Congressman Horace Kornegay

Infantry on the Roll

Horace R. Kornegay, Army, a few days before he went overseas in September, 1944.

from © Freedoms Heroes by Horace Kornegay

I enlisted in the army on December 14,1942. I was a sophomore at Wake Forest College. Before the end of January 1943, I received my orders to report for Air Corps basic training at Miami Beach, Florida. After basic training and additional testing, I was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and sent to Georgia Tech to study mechanical engineering. I remained there until the program was abolished in March of 1944. I was then sent to the 100th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and assigned to the heavy weapons company (Company “D”) of the 397th Regiment I then had to take basic training for the infantry. I successfully qualified with all of the small arms weapons, including the submachine gun and hand grenade. I was one of the first infantry soldiers to qualify for the new award, “The Expert Infantry Badge.” The 100th Division was the first in the U.S. Army to establish this award.

After six months of intensive training and workouts, the 100th Division shipped out for southern France.

The soldiers of the 100th Division were the first U.S. troops to go directly from the United States to France.

I was trained to use and furnished with the Browning M- 1 heavy, 30 caliber, water-cooled machine-gun. Being the biggest man in my squad, I usually carried the tripod (weight seventy-four pounds) in addition to all of my other weapons and gear. The other gunner carried the gun (forty-some pounds) and four other men carried the ammunition.

Our first combat was in early November. Our mission was to penetrate the German Winter Line in the High Vosges Mountains on the edge of the oft disputed province of Alsace. The Vosges terrain was formidable and the severe winter weather added hundreds of casualties to those inflicted by tenacious German soldiers. Nevertheless, our Division, the 100th, led the attack through the Vosges Mountains. For the first time in history, an army successfully penetrated the vaulted terrain barrier to the Rhine Plain and on into Germany.

The winter of 1944-45 was the coldest and most severe in Europe. The water from the melting snow ran into the foxholes and got everything wet, including our sleeping bags and blankets, if you were lucky enough to have one or two. Wet clothes and bedding made life miserable. We could not move outside of the foxhole in the daytime because the Germans were close enough to shoot or drop mortar shells on u. It was truly a miserable life.

A few miles outside of Baccarat, France we were advancing across a broad meadow that led to a steep hill covered with large trees. When my squad was about halfway up the hill, the Germans started shelling us with their 88mm artillery guns. The shells were detonated upon hitting the treetops above us, and the shrapnel from the exploded shells rained down on the entire squad. Within minutes the Germans knocked out two of our machine guns and the crews. Several of the men were severely wounded and eventually were evacuated to general hospitals, never to return to the battlefield. Shrapnel hit me in my left hand and arm, but I was still able to carry out one of the severely wounded with the use of a rope around my neck tied to one end of an improvised stretcher. All of us, including the severely wounded, lay in a ditch until the shelling subsided. At that time we were able to escape and to evacuate the wounded.

I was hospitalized for about three weeks before I could return to my outfit on the front lines, just in time to become deeply involved in holding the Germans back in the Battle of the Bulge, The 100th Division continued to serve on the front line until the war in Europe was ended. After that, for several months, they assisted in keeping the peace between, the old enemies in Europe by serving in the Army of Occupation.

I have always been proud of my service to my country in World War II. I have been particularly proud of serving with the 100th Infantry Division. Its record of 185 days in uninterrupted ground combat is unequaled by any other outfit in and during World War II. The 100th Division liberated and captured over 400 cities, towns and villages, defeated major elements of eight German divisions, and took 13,351 prisoners. In doing so, it sustained 916 killed in action, 3,656 wounded in action and 180 missing in action. The legacy of the 100th Infantry Division is one of singular excellence.

The picture of me at left with the pretty little twin girls was taken in Lorch, Germany after the Germans surrendered on May 8th 1945. I was serving in the Amy of Occupation in southern Germany during the summer of 1945 and stationed in Lorch for several weeks.

The Non-Fraternization policy of the U.S. Army was in effect at time but it did not prevent US. soldiers from giving candy and chewing gum to German children. This act of friendship endeared Americans to the German children and some of the older Germans. Such was my relationship with the blond twins.

Lorch is located about 40 to 50 miles east of Stuttgart on the Rems, a tributary of the Neckar River.

Congressman Helped Make Tobacco Institute a Force on Hill

from © The Washington Post, Friday January 23, 2009

by John Page - Associated Press

Horace Kornegay, 84, a North Carolina Democrat who served in U.S. House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and became a tobacco lobbyist, died Jan. 21 at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, N.C. No cause of death was reported.

After four terms, Mr. Kornegay moved in 1969 to the Tobacco Institute, and industry trade group that assembled a team of lobbyists and built a reputation as one of Capitol Hill’s most powerful forces. There, he continued to push back against increased taxes and regulations dogging an industry that he cast as one of the country’s best.

In 1986, Mr. Kornegay ardently fought against a surgeon general’s suggestion that the nation ban cigarette advertising. Such advertising “does not cause smoking any more than soap advertising causes people to bathe or detergent advertising cause people to wash thier clothes,” Mr. Kornegay said at the time.

He retired from the Tobacco Institute that year to join a Greensboro law firm. The Tobacco Institute dissolved after the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that placed specific marketing restrictions on the tobacco companies.

Horace Robinson Kornegay was born in Asheville on March 12, 1924, and raised in Greensboro. After Army service during World Waar II, he graduated from what is now Wake Forest University and its law school. He worked as a prosecuter for nine years before running for Congress in 1960.

His wife, the former Annie Ben Beale, died in 2004.

Survivors include three children; two sisters; and nine grandchildren.

Congressman Kornegay served on the Preddy Memorial Foundation’s Board from 1994 until his death in 2009.