Myron “Mike” H. Eberle
After only having been in Europe for a few weeks, Mike Eberle and his men would find themselves fighting for ninety days at the Battle of the Bulge. Through much of this fighting, Eberle’s company would take severe casualties, leaving his 180-man company with only nineteen men left. Soon after, Eberle, still only a 2nd Lieutenant, would take the job of company commander, a role usually served by a 1st lieutenant or captain, a rank which Eberle, later reached. Eberle and his men of the 290th would fight at the Bulge, at the Colmar Pocket, in the Netherlands, and in the Ruhr pocket, before ending his time overseas in France.
Myron “Mike” Eberle was born on January 11th, 1923, in Kansas City, Kansas. Throughout his childhood, he would participate in the Boy Scouts, stating that the program better prepared him for first aide, then the army training program did. Eberle and his family ended up in Illinois after his father took a job with the federal government in Chicago, allowing Eberle the opportunity to attend the University of Illinois. While there, he was required to be a part of the US Army ROTC program, focusing on coastal artillery and anti-aircraft weaponry. When the United States joined the war in 1941, Eberle would remain on the ROTC program after the compulsory two years and would be sent to basic training in 1943 in Rockford, Illinois. Following his training there, he would be sent to Camp Callan for anti-aircraft basic, back to the University of Illinois for the Army Specialized Training Program, then to Camp Davis for anti-aircraft officer training camp. The Army would then change his orders and send him to Infantry Officer Training School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Following his training, Eberle would be assigned to the 290th Infantry regiment of the 75th Division at Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky in July of 1944. In October of 1944, the 75th Division was arrived in Wales.
For roughly two months, the 75th Division, trained and prepared in Wales before being sent to the front line. Eberle and his men arrived near the 24th of December and immediately began fighting. Over the next five months, Eberle would be engaged in combat, leading his men through heavy days of fighting, to standard patrols. Eberle and his men faced the heaviest fighting of their tour overseas with the Battle of the Bulge. From there they would assist in the fighting at the Colmar pocket, as well as along the Maas River in Holland. Eberle would be in Paris on leave on V-E Day on May 8th of 1945. Before V-J day, Eberle and his men believed they might end up in Japan. Eberle would return to the States by the end of 1945.
Eberle speaks highly of his military experience, in that the purpose and enemy was clear-cut during that war. Though not expecting leadership, Eberle was thrust into the role through circumstance. Eberle would lead well and maintained contact with many of the men he knew from his unit. His experience as an officer gives listeners into the hectic, but necessary position those who were in any form of command had. His experience also tells of the fast-paced nature of the fighting that persisted all the way up to the end of the war. His story, though not the longest one, truly gives all an insight into the nature of the Second World War.
N.B. Portrait of Mr. Eberle Courtesy of Catholic Charities