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Reginald C. Augustine’s Interview

Manhattan Project Locations:

Reginald C. Augustine served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. In 1944, he was assigned to the Alsos Mission, the Manhattan Project’s counterintelligence mission in Europe to determine how far Nazi Germany had gotten on the path to building an atomic bomb. Augustine served under Colonel Boris Pash, and accompanied the Mission’s scientists in France and Germany. He also escorted some of the German scientists captured by the Allies to Farm Hall in England, including Otto Hahn. Augustine describes how the Mission also investigated German scientists, and recovered the world atomic standards. He also explains some of the logistics of the Alsos Mission and how they endeavored to keep from both the Germans and the Soviets the true nature of their work.

Date of Interview:
January 1, 2007
Location of the Interview:


[The Atomic Heritage Foundation is grateful to the Augustine family for donating this interview for publication.]

Dolores Augustine: Today is January 1st, 2007, and behind the camera is Dr. Dolores Augustine of St. John’s University, New York. I am interviewing Mr. Reginald C. Augustine about the Alsos Mission. So, go ahead. You can start talking to us about what you did on the Alsos Mission.

Reginald Augustine: Well, in May of 1944, when I was an administrative officer at an Air Force flyer training school in Arkansas, one day my commanding officer called me in, said that he had received from Washington a cable asking if I could be sent to Washington for interview in connection with a special War Department intelligence mission. My commanding officer agreed that that would happen, and so I packed my suitcase, went to Washington, and met the commanding officer of this new unit, the Alsos Mission, which was designed, it turned out, to find out how far the Germans had progressed in the construction of atomic bomb.

This seemed to be a very important question from the point of view of the American scientific commission, because many, many of the best American scientists of that period had studied in Germany. At this time, it was generally considered that German science was far superior to the American, and that as a consequence, the Germans were probably well ahead of us in atomic research.

It was at that time that Albert Einstein wrote his famous letter to President [Franklin] Roosevelt suggesting that America should get into the business of creating an atomic bomb to catch up with the Germans. At the same time, the Americans’ scientific committee was very much concerned about how far the Germans had progressed. A military commission was formed to go into the combat areas of Western Europe, as soon as suitable targets were identified and taken into American possession and were under military control.

Colonel [Boris] Pash interviewed me. It seems that his main concern was to find American military personnel who had traveled extensively in Europe and who were familiar with some of the European languages. Since I had spent about four of the last five years—let’s say four of the preceding five years in Europe and North Africa and spoke serviceable French and German, that I was a suitable candidate for this position that he wanted to fulfill. After he had talked with me for a day or so, he decided I was the man. For the rest of World War II, that was the organization to which I was assigned and where I did most of my work.

After the Americans troops had landed in Normandy and had advanced almost as far as Paris, I was then sent to England to await the transport into the war zones of France and Germany.

It seems that our first target was [Frédéric] Joliot-Curie in Paris, but he was unable to shed much light on the German atomic research.

Dolores: Had he collaborated with the Nazis?

Reginald: There is no evidence that he had collaborated, or had been asked to collaborate.

Dolores: Basically, he just didn’t know anything, he was out of the loop, because he was just a scientist working for a defeated country?

Reginald: That’s right. But before we made our next visit, Colonel Pash received from Washington a cable saying that Washington had information on the location of considerable quantities of uranium ore in Belgium, and asked Colonel Pash to pursue that lead. Now, Belgium at that time was under British Army control, to the extent that the Germans had been rolled back. We formed a part of a convoy that went into Brussels and Antwerp for the purpose of tracking down the atomic ore that they had spoken of.

My role in this was simply as a translator and questioner of the French-speaking Belgian authorities at that time. Fighting was still going on in Antwerp at that time. When we went to the installation where the atomic material was stored, there were mortar shells flying overhead between the Germans on the other side of the Albert Canal, and the Americans to the rear of the factory where we were sitting. So, we cut it short, but did identify large quantities, which eventually were picked up by the British and Americans and shipped to the United States for our use in atomic research and development of our own bomb.

