was a member of the famous 36th Infantry Division during World War
II, but he probably joined that outfit before the war, in 1940,
when the 36th was a Texas National Guard unit. Like so many other
young men, Braune went from being a citizen soldier to a full-time
warrior when America entered the war. On that "day of infamy" when
Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, the life
of this young Cost boy would drastically change, as would the lives
of all Americans.
Braune fought with the 36th in North Africa and Sicily, but it was
the bravery he displayed during the invasion of France that earned
him the Soldier's Medal for heroism.
The February 15, 1945, issue of The Gonzales Inquirer contained
an article about Marvin Braune. It told of how the Cost soldier
risked his life to help rescue a number of men from a landing craft
that had been hit by enemy fire.
The newspaper quoted excerpts from the citation that accompanied
Braune's medal: "In the invasion of Southern France a large landing
craft approaching the coast was struck squarely by an enemy glider
bomb. The seriously damaged vessel, loaded with heavy artillery
ammunition and personnel, drifted ashore in flames and the ammunition
began to explode.
"Although the personnel of the Headquarters and Service Company
had been moved inland from the beach to escape the hurtling shell
fragments, Tec. 5 Braune and some comrades returned to the shore
near the burning ship and began rescue work."
According to the citation, many of the soldiers onboard the burning
craft sought to escape by jumping into the water. Braune and his
fellow rescuers worked until midnight, swimming around the ship
and dragging men ashore.
The citation ended as follows: "Tec. 5 Braune and his comrades did
not cease their unselfish and hazardous work until they had saved
75 men from drowning and had treated another 15 for burns, wounds
Young Braune and the other men risked their own lives to save 75
men! Think about that for a minute or two. Although we have no way
of knowing what happened to those 75 servicemen in future battles,
we do know that because of Marvin Braune's bravery; their lives
were spared on that day.
It just might be that some of the folks who knew the son of Mr.
and Mrs. E.F. Braune, may never have known what Marvin did "over
there." Soldiers, who have actually experienced the horrors of war,
seldom sit around bragging about it.
I like to think of it this way, at that time and in that place,
Marvin Braune and his comrades saved 75 families from receiving
that dreaded telegram. The one that contained the words, "We regret
to inform you…."
Lone Star Diary
Published with author's permission.