The pilots were flown to 8th airborne headquarters in England to find out they were not needed and not sent for. They "knocked around" England doing very little while the invasion of Europe advanced.
Shortly before the breakout at St. Lo, France, Benny was assigned to the Third Armored Tank Division as ground air officer. His call sign was Bravo, and he was assigned two jeeps, a half track and six men. After the break out at St. Lo, Benny's job was to get to high ground and spot anything ahead of the division.
At daybreak, on August 2, 1944, Benny and his group tried to get to a tree line to spot German tanks that had been firing on their division for several hours.
After reaching the high ground, trees ahead still blocked their view. As they moved forward through one of the deep hedgerow lanes near St. Lo, they saw an American jeep backed off the road. It was two artillery officers looking for the same German tanks. One of the officers started to step out of his jeep. Just before his feet hit the ground, he yelled, "Move that jeep!" Benny hit the gear shift. As he said, "You don't ask questions."
A German shell exploded. It killed both the artillery observers and the driver in Benny's jeep. Benny believes that it was the driver's body that saved his own life. He was hit in both arms and both legs, and a shell fragment had gone through his arm above his elbow.
Benny got out of the jeep and ran down the lane, trying to find a place to get out of the lane and to find cover. He ran straight into a German Tiger tank. The tank was so big it took up the entire lane. Benny tried to climb the wall of the lane to get out of the way, but he could not. The tank ran over Benny's left hand and wrist, his right arm halfway up, his head was pushed back, and the tread caught him across the forehead and ripped his right ear.
Benny lay in the lane until a German came out of the woods, realized that he was still alive, and dragged him by his shoulder straps to a German aid station nearby. They took his cigarettes and wristwatch but did what they could for his wounds. After a few hours they put him on a litter and took him to the rear. The next thing he knew, a German doctor was asking his name. The doctor cut Benny's wedding band off his smashed left hand and put it into Benny's pocket. He cut Benny's clothes from his body and bandaged him as best he could. The Germans did not have plaster or cotton. Then the doctor dressed him in a German uniform. Benny lost consciousness and when he came to, he was in a barn. He was burning up with fever and had been dreaming of a waterfall. A Frenchman working in hospital barn realized Benny wanted water. He got a bucket, gave Benny all the water be could drink and poured what was left over his head. Again Benny lost consciousness.
In that wild time, Benny dreamed of an old water pump he had seen operating a few days before near St. Lo. He could see himself holding his head under the pump and drinking water out of his hands. Benny had never drank out of his hands before, but did so from then on. He said, "It tastes better to me than out of a glass."
They had left him to die, but he did not. An ambulance took Benny to a German hospital, and he was put into a ward with the wounded German S.S. While there, two German S.S. in particular continually stared at Benny as if to say that if they could get to him they would kill him. But when candy was passed out, Benny got his as did the German wounded - each got three pieces of candy.
Each morning when the German doctor arrived, every man who could stand jumped to attention, saluted, and yelled, "Heil Hitler!"
Four days later, Benny left the hospital by German ambulance. When the Germans put another soldier into the ambulance below Benny, Benny spoke to him. He was an American, and they both cried.