But at the same time, we found that there were six carloads of atomic material that had been shipped from Belgium when the Germans conquered that country in 1940, and had been shipped somewhere into the south of France. Our next problem was to form a little mission to go down into the south of France and locate that material, and also make it available to the American bomb production, atomic bomb production activities.

There were, oh, a half a dozen or so of us, with two or three jeeps, drivers, and we were accompanied by a Major [John] Vance of the Manhattan Project, that is, the American atomic research, military research committee.

Dolores: Can I just ask, which of the Allies was occupying southern France? 

Reginald: At that time, the south of France was essentially a no-man’s land. It was occupied by the French forces of the interior, that is, the French resistance forces to the Germans. Unfortunately, at that time, these French forces were divided between the communists and the non-communist elements, who not only did not collaborate with one another, but were, to a certain extent, competing with one another and not collaborating in any way.

Our instructions were first of all, to go to a certain chateau in the south of France in the vicinity of Limoges, where there was a representative of a French company that was also participating in the exploitation of uranium ore from the Belgian Congo. He from that point on assisted us in our research and our search for the missing uranium. He accompanied us first of all to Toulouse, the French facilities where their atomic material was stored.

We entered the factory there. Major Vance of the Manhattan Project and I located some barrels that were suspicious. Major Vance had a Geiger counter, determined that there was atomic material located in those barrels. It turned out that there were about 85 barrels of that material. Naturally, this was far more volume, a far greater volume of material than we could transport with our jeeps.

Colonel Pash, at that point, returned to Paris and enlisted the support of the transportation authorities, the American Army transportation authorities, who turned out to be quite generous. They gave us a fleet of American trucks that had been used up to that point for transporting material from Antwerp to the front lines.

This entire fleet of trucks came rumbling down to Toulouse to pick up the material. The French officer in charge of the factory there was a bit reluctant. But Colonel Pash, as a bluff, had some of our troops sitting there with their weapons clearly in view just outside the door, and the French officer reluctantly said, “Go ahead.” 

The material was picked up and transported from there down to Marseilles to be transported to the United States. I was in charge of that particular movement down to Marseilles. There were American transport boats that picked up the atomic material. It was loaded.

One little incident took place. One of the barrels slipped out of the sling in which it was being transferred from the dock to the hold of the ship, and sank down into the harbor.

Dolores: Oh, no.

Reginald: It was necessary to call in Navy divers to locate.

Dolores: Oh, boy. But they were able to do so?

Reginald: They were able to do so. At that time, there were rumors among the local French population that these barrels were filled with French gold, which Americans were taking. But we would rather have them believe it was gold than that it was atomic ore, because we did not want at any point to highlight the importance of the material that we were taking.

I was designated as officer to a company, the American merchant fleet that carried this material back to the United States, and make sure that it came into the hands of the Manhattan Project. I signed in on the boat as Captain Augustine, and I was in the same boat as the admiral in charge of the whole convoy.

To my surprise, at dinner that night, I found myself in the captain’s dining room and very near to the admiral himself. The conversation that ensued made it clear to everybody present that I was not a naval captain, which would be the same grade as an Army colonel, but I was an Army captain, which was about the same as a Navy lieutenant second grade. At that point, why, my stock went down faster than that barrel went down in the harbor of Marseilles.

The next night after that, I found myself in the dining room of the lower naval officers, the lieutenants, the ensigns and so forth. But it was a much more congenial group, so far as I was concerned. From that point on, the whole trip was a succession of evening bridge games with the naval officers, and in the daytime, perusing their extensive shipboard library.

When we arrived in Boston, who was there from the Manhattan Project to meet me? It was Colonel Vance, who had flown on back to the United States. Since he and I knew one another, it was the easiest transfer that could have been imagined.

When I returned to France, this was in November and December of 1944. During this time, the front lines had stabilized along the Rhine River and remained stabilized for a period of three months. But in the meantime, the American troops had entered Strasbourg in France, in Alsace, I should say.

