my name. I was leaning against my tank when my name was called from the other side of the tank. When I turned to see who had called my name, I was amazed to see Charles Bell from Sedalia.
We were friends and had been in high school together. Bell was with the 125th Cavalry Recon Unit who happened to be in the area at the same time. He told us the Quartermaster Corps had set up a portable shower that was available to be used by any of us. All of us needed a shower. I donít know how many could have been included, but some of us hadnít had a bath or washed our clothes for about three months.
All of us were excited about the possibility of a shower. Bell then talked to my company commander and received permission to take me there. Bell and his driver took me to the shower area. I walked in, removed my clothes and placed them on a bench. I took a wonderful shower and could have stayed there all afternoon, but thought my company would move. When I completed the shower and prepared to get dressed, what a surprise to see that I had all new clothes, including shoes.
When I arrived outside, Bell greeted me and I got in the jeep. We drove back to my company and it had not moved. Our new battalion commander told us that we were the dirtiest troops he had ever seen.