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October 15, 1999

A note from Dortha Doyle Sadler in Edmond relates a curious bit of information about her two younger brothers, Robert and Lee Roy Doyle, both now deceased. Both graduated from Perry high school in 1943 and soon found their way into the U.S. Army while World War II was raging. They served together, primarily in the 70th Infantry Division ("theTrailblazers"), including combat in the European Saar area. The article from Dortha was contained in the Winter 1999 issue of the Trailblazer newsletter.

The incident described in the three-paragraph item was written by Lee Doyle and submitted to the editor of the newsletter, Ed Lane, of Radcliff, KY, apparently not long before Lee suffered a fatal heart attack and stroke at his home in Sugar Land, Texas. Here's the brief item as it appeared under Lee's by-line:

"My brother Bob and I served together throughout our military career. On one occasion, during the Saar battles, I had to go back to the hospital with a bad case of frozen feet. Several days later, Bob was told that I had been wounded and they didn't think I would make it. Bob kept getting my letters at mail call. He didn't tell my parents (Mr. and Mrs. Bud Doyle of Perry) about my condition.

"A week later the hospital released me to go back up to the line. By the time I was shuttled there, it was nightfall and the company was moving up on foot to establish a new point. Each platoon replaced another in the lead, so I just blended into the tail group and started moving up.

'It was a bright, moonlight night. Bob had served his time on the point and was dropping off, slowing down, so our group overtook him. When I looked up and saw him from the rear, I edged up to him from the back and threw my arms around him. He thought he was seeing a ghost. It was one joyous reunion when he realized that I was alive and with him."

That eerie coincidence alone makes this an interesting story, but there is still more to tell. The newsletter editor added this postscript: "At. the time the 70th was formed, it was very rare to have to brothers in the same outfit.... Lee joined the 70th at Stiring-Wendel. We have no information as to when his brother, Bob, joined. Lee took basic (training) at Camp Claiborne, La., and served with the Engineers in southeast England for a year. (Later) he was with the Signal Corps. As a civilian, he worked for Southwestern Bell Telephone and was president of the Life Member Club of Telephone Pioneers....

There is even more to this. Dortha tells me that she received the clipping from Lee's widow, Geri Doyle. She adds this: "I don't know when Lee wrote the article -- not very long before his heart attack and stroke and death. Geri did not know this article had been submitted. Can you imagine how shocked she must have been as she thumbed through the newsletter and saw the article by Lee Doyle?"

I'm indebted to Dortha for this brief tale from World War II days. If you know Dortha, you also know that her husband, Russ Sadler (a retired Ditch Witch dealer), is the brother of J.D. Sadler, also a Ditch Witch retiree.