There was a German research organization connected with a hospital in Strasbourg. The scientist in charge of their research was very closely connected with the German atomic research organization under [Werner] Heisenberg. It was at this point in perusing his correspondence with the research center in Germany that our scientists concluded that the Germans not only did not have an atomic bomb, were not likely ever to have one, because they were on the wrong track. However, it was very important for us.

Dolores: How was this determined, exactly, that they were on the wrong track?

Reginald: Because their papers showed that they were pursuing the wrong scientific methods of exploding an atomic bomb.

Dolores: You had top American scientists with you who could determine this?

Reginald: Oh, yes. Yes. I should say, at this point that our mission as American military officers at this time was to accompany the American scientists, make sure that they were provided housing and were properly fed, and transportation from one point to another, physical protection, security and so forth.

Our general pattern of action was to move into an area where there was some sort of a target in the form of an installation with its documents and papers and so forth and the personnel, so that our scientists could exploit this material, the information that was available through interrogating the personnel that we came to.

It was through this means that—let’s say our scientists were 99 and a half percent certain that the Germans were not even on the right track. But it was important for us to continue to locate them to find out, for one thing, whether they made any progress subsequent to the point at which the correspondence had originated, that we had just exploited. And also to prevent German scientists from being exploited by the Russians.

Dolores: About how many men did you have under you?

Reginald: I would say that Colonel Pash had military personnel amounting to about 35, 40 personnel. We had at one time or another an equal number of American scientists. But the American scientists, some of them were permanently assigned to our mission and remained with us the entire time that we were in Europe. Whereas, other scientists were what you might call “visiting scientists,” who came on specific missions to find out what part was being progressed.

Another point I should make is that our Alsos Mission was called the War Department’s Scientific Intelligence Mission, and it was assigned all sorts of additional missions in order to cover up the atomic element of it. We found ourselves with people who were interested in German air force research and the bombs that the Germans were making and sending over to England at that time.

Dolores: The V-2 rockets.

Reginald: The V-1 and V-2 rockets.

Also, we had an oil salesman who was interested in German research on the production of gasoline from—or I should say, motor fuel from oil shale and so forth. We had several doctors who were interested in wartime research that the Germans were making, especially with the Russian prisoners.

Dolores: Also chemical weapons, right? Biological weapons?

Reginald: Also, chemicals, yes, by all means. But I should repeat, this was all cover-up to hide the fact that we were interested in the atomic bomb. One of our number one objectives was to keep anyone—the French, the Russian—from finding out about it.

The only way to do that was to make sure that nobody outside of our mission knew what our mission was, except at the very highest level, the commanding officers, [Dwight D.] Eisenhower, [Kenneth] Strong, his chief of intelligence, and so forth. Some of the very highest military officers were aware of what our objective was. But for the most part, we were very sure that no one, even on the American side, should find out what we were looking for.

Dolores: What was the U.S. government going to do with the information about the German atomic program?

Reginald: As I say, one thing was, of course, to find out what progress from that point on the Germans might make.

Dolores: Presumably, it was to find out whether the Germans would, at the very end of the war, be able to use an atomic weapon against the Allies?

Reginald: Oh, yes, oh, yes.

Dolores: That must have been the chief goal, right?

Reginald: Oh, yes, oh, by all means. By all means, yes. As I said at the outset, the objective of the Alsos Mission was to find out how far the Germans had progressed, and presumably, to take counter measures to prevent them from exploiting whatever they may have found out. Through aerial bombardment of their production facilities, or whatever it might be. But this never came into play, because the Germans didn’t progress that far.

As a matter of fact, the scientific chief of our mission, Dr. Sam Goudsmit, who had been at the University of Michigan, who was of Dutch origin, said that we, the Americans, spent more time and money trying to find out what the Germans had done than the Germans spent on their entire program. But this only came clearly into view the deeper we got into their research facilities.

