PFC Richard L. Forster
Co H, 2nd Bat., 317th Inf. Reg., 80th Division (Patton's Trouble Shooters)
KIA 21 January 1945
at the Sure River Bridge, Bourscheid, Luxembourg
-- Jim Forster --
Dick Forster was born in Selinsgrove, Pa April 1, 1914. (April Fools Day). He was the last of thirteen children. He was hard nosed at everything he did.
He excelled in football, basketball and track. He was one of the best running backs to play for Selinsgrove. During his three years of football, Selinsgrove
had its only undefeated seasons in history. Acclaimed by many people in town, Dick was the best pool shooter they had ever seen. Through all this toughness,
people said that he was a very gentle and kind person. My father-in-law knew Dick very well and he gave an example of his toughness. They were playing ice hockey
on the Susquehanna River and Dick skated off the ice into the icy water, picked himself out of the water and got back into the game. He never went home to change,
played in wet cloths without getting sick.
Dick married Bertha Burkey on January 31, 1937. They had four children with one passing away six months after birth. Ronald, Marsha and James survived. But on
January 5, 1943, his wife Bertha died, leaving him with the three small children. The four of us lived with Mom's parents until Grandma Burkey developed TB and
we had to leave. The family then lived with Dick's parents unit he left for service.
Dick received his draft notice February 19, 1944 and to everyone's surprise, he did not fight the induction notice. He was inducted into the U.S. Army at New
Cumberland, Pa and left Snyder County, March 27, 1944 for his basic training at Camp Blanding, Fla.
The children were put into the care of Dick's sister, Mable Forster, with instructions that in case anything would happen to him, the children would go to Moose
Heart, Fla. Mable went against his wishes, when his death was confirmed, and we were kept here in the area. We were raised by aunts and uncles.
After basic, Dick was sent to England on September 23, 1944 for training and then on to France with the 80th Inf. Div on October 18, 1944. He was part of a heavy
weapons platoon in Co. H, 2nd Bat., 317th Inf., and 80th Div. The 317th Reg. was involved in quite a number of engagements in France and when the Battle of the
Bulge started, the 317th was one of the first units to be turned north by General Patton. The 317th had the mission to liberate Luxembourg City and on to
Bourschied. It was at Bourschied his unit came in contact with a strong German force and on January 21, 1945 he and many of his unit was killed at the Sure River
Bridge. At first he was listed as MIA and later confirmed that he was KIA. So Dick's life was over but his memory still remains and people here still talk about
Dick, of course they are aging very fast.
One important item was that Dick wrote often to his family and of course, could not give any details, but he wanted everyone to know as much as possible and that
he was ok. I know the family was always excited to get a letter from Dick. His last letter was dated January 18th. I have all your letters and read them from time
to time. The family had the option to have his remains returned home but decided to let him rest with his fallen comrades. So today he rests in Luxembourg American
As his son, all I can do is admire his patriotic sense of duty. He could have fought the induction notice but instead went to do his duty. I was 2 years old when
he left for service and I have no memory of him. God Bless you Dad and all the others who paid the supreme price for the world's freedom. God Bless You Dad. I
hope to be able to see you and mom some day. Your loving son, Jim