Trooper Pvt Tingen

Trooper Private William 'Bill' TINGEN

June 13th, 1924 (Farmville, NC)

I was born in Farmville NC. June 13th 1924.  I had 2 brothers and one sister.

I am the last one left. My father went to Georgia U.S.A. in 1927 to work and we never saw him again. I can't remember how he looked.

I was only 3 years old at the time, one brother was 6, my sister 9 and our oldest brother was 12.

That was during the depression, we had it rough. Our mother never remarried.

Me at eight

Joining the Army

Camp Cook, California

The 463rd PFA on training.

(courtesy Donald Gallipau and Kathy (Gallipau) Trefz)

As for the Army, I was drafted at 18 years old. They send me a notice: “Greetings from the President, you have been selected by your friends and neighbors to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States”, I was 18 in June and I got my notice in November or first of December.

I went to the 6th Armored Division in California; I was in Camp Cook (Picture at left).

Then I volunteered for the paratroops and took my jump training at Fort Benning Georgia.  

I also went to Fort Meade MD., from there to Fort Patrick Henry VA where I shipped out from.

I went overseas as a parachute infantryman. Later, I volunteered for the 463rd P.F.A. where I was enrolled in Baker Battery.

Liberty Ship USS Cristobal

The Ship "boat" which I shipped out with was what I thought what they call a Liberty ship.


Later we found out that is wasn't a Liberty ship, but in peacetime a combination Cargo and Passenger Liner.


The name was USS CRISTOBAL, a Panama Liner. It was slow and small. I think it took 17 days to cross.

Information on this ship can be found at

Our Gun: The 75mm Pack Howitzer

 The parts of the gun were loaded in Parapacks 

and dropped from beneath the C-47

where the six Parapacks were hanging from six racks

with a Equipment Chute with each pack installed

in a Pod beneath the plane.

(With a very special Thanks! To Mr. Doug Bailey for the text and the pictures.)


Doug : “I went to the Paratroops from the Coast Artillery. The little 75mm had nothing in common with the large 10" disappearing type gun that I was used to…” 


The two wheels were strapped together and was a Door load along with the Breech Block and sight in a padded box. 

Some of the Crates holding the Ammunition had an axle and two wheels and a long handle that when you unloaded

the Ammunition you could take out you would have a little cart. After you put the Ammunition back in you had a little cart to pull down the road.


The 463rd PFA was formed when the 456th PFA split and became 2 Battalions. The 456th remained in the 82nd AB. The 463rd PFA came out and was on its own, not attached to any Division until it became part of (attached to) the 101st AB in Bastogne, Belgium. Until then we were what was called a Bastard outfit. We supported any one that needed us.


Before the ‘split’, the 82nd AB landed at Anzio, they went in by Landing Ships : LCI (Landing Craft Infantry ) and LST (Landing ship Tank). From what I could find out - I became part of the unit after that - they had a rough time there. My old buddy Booger Childress was there. I heard him talk about it, that boy was a good soldier; at Bastogne he captured a German tank single handed with crew and gave it to the Battalion commander for Christmas. I heard he died a few years back. I miss him a lot. I wish there had been some way I could have kept in touch with him but was too busy working. I don't know where he was from, but I think it was the mountains here in N.C.

(Doug: "He was from Cowpens, South Carolina. A small town I believe, but where a famous Battle was won by the Militia and Continental Army Troops during the war of 1776. The Americans won over the British Troops.").


My daughter and son-in-law live in the mountains close the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are some Childress living around there. Booger was a nickname. I can't recall his real name… (Doug : "Carson H. Childress").


At the time the Allied troops landed in Normandy, I was still in Italy. We were getting ready to jump in southern France. We were at a little place called Lido di Roma, not far from Rome. 


Please help us to identify these members of the 463rd PFA. (Click on the image for a larger copy)

#4. Pvt Herman NELSON

#8. T/4 Louis (Lou) BONUCCI

#11. Pfc Douglas (Doug) BAILEY (WA)

#17. SSgt Enrique G. MENDOZA (CT)

#19. Ernest (Ernie) PORTER ? (ME)

#22. Cpl Donald FAIRBANKS (MN)


#26. Pfc Julius (Jay) KARP

#35. T/5 Thomas J. STRIDER (NC)

#38. Sgt Joseph YAGESH

#40. Pvt Theodore (Ted) WINGSTROM (CA)

#43. T/4 Frank P. PFEIL (MA)

#47. Pvt William 'Bill' TINGEN (NC)

#48. Pfc Harvey BRONES ? (sp)

#50. Pvt Donald J. GALLIPEAU (NY)

So far we identified:


We jumped in southern France on the night of August 15th at 4.30 a.m. In this Southern France jump we were supposed to land near the town of Le Muy about 15 miles inland from the Coast.

Part of the 463rd did land in the right place but some of us landed near the Sea Coast Town of St. Tropez. We were in the Alps for a good while. The ground troops made a landing at St. Tropez the same morning at 8.00 a.m. They didn't know we were there. We didn't know they were coming ashore. It was a mess for a while.


I remember I landed in a pine tree. I was about 19 years old at the time. How time flies. I was around the Riviera for a while. Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo and other places I can't recall. Then we went up into the Alps. One place I recall was Saint Paul, a small place in the Alps.