Dolores: There wasn’t any real serious interest in chemical or biological weapons, right? Is that correct? That there was not the thought, “Oh, the Germans might deploy chemical or biological weapons in an attempt to win the war at the last minute. Therefore, we have to find out about that.” That was not really a thought, it was all a cover?

Reginald: I’m sure that our chemists would have reported any evidence, pro or con, on that subject. But to my knowledge, I am not aware of what evidence they did turn up, one way or another. Their reports were, of course, secret, so far as we were concerned. Just as ours were secret, as far as they were concerned.

Dolores: Right. In other words, you weren’t involved in the search for chemical or biological weapons?

Reginald: No.

Dolores: But there were others in the Alsos Mission who where?

Reginald: However, we provided them with food, lodging, transportation and so forth, just the same as we did for those of our scientists who were primarily concerned with the atomic research. We treated them all the same in that respect. Naturally, most of our greatest effort was in the direction of German atomic activity.

Dolores: Right. I think you had gotten sidetracked. Let’s see, where were we? You were talking about Strasbourg, I think.

Reginald: When I returned in December of 1944, I was assigned to Strasbourg. As a matter of fact, I had headquarters established in the apartment of a German doctor, who was at that time conducting research on Soviet prisoners of war. His research facility was in the hills behind Strasbourg, in a place called Natzwiller. He had a facility where he could house, let’s say, a dozen or so Russian prisoners. At the same time, he also had a little gas chamber, a one-shower gas chamber for use when necessary. I accompanied our doctors up to that facility a couple of times.

Dolores: Was this also a cover for the atomic mission?

Reginald: Yes.

Dolores: Or was there some other motive for doing research on these medical experiments?

Reginald: So far as our medical officers assigned to Alsos, as far as they were concerned, their objective was the very positive one in finding out what the Germans were doing along that line. Just as our main objective was atomic research, I think they were as serious—he officers that were medical officers that were with us—had missions that to them were as serious as our mission was to us, to put it simply.

But in any event, for the next three months, I was waiting in Strasbourg for the time when the front lines would move across the Rhine, and Strasbourg could be used as a base of operations for all of Alsos into southern Germany.

Dolores: That must have been very macabre, living in the place where a Nazi war criminal had lived. Must have been very odd, to say the least.

Reginald: No, as a matter of fact, his family life and home life seemed to be as normal and as wholesome as anyone else’s could. You would never guess from what we found in his apartment that related to this. I suppose that all of the material on his medical research was housed in his little establishment up at Natzwiller, where he had his carving table and his gas chamber and so forth. But in his home, there were complete sets of all the works of Goethe, of Schiller, of Heine, and other famous German poets and thinkers. That was, I would say, the major action of liberation that I personally conducted during the war. I sent all of those books back, and they are in my library at this moment.

But when springtime came and military operations were resumed in full, the American troops captured, among other places, Heidelberg. Heidelberg was a much more suitable place than Strasbourg for conducting research. For one thing, Heidelberg was one of the few German towns that was untouched. It was a university town, did not constitute a military target. It was closer to the front lines, you might say, to the targets that we were interested in, closer to the German networks of highways, the so-called Autobahn, which we used to get from our headquarters to the various targets that developed in southern Germany.  

From April of 1945 until October of 1945, I was in charge of our operating base in Heidelberg. There we occupied a mansion, a huge mansion that had belonged to a German burgher, a brewer, whose factory was in Mannheim, just a few kilometers away from Heidelberg. We had plenty of room in that mansion to house dozens and dozens of people at the same time. We also had to, naturally, house our own military personnel. For that purpose, I had to go out into the neighborhood and requisition German housing, which was no mean task in itself, because every house seemed to be stuffed with refugees from various parts of Germany, who had fled from the front lines. Most of the people were either elderly. The able-bodied men, of course, were out on the front. It was women, children, and then the elderly that lived in these houses.

