Military Monday – Piecing Together the Story

Photo courtesy of Norbert Morbé.

Photo courtesy of Norbert Morbé.

“Today I died. Yesterday I was freezing but full of life. We marched across the bitter windswept white landscape for hours. We lay on the frozen ground next to our tanks and trucks at night with only a blanket to shield us from the elements. We freeze. There is no warmth here. We went from rain and ankle deep mud for weeks to a frozen wasteland within days. Patton prayed for a break in the weather. He got it and then hell froze over.”

I’m writing the story of my cousin James Privoznik, who served in Europe first with the 90th Division, 790th Ordnance Company and then the last 14 days of his life with the 90th Division, 358th Infantry.He was killed 11 January 1945 near Bras, Belgium. He was buried in Luxembourg Cemetery, where he sleeps forever.

I’m trying to create a timeline of his service when his records burned in the fire in 1973 has been somewhat difficult, but I have Morning Reports that trace him from death backwards to February 1944. Now I’m only missing a year of his whereabouts. But……

I spent some time with the nephew of James this weekend and he sent me home with many books and artifacts of James’ service and life that were sent to his mother after his death. One such item that James must have left at home while on furlough before being sent overseas is a long photograph of his unit in January 1944. It says, 126th Ord (MM) Co, Camp Butner, NC. Now I have a way to possibly trace him from January 1944 to the Morning Report of 15 February 1944 and then backwards to his activation in the Army 10 February 1943. He was in the 126th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company at Camp Butner in January 1944. Huge clue! And found on a photograph.

Will I ever know the full story of James’ service? No. But I have a little more information to go on that will help tell his story.

My advice to you…….examine every record and photograph you have in your possession multiple times. Especially after receiving new information. You may have accidentally overlooked a vital piece of information or you may now hold the key to moving forward with more research.

James’ story will be in my book, Stories of the Lost due out at the end of the year.

© 2013, Generations, Woodridge, IL

Categories: Military Research | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Military Monday – Piecing Together the Story

  1. Jennifer,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Your posting appealed to me as I have just completed a similar narrative on my father’s war time experiences drawn from his own account which he wrote down for me, letters home to my mother, photographs, complemented by my own research. I am pleased to say that he came home. Writing his story was at times very moving and made me realise what a life defining time it was for him.

  3. The story you wrote brings me to the Western Europe battlefield in the Second World War.The story is so moving,tragic.I am looking forward to reading the whole book.Thank you.


    My Dad is Captain Eugene Connor Commanding Officer of the 790th Ordnance Company. He is still living and still very sharp minded. Perhaps if you would like to pick his brain he may be able to shed some light on your search for information. Just contact me at and I will forward his information to you.
    I am as well doing extensive research and a manuscript into several different aspects of the 2nd World War and understand how vital even a small bit of information can be in weaving the whole story together.
    Laura Connor

  5. Jonathan Strickland

    My grandfather was drafted in May of 1943 and after training was assigned to the 126th Ordnance (MM) Company in February of 1944. You stated in the article that your cousin had served with the same company for a time. I actually have a booklet given to me by someone whose father served in the same unit (he also wrote the booklet). It contains a short history of the unit from the time it was raised in January of 1943 until the end of the war. If you’d like to trade what information you may have (I’d love to see the picture to see if my grandfather is in it), please email me. I believe my email is listed in the reply to the comment.

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