*Zdunkewicz, Steve A., Pfc, PH R.CE., Edinburg, Tex. Asgd. & jd fr 92 Repl Bn per VDCG Hq 84th Inf Div dtd 28 Jan 45. Aptd Pfc per Co O #3 dtd 1.Mar.45. SWA BC Perf W, abdomen, SF. Fr dy to sk (LD) BC 84th Clr Sta to Tfrd to 91st evac Hosp per Sec I Cir 33 Hq ETOUSA dat 27 Mar 45. (Lost to Hosp) (DOW 4.19.45) Buried at: Plot D Row 17 Grave 4 Netherlands American Cemetery Margraten, Netherlands.
From "Easy Three " by Lt Harry Mays 3rd Plt E333:
By and large we had few reminders that we were in a combat zone. However, from time to time the German artillery across the Elbe River would drop a few rounds in the towns and villages where Americans were known to be billeted. The Germans had apparently realized that the Americans were now awaiting the arrival of the Russian Army, and the Germans attempted to provoke us Americans into attacking them so that they could surrender to the U.S. troops. The Germans had a terrible fear of the Russians, and I think that fear was justified. One evening the shelling was particularly heavy, and two men from my platoon who were at that checkpoint at the edge of town had to dive for a safe hole. One of them, Pfc. Zdunkewicz, was hit by shell fragments. Apparently one piece went into his stomach while another piece bounced off a nearby stone wall and entered his stomach from his back. Inside of him it looked like the two pieces met. The result was a mess of blood and guts where his stomach should have been. The medics fixed him up as best they could, and Capt. Hazlett gave him until one or two the next morning to live unless he could have surgery. Zdunkewicz asked the chaplain who happened to be there at the aid station if he would live; the chaplain looked at the doctor who shook his head to indicate, "No." With a straight face the chaplain then said, "You'll be all right; don't worry." An ambulance soon began a 75 mile trip back through all of that rear echelon confusion in search of a Field Hospital where the surgery could take place. The ambulance arrived about 1:00 AM, and as he was being lifted on a litter from the ambulance, Zdunkewicz began to show signs that he might be dying. Before the cleaning process could be completed for surgery, he was dead. Later I asked Doc and the chaplain how they could have lied to the poor fellow. Their reasoning was simple: had they told him the truth he would have died of shock most probably right there at the aid station. As it was, he might have survived if the trip back to the hospital had not taken so much time.
"Easy Three" is located here:
Jos Jacobs has adolpted Steve's Gravesite