Obviously, the next objective was to occupy the German atomic research facilities, which in the meantime we had found were located out in the area of Tailfingen, in the southern part of the German state of Wurttemberg. As soon as American and French troops had pushed back the Germans and had occupied the area where those were located, why, it became our objective to go into their research facilities, find out exactly what they were doing, and to round up their personnel to make sure that they did not disperse and fall into Russian hands. I suppose for historical purposes, we wanted to know exactly how far they had gone and what they had found out in the research that they had done, which was quite different, in some respects, from our own.

When Tailfingen and the surrounding towns had been liberated, our commanding officer, Colonel Pash, with a small group of well-armed American GIs, who were attached to our mission, made sure that it was safe. In the meantime, he asked me to bring the American scientists up into that area, so that they could perform their task of interrogation and exploitation of these targets.

I was not present with this forward element that had militarily occupied the facilities that we wanted to research. I formed a little convoy, and brought a dozen or so American scientists up into that area. After my return to Heidelberg, they spent several days of exploiting that area and reporting on it. When they were finished, Colonel Pash asked me to come back and escort them—asked me to escort the German atomic scientists whom we had captured. There were, oh, perhaps a dozen. I’ve forgotten exactly how many there were, but these were the top people in German atomic research.

Since we would have to take them back to American headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, and would have to travel through French-occupied territory to do so, Colonel Pash arranged for me to have a battalion of combat engineers accompany our little convoy of scientists so that to any outsider, the movement would appear to be a simple movement of American military personnel to which no Frenchman could raise any objection. I successfully escorted them back to Frankfurt. There was no attempt to interfere in any way on the part of anyone in that little movement. Then, from there, first they were moved up into England and were housed for interrogation in England.

Dolores: That’s at Farm Hall?

Reginald: Farm Hall, yes.

Dolores: What were your orders? What would have happened if you had run into any resistance on the part of the French?

Reginald: I was under orders to go through.

Dolores: Yeah. Okay. That’s pretty clear.

Reginald: I sometimes speculated just what might have happened, but you have no way of knowing exactly how such a situation would arise. As a consequence, no point in trying to plan what you would do.

Dolores: Right.

Reginald: Obviously, with as much American firepower as I had, why, I didn’t intend to be interfered with in any way.

From that point on, there were a few other German scientists located—some in Hamburg, some in Bavaria, some very important people. Heisenberg, for example, himself, the leading German atomic scientist in this mission, who was in a mountain retreat in Bavaria and had to be tracked down individually. I had no part in that.

Dolores: Did you ever meet Heisenberg?

Reginald: I never met Heisenberg.

Dolores: And you never saw him either?

Reginald: No, I saw these others, Professor [Otto] Hahn, who was the discoverer of atomic fission, along with Lise Meitner.

Dolores: What kind of impression did you have of Hahn, or any of the others? Do you remember at all? Do you remember anything about them?

Reginald: No, no. German scientists are a very [inaudible] group intellectually and to a certain extent socially, and with very, very fine manners. I had variable contact with them.

From that point on, we were navigating toward the time of the German surrender, and I was not on any important mission until sometime later. From that point on, I was in a holding mission. We were in Heidelberg. I simply was in charge of all the facilities there. I had three junior officers, one in charge of the housing, one in charge of the mess, and one in charge of the motor pool.

My deputy named Edell, Jack Edell, was the primary dispatcher, that is, matching up our automotive facilities with individual scientists who were on missions in various places. I had no direct connection with any important mission, except to go down to Munich when it was captured and I established a headquarters down there. I remained there for a week or so to make sure that it was operating all right. But then another officer who was sent in to take care of that so I could get back to Heidelberg.

It was not until August that we got on a final mission, and this was a rather interesting one. Colonel Pash received a cable from Washington saying that the world atomic standards, which had been developed by the Curies, but had been confiscated by the Germans when they occupied Paris and had been removed to a German research facility in what later became Eastern Germany.

