SAM SINGER AND THE ARMY LIEUTENANT
The following poem, written by family friend Kathryn M. Fisher, was inspired by Marcia’s portrait of Sam in his army helmet with the cross on it that he wore when he was in the Medics. Sam never talked to the family about the war days so little is known except he did have some medals which Marcia has in a box frame created lovingly by Richard Young, the second husband of Sam’s youngest sister, Adele. Marcia also has the flag provided by the military that was draped over Sam’s coffin when he died on May 27, 1977 at the age of 63.
Sense of Courage
By Kathryn M. Fisher
I heard the cannon shout at the devil
Felt the sting of lead shred my flesh
A salty, coppery taste filled my mouth
And mixed with the smell of my own blood and sweat
Then a gentle touch, strong as an iron hand
Dragged me back from the battlefield
And I saw the white cross on the helmet.
One story that was told about Sam’s army days was when he was in charge of the kitchen and preparation of the meals. It is not known where this was, but Sam was in the vicinity of the Battle of the Bulge, one of the most famous battles of World War II. Martha’s brother, Burton Sugg, was also there. Perhaps it was here in the heat of the last days of the war.
One day, a perfectly decked out young Lieutenant came with some underlings into the hallowed halls of Sam’s kitchen. It is likely this was more of a tent than a building, but that is not known. This young man had probably just been promoted and was feeling like he was “All That”, as the saying today would go. Perhaps he wanted to throw his weight around just a little and show everyone who was in charge. Again, these are suppositions, but let’s go with it.
He strutted in wearing pristine white gloves and proceeded to touch the surfaces of the stoves and countertops. He frowned as he inspected the gloves for any sign of dirt. Knowing Sam, there was probably plenty of dirt or mess to be found, but he wasn’t having any of this!
Sam was well known for his quickness to anger and consequent yelling so what happened was not really a surprise to those who knew him. Sam exploded and told that Lieutenant, “Get the Hell out of my kitchen and never come back!” The young soldier left in a huff.
One can only assume that in the absence of a court martial, no bodily contact was made and also that the Lieutenant never reported such insubordination. Most likely, others told him it was quite foolish to mess with Sam especially because he was the cook and the food was good. Don’t rock the boat!!
Here is a notation in one of the Army bulletins about Sam:
Hq. 78th Inf Div, APO 78, US Army, GO 47 dtd 7 February, 1946
Staff Sergeant Samuel Singer, Medical Corps, Company C, 303 Medical Battalion, for meritorious services in connection with military operations against the enemy during the period from 9 December 1944 to 38 April 1945 in Germany. Staff Sergeant Singer, as company supply sergeant has displayed initiative and resourcefulness in maintaining a steady flow of medical supplies and equipment. On numerous occasions he has traveled roads which were under direct enemy observation and shell fire to carry plasma, penicillin, and other medical supplies to the forward units. His sustained efforts and devotion to duty are in accordance with the highest military traditions. Entered the military service from New York.
By Command of Major General Barker:
Joseph A. Nichols
Colonel, General Staff Corps.
Deputy Chief of Staff