Claude Estrada Cuellar

born July 11, 1922
died October 16, 2005

Photos and chronicle of his experience as a soldier in WWII.

Italicized comments by
Delia Isabel Cuellar
home Background Claude's photos Photos of unknown German officer/soldiers Note to Col. Raff from unknown US soldier Links


It was the morning of October 13, 1942 when I went to work for the last time as a civilian. About 2:00 pm I left for McAllen where I was enlisted in the army. After being in San Antonio for about one week, I was sent back to Moore Field where I stayed for 8 months.

I was a rookie at first. Didn't know nothing about the army. After 7 weeks of basic training and marching, I learned a little. At this time I went to work as the cadet (Mess). At this time the field where I was, was an advance training field for pilots.

At this place, I worked for the rest of the 8 months (at) a war station here. I was getting $22.50 extra on the 10 th of each month. I had been at Moore Field for 7 months when I got my first furlough. I got my furlough on May 13 (1943) only I left on May 12.


Three days after I got my pass I got married. We got married in McAllen. From here we went to Brownsville where we stayed for three days. When we got back to McAllen. Not having much to do I decided to work a little. So, I went to work. I was working in a (stand) where at that time they were packing tomatoes.

For 4 days I worked and earned $22.50. The days that were left of my furlough I didn't do much. About all we did was to go for a promenade every evening.

On the last day of June, I was told to get ready to leave the field at 1:00 pm. Me and about 83 more GIs left that day for San Antonio. We arrived at Kelly Field that night. Here I stayed 9 days. I left Kelly Field on July 9 (1943) at 8:00 pm and arrived in Barksdale Field on July 10 about 5:20pm.


The next day, July 11, 1943 was my birthday. I was assigned to the 2087 Truck Co. I went through a lot of training and finally I was ready to go overseas.

After taking a 3-day pass, which I spent with my wife and my grandmother, I was on the train on September 14 on my way to Camp Kilmer. In Camp Kilmer we stayed till October 17, 1943. While I was there I went to visit New York.

In New York I was in the Empire State Building and many other places. Like the (Stage door cantine) and some of the parks.

On the night of October 7, 1943,1 went on the boat. It was the Monterrey that later was sunk off the African coast. For 14 days and nights I was on the Atlantic. We had two meals a day and they were not so hot.

By October 21, 1943, we arrived in Liverpool


It was October 22 about 1:30 pm when I got off at Liverpool. We marched for about 4 blocks. As we passed the buildings, we saw that a lot of them had been hit by bombs. We got to the station and from here we took a train to Warrington.

Here in Warrington the 8* Air Force had one of the biggest airfields in England. We arrived in Warrington that same afternoon. Our barracks were in town and they weren't bad. The show was also pretty good.

We got our trucks three days later. There wasn't much work to do so we had it pretty easy. We didn't have much trouble in driving on the left side of the road and the little narrow roads and streets.

What was hard in driving was that the sun never would come out and we could see nothing till about 9:30 and at 3:30 it was dark again.

Sometimes the fog was so thick that one of us had to sit on the fender and shine our flashlights in front of the truck. Also many times we had to drive in 2 nd gear all the way through town.


On the first week of December 1943, we moved to Bath, close to Bristol. This was the 9 th Air Force. So we were no longer in the 8 th. This Field was on top of a hill and at the time was the coldest place in the world.

In this place I was put in the guardhouse for five days. I was going to get a court marshal and from a year to 18 months but my CO and a lot of (lies) that I told the (Probos marchen). I was free in five days! There was no woman in the case. (?).

4-13-04: Claude explained that one of his jobs was to drive to the PX and get groceries and stuff. While there he would grab one case of orange juice for himself. He would keep this in his cab and enjoy for days later. Well, it happened that someone broke into the PX and stole a lot of goods. It was rumored that there were empty orange juice cans around Claude's truck. So naturally, they thought he was the thief. They put him under arrest but could not prove the case. Claude said he was only guilty of taking the orange juice.

On the 2 nd week ofFeb we moved to Oxford. Oxford is between London and Bristol. On the 2 nd day of March, I got my 2nd furlough. I went to Birmingham and stayed there the 8 days of my furlough.


On the last days of October we moved to a park in South England. We were training this time for the invasion of France. This place was near (Windbome) north of (Bormouth). We went on road marches every day from 10 to 15 miles each day. We never did drive the trucks while we were there.

On the last few days of May, German bombs were coming over almost every night. One night they dropped a bunch of incendiary bombs about a block away. We were going in town almost every night but there wasn't much in town. There were 10 GIs to every civilian. It was in this place when I made PFC. I still don't know how.

One morning we were lined up for breakfast when we noticed a lot of planes going over. We knew that the invasion was on June 6, 1944. All the planes had white stripes on the wings.


On June 11, 1944, we left for the port. It was late in the evening when we got on the L.S.T. [Landing Ship Tank] It was June 12, 1944 before we left England. We sailed all that day and that night. Me and my friend D(Di Don..) went to sleep in one of the trucks on the lot deck. When we woke up the next morning, it was 8:00 am. We were still away from the French coast. The Germans were shelling the coast and the boat was far from the coast.