The Americans had initially occupied this particular part of Germany, but through corrections that were made in the line of division, it ultimately fell into the Soviet zone of occupation. They were the standards by which all other atomic standards worldwide were measured. In order that these standards should not fall into Soviet hands but should be in the hands of the Americans, Colonel Pash called one day and said—he called, I think, about 4:00 in the afternoon, and said that by 6:00 he wanted a fleet of jeeps ready with so many drivers, so much gasoline.

At this point, I should digress just a little bit and say that Colonel Pash had also had his own headquarters in Heidelberg, on the other side of the Neckar River from where the headquarters were. Naturally, when Colonel Pash wanted to, he could step in at any time and take charge of any action that he felt appropriate. But for normal day-to-day actions, he did not want to become involved in that, he wanted me and Jack Edell to handle the normal facilities. But Colonel Pash had a half a dozen—

Dolores: You were sort of Colonel Pash’s right-hand man, is that right?

Reginald: No. I’d say his two right-hand men were Colonel [George] Eckman, who was in charge of the Paris office and remained in the Paris office during the duration of our mission into Germany. He had established himself there in the fall of 1944, and it was through that office that correspondence from Washington passed and was held. Naturally, atomic scientists from the United States who were going to come into Germany at any part, first of all went to Paris and then were processed there for coming forward in Germany.

I should also say that there was a headquarters similar to mine, which was headquartered in Göttingen, somewhat farther north in Germany. It was commanded by Captain [Robert] Blake, who was sort of my counterpart, and he ran operations similarly into northern Germany. So, there were two different operating headquarters, but the main mass of them passed through Heidelberg. You can say that Göttingen was a forward headquarters for operations only into northern Germany.

In any event, now let’s stop the digression. By 6:00, we were ready with jeeps and weapons and gasoline and all that was necessary and the necessary number of men. We travelled all night, all night, and arrived early the next morning at the point in Eastern Germany where this research headquarters was.

Now, actually, the picking up of this material was rather uneventful, though there was naturally some reluctance on the part of the German scientists in charge of the facility. But we had orders to pick them up, so we did pick them up. Then we headed back to Frankfurt.

The interesting thing is that in an office in the American headquarters in Frankfurt, there were a number of people who were eagerly awaiting to find out how this mission had turned out. I would say there was more concern about the fate of these atomic standards than I would have imagined that there would be. I was surprised at the importance that was laid upon them. But in any event, when we arrived back there were people waiting in this office in the Farben Building, IG Farben Building in Frankfurt to find out from Colonel Pash. When Colonel Pash entered the room where they were, of course, they wanted to know where they were.

Colonel Pash dramatically pulled open his coat, and showed that he had put them in. He said that they all ran from the room at that time, because these were live atomic. It turned out later that he did suffer some burns on his body from carrying these things that close. But, that’s the way he transported them.

Dolores: Oh, my gosh. Did he suffer any long-term health repercussions from that?

Reginald: I don’t know. I don’t think so.

Dolores: Well, for example, did he die young of cancer?

Reginald: No.

Dolores: No, okay.

Reginald: No, he lived into his 90s.

Dolores: Oh, okay, so whatever long-term repercussions there were, they can’t have been too bad.

Reginald: He was only, he was only 45, I think, when I joined the mission. I think that he didn’t die until somewhere around 1990. He was over 90 years old. So, that there was no short-term effect, in any event.

The time came when our mission began to phase out, and our personnel was classified—as all American personnel was classified—for further assignment. Those who had so many points—a person could get points. So many points for so many months, the number of months spent in the Army, so many more points from time overseas, so many more points from combat exposure and so forth.

It was at that time that I was classified as somebody ready for discharge from the Army. We returned to Washington. I was processed out of Washington and subsequently went up to the Army facility in Rockford, Illinois, where I was, let’s say, drummed out of the Army entirely.

Dolores: Tell me how you got your OBE [Order of the British Empire].