The Germans and we ate out of the same potato patch. We got ours in daylight, they got theirs at night. We were holding a defensive position at the time to keep the Germans that was retreating out of northern Italy from coming back into France.


Something else I recall: I was thinking of the French bread they had there in France. Would get a loaf and walk down the street eating it.

Boy that was something good. You can't buy any that good here. I also remember an elderly French lady; she was cooking something outside in a pot. It smelled good. I wanted to eat some of it until I saw it was some kind of snails.

That changed my mind very fast. We have snails here but they must not be that kind. I never saw any eat them.

I also remember a story about a Willys Jeep, seen the webmaster is a Willys Jeep fan. One of my friends was left behind in southern France. He stole a jeep from the MP's and drove it to where we were. The fellows at the motor pool gave him gas for his promise to give it to them later. One night we were out driving in the mountains and drinking. I was in the back and he looked back and was talking to me. When he looked ahead the markers that looked like small poles or sticks to keep you from running of the steep side of the mountain was flying like corn stalks. He jerked the steering wheel hard to the left and we ran up on a large rock and messed the front suspension up.


I was glad we didn't go of the right side. We would have been history. I don't know what he did with it then. Funny how little things come back after all these years. That was when we were in a holding position to keep the Germans from coming back into France as they retreated out of northern Italy. 


I was also in Bastogne, in the Battle of the Bulge. We were now “attached” to the 101st Airborne Division and officially we became part of the 101st in March 1945. Glad I made it back home OK. It was a VERY cold winter, with lots of snow. Lots of men lost their lives there on both sides. On June 13th 2003 I became 79 but looking back it doesn’t seem that long. I bet it is a beautiful place there now.


I didn't stay in Belgium very long. We went into Bastogne on the morning of the 17th or 18th of December and came out about the 30th or 31st. I don't recall any other town outside Bastogne. We set up in a position and stayed there. There was so much snow that I don't even know if the road we were close to was paved or not. I do recall a single house on the left of the road and we were on the right. Snow, fog and cold. We were probably close to the center of the doughnut. We could fire in any direction and not hit our troops. Wish I could remember more… 

Back to the USA

I came back on the Queen Mary. Where the swimming pool used to be, they had built a dining room. I landed in New York.

It was the only time I ever saw the Statue of Liberty. We paraded down 5th Avenue. 


I never kept in contact with any of the Boys. I wish I had.

Fortunately, thanks to the webmaster, I found back some friends, and pictures :

Friend Donald Gallipau

I am the right here, with 2 British soldiers in the middle.

I do not recall the two persons on the left

Donald Gallipau and a friend

in Southern France, in front of the Galleries Lafayette, Marseille

Doug Bailey in France, 1944

Right is Donald Gallipau, I am at the bottom

Me in jump suit.

Emery and Donald

Another Picture taken

with a liberated German Camera in 1944

Doug Bailey :

"I also served in B-Battery 456th PFA from Fort Bragg, North Carolina when we were in the 82nd Airborne and in B-Battery 463rd PFA

with the 101st Airborne. I made the Island of Sicily Jump shortly after midnight in July 1943 with the 82nd A/B and the Southern France jump in August 1944 with the 463rd and the First A/B task Force.

I was wounded in both legs along with two others in my Gun crew on Christmas Eve on the outskirts of Bastogne near the little Village Hemroulle.

I spent about 4 months in the Hospital in England and returned to the 101st and 463rd in time to go into Germany and we were down by Munich when the War ended and did occupation duty until I left for the U.S."

About a patch for the 463rd PFA

I never saw any patch. I don't recall us ever having one. I remember them trying to come up with one a long time after the War.

I have some papers where they were trying to decide on one. I even recall getting a letter a long time after the war to vote on what kind to have, at the time I didn't take time to vote on it. I came across them the other day. The one without the Bunny (right side) was originally approved for the 516th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion; this coat of arms was redesigned for the 463rd in 1956. Its basic colors are red and yellow.


The Bugs Bunny patch was designed by A.J Tower and Sergeant W.A Kummerer in a foxhole in Southern France. Approximately 100 of these were made for the 463rd. I got this from The American Society of Military Insignia Collectors, dated July-September 1987.


Another is a howitzer under a parachute canopy and was intended to be worn on the shoulder; it was conceived by Dr. John S. Moore, but I can’t find any image of that.


Regarding the Bunny patch you can take a look You will see Mr. Traeder with that patch.

Family and work after the war

The work I was in was auto body repair. I had my own shop.

I went to school for Auto Body Repair after I came out of service under the G.I. That was free schooling for ex. service men and I got paid while training and worked for the Ford Co. where I took most of my training for about 13 years.

During that time I built my house and shop on my spare time. That was after working 56 hours a week at the Co.

No work on Wednesday night or Sunday, and lots of night work, but glad I did it. I have been retired for about 10 years.

My wife worked at a pharmaceutical plant, that was Burroughs Welcome, now Glaxo-Smith-Cline.

She has been retired about 14 years; I think it is owned by Great Britton. We have been blessed.

I have been married to Mildred 56 years the 24th of December 2002.

I have 2 children: a son and a daughter. They both have a good education and are doing fine.

I also have 2 grandsons. Both of them are married, each has 1 child.

I haven't been back to Europe after the war, I think of the good and bad times I had there. I met some wonderful people.


I like to work in the garden and to go fishing. In the garden I plant collards, tomatoes and peppers, I also own a grapevine.