The Project “Paul E. Alexander” is basically a lifetime project to me. I decided to start my researches about the 9th Infantry Division a while ago. As far as I remember, my very first concrete document I had was an after action report of the First U.S. Army for the month of September 1944, in which it’s stated that the 9th Infantry Division entered Belgium in the vicinity of Momignies (Belgium) at 11h07, which was actually the very start of my huge work.
Then I started basic researches on the Internet, but I was soon disappointed since I didn’t find any relevant website nor database where I can find the information and documents I need. Page after page, I felt on a name: Charles Scheffel. I found out he was the company commander of C/39th, which was the unit I randomly chose to portray in reenactment. I found his book, “Crack! and Thump”, bought it and read it in two hours. Then, without any hint about Charles being still alive, I found his address and wrote him a letter. Few weeks later, I received his answer, and there started my relationships with veterans of the 9th Infantry Division.
Facebook marked a huge step in my researches, since it helped me to contact people easily. Once of these is Monty McDaniel. His dedication to history is limitless, and he really lives to make his uncle’s story known. His uncle was S/Sgt Paul E. Alexander, who got killed in action in Renouf, Normandy. He was awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross, second highest military award in the United States Army (after the famous Congressional Medal of Honor) for his bravery in Renouf on June 14th, 1944.
Monty was one of those Niner’s relatives who helped me the most in my researches, sending me tons of documents, continuously chatting on Facebook to sort out some mysteries or find a name in thousands old newspapers. Both persons personify the American dedication to liberty and freedom. S/Sgt Alexander paid the price of liberty and sacrificed himself for a better world, while his nephew, Monty, carries on the work in honoring these young and brave soldiers.
One of Monty’s fight is to tell the story of those, like the men of the 9th Division, “whose story never got told” like Charles Scheffel wrote in his book, the “forgotten units”. Since 2001 and the release of the HBO series “Band of Brothers”, the general idea of the World War 2 became more confused, and it becomes easy to think that only the paratroopers fought, or that they were the bravest soldiers fighting in Europe. Anyone a bit educated knows this statement is not true, but still… When speaking about researchers, authors, books or website, the vast majority of information is about the paratroopers and their heroic actions. Monty is working hard to show to anyone willing to, that thousands of young and gallant men deserve the same recognition, respect and honor than the famous paratroopers of the United States Army.
The “Paul E. Alexander” Project is dedicated to S/Sgt Alexander and his nephew, Monty McDaniel. This project consists on a great collect of information, document, testimonies, pictures, videos, souvenirs, memorabilia, or anything linked to the life of a 9th Infantry Division soldier during World War II. These will be used to create a huge database, and these men will be honored in a dedicated museum.
If you want to take part or be involved in this honoring project, please drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and help us to tell the stories of those gallant young men…