Reginald: There were a number of Englishmen who participated. This was, to a certain extent, a joint venture, and there were certain Englishmen who were very well familiar with our operation. When the British were dealing out memberships in the Order of the British Empire, they included Americans who were also in this joint venture, you might say. To what extent that policy was carried out across the board, I don’t know.

Dolores: How did you come to get a Bronze Star, an American Bronze Star?

Reginald: I think Colonel Pash simply nominated certain personnel, and both Bob Blake and I were given the bronze star. Colonel Pash received the Silver Star.

I guess I could have mentioned that when I was in Strasbourg one day, a party came up from Paris to see what facilities were available there. Of course, I was living in the facilities that were available there. There was a British general among those who came forward. I had my driver take us around to various parts of Strasbourg to show him what the town was like as well as our own building, our own headquarters.

It was then that he asked me to drive him down to the Rhine River. This was, for the most part, simply counter battery fire, which was sporadic. But one night, a shell from this counter battery fire fell into a square about two blocks from my apartment, exploded, killed a policeman who was on night duty.

Dolores: Let me see, let me ask a couple of other questions. What were your relations with the British forces? Were they in on the secret of Alsos? Did they understand what the Alsos Mission—

Reginald: Only at a very high level. But their high level ordered, for example, when we wanted to go into Antwerp, we went with a British convoy. It is not an American convoy that took us. It was an armored convoy ready for battle which carried us up into Antwerp, that is, accompanied us. We had our own transportation, but we were mingled with this British.

Naturally, when we got to Antwerp, why it was the British who assigned us quarters and requisitioned the buildings and so forth. From time to time, British authorities came over to consult with Colonel Pash. I’m sure they were kept—the appropriate people, British people—were kept up to date on everything that we did, so far as that’s concerned.

Dolores: Whereas, the Soviets were completely out of the picture, I assume.

Reginald: Yes. As a matter of fact, it was to keep the Soviets from finding out anything, at any level, that some of this security was necessary. Of course, during the combat phase, it was the Germans we didn’t want to find out anything about our interest in their facilities.

Dolores: Tell me something about Colonel Pash.

Reginald: Colonel Pash was a very interesting fellow. He was the son of a Russian Orthodox archbishop. He was the archbishop in the United States, and I met him in New York. But he spoke only Russian, and although I was studying Russian at the time, I didn’t speak enough to converse with him. So, I didn’t get to know the old man. He was a venerable old man with a white beard.

Dolores: The father, yeah.

Reginald: Yes. But Colonel Pash was truly a gung-ho character. He was a little bit impetuous. I wouldn’t say that he was really rash, and he took the precautions that he could. But he didn’t hesitate to go into the very front lines with a weapon when it was necessary to occupy buildings, let’s say, that were under questionable control at the time.

Dolores: Right, right.

Reginald: But he was very, very much concerned about, about his people. He was the kind of officer who made sure that the troops under him were well taken care of. He enjoyed the company of low-level security personnel. He surrounded himself in his headquarters in Heidelberg, which I mentioned were across the Rhine from where we were, where my headquarters was.

He didn’t interfere with what I was doing. He had under him not only Colonel Eckman in Paris, but also a Lieutenant Colonel Ham, who was nominally in charge, but who in Heidelberg very seldom showed up and he was often in Paris. I was never sure just what Colonel Pash’s orders to Colonel Ham might have been. But I didn’t care. If Colonel Ham wanted to issue an order to me, obviously, he was my superior, I would be glad to do it. But he didn’t interest himself in the day-to-day operation—the mess, the housing, the motor pool, and all that sort of thing.

After, I must confess that I, myself, delegated as much as I could to these junior officers, just kept a finger on what was going on. I sat at my desk regularly. I had regular office hours during the day. Edell, my deputy was, had a desk pushed right up against it, so that we could confer on any question that came up. But we dealt, between us, with all of the details of operating that headquarters, that office.

Copyright 2019 Nancy Augustine Oppenheim and Dolores Augustine. This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced, or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of the Augustine family.