About noon we got off the boat and drive for about 6 miles. This place was the 2nd air strop in France. As soon as it got dark, the big guns began to work. I slept with another GI in a hole next to a bunch of trees. There were planes dropping bombs all night long.

4-14-04: Claude said that the boat they were on came onto the beach and the front of the boat opened onto the beach. Claude then drove his truck off.

The next day we unloaded our trucks and moved 2 miles on the other side of Sainte Mere Eglise on the road to Carentan N13. We didn't have tents or beds to sleep in. All we had was 3 blankets and the tarp from the trucks. We all dug a hole and put the tarp over it. We stayed here working every day and many times at night all through June, July and August.

4-14-04: Claude said they dug a deep hole next to a hedge and some trees. At night there were a lot of frogs in the area and they would jump into the trench and kick up dirt which would scare the heck out of Claude and the other GI.

On the 11 th of July, which is my birthday I almost got hit by an 88 shell.

4-14-04: Claude said that they were driving through a little town when the Germans started shelling. Everyone was running in every direction. A jeep with about 4 GIs passed his truck and went up ahead of him and his buddy. When the jeep was about one block in front, a shell hit a nearby wall. The concrete and rocks were propelled into the jeep. The jeep burst into flames aided by the extra gasoline they were carrying. Claude saw just a couple of the men in the jeep escape.


In September, we moved to Rambouillet close to Paris. For 6 weeks we hauled bombs from Normandy. Every time we had a chance we would go to Paris. Paris is one of the most beautiful cities that I have seen.

From Rambouillet we moved to Mont Didier. Mont Didier is 50 miles north of Paris. This was the time of the break through.

From here we moved to Merieux. Merieux is 35 miles north from Paris. We arrived in Merieux on Jan 3, 1945 and we stayed there till April. During this time we had more fun than any other time since I've been overseas. We could get a pass to Paris every week. All of us had a girl friend. I had 2 in one town and 1 in another. Many times I went to eat supper or dinner with them. They had everything that makes a meal.

In April we moved to Liege Belgium. We stayed in Liege only 2 weeks and then we moved into Germany. We went to Frankfurt.


For the first two weeks we didn't go with the German girls. After those few days we were doing all right and having a lot of fun. Only here in Germany there wasn't much to drink and nothing to eat.

4-14-04: Claude said they used a 40 gallon gas tank to drive into town and filled it with dandelion wine. They brought this tank back to their tents and had a good old time.

One Saturday afternoon, me and one of my friends went out and didn't come back till Sunday afternoon. This time I almost went to the guardhouse again. But all I did was to sign the 104 for the 2nd time. Also do a week of KP.

From Frankfurt we moved to Southern Germany. We had been there only one week when I was transferred out of 2087 Truck Co. From here I went back to Liege where I had a good time for 4 days.

On the 5 th day I had to leave Liege. So a little after 10:00 am I was on a C47 on my way back to Germany. It was the first time that I had been on a plane.


I arrived in (Fri....). About 16 miles south of(Hasber) Germany. Just in time for dinner. Here I was assigned to the 488the HQ and to the MP Co. I never did like the MPs but now I don't think that they are too bad. For the first two weeks I went on sick call every day. There wasn't much work here. So before long, I was ok.

On July 26, 1945 I got another furlough to England. We left from here by plane to London. The weather was not too good and the C47 was going up and down all the way. Within two hours and 45 minutes after we left Germany, we arrived in London.

It was late in the evening and I was going to Birmingham at 9:30.1 was on my way to Birmingham by train. Birmingham is 100 miles north of London.

It was nice to see all the lights on the streets and buildings. When I left England, they didn't have any lights at all. Before you could not go in town without a light.

I stayed 4 days in Birmingham and then I left for London.


I arrived in London on the 5 th day of my furlough. During the 3 days that I stayed in London, I didn't do much to talk about.

Soon the 8 th day I left London by plane and arrived in Germany 2:15 after we left.

When I got back my co. was getting ready to come to France. So we only stayed two weeks after I got back from my furlough. In those two weeks I met a friend in Fritzler. But, it wasn't long before we moved from there.


After three days we arrived in Lyon France. Lyon is 95 miles north of Paris. We stayed here for 25 days in Camp Detroit. Detroit wasn't too bad.

After almost a month we got on a train and headed for Marseilles. We were on the train for two nights and two days. Marseilles in on the Mediterranean sea. I didn't like this camp the rest didn't either. We had to stand on a line 1-1/2 block long before every meal.

NOTE: This is all that Claude Cuellar wrote about his experiences.

When he returned to the Valley as a civilian, he divorced his wife Ophelia on the insistance of his mother Cleofas. (It seems Ophelia had a child by someone else). He met my mother, Hortensia Cuellar, and they were married after a 2-week courship. He and Hortensia had two daughters, Delia (myself) and Irene. He was step-father to Hortensia's two sons, Eddie and Carlos Lopez.

He joined in the family business started by his grandmother, Adelaida Cuellar. Her taco stand at the Kaufman County Fair launched a chain of restaurants called "El Chico". Restauranteering was Claude's passion.

Claude passed away on Sunday, October 16, 2005 in Arlington Texas. He will be missed