2nd Lieutenant, Alfred Walter Peshel O-553274
2nd Lieutenant, Alfred Walter Perchel 0-553274 (Enlisted service number 19133624) US Army KIA. He was born on February 11, 1923, in Canada. He was the son of Charles O. Perchel, and Martha Perchel. He was also the Brother of George Perchel (1914 – 1974) and Violet Perchel of 727 Fruitvale Ave Oakland, California. His father was Jewish and his mother was Christian they were from Elsterwerda Germany. The family immigrated for the 2nd time in 1926 this time to the United States. Alfred graduated from Oakland High School in 1941. He then went to University of Berkeley California and served in the ROTC. He entered the US Army on December 11, 1942 at the age of 19. He trained at Camp Van Dorn Mississippi. While at Camp Van Dorn he met and was engaged to a young lady from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Lt. Castleberry did not remember her name 65 years latter but he did remember having to be the person to inform her that Perchel was Killed in Action.) Perchel served as the Platoon Leader of Third Platoon, Company F, 253rdInfantry Regiment, 63rdInfantry Division. Because he came from a German speaking home he would often take night patrols. T/5 Robert Bane said that he only did one night patrol with Lt. Perchel and, “it was the most terrifying thing, Lt. Perchel would get close to German soldiers call them over then kill them with his bayonet.” Other men have talked about another night when the company had orders to take a hill. Lt. Perchel led all of F Company up the hill every time they would hear something he would stop the company call to the German soldiers to come over then kill them with his bayonet, because of this the company was able to have the high ground before morning and they were able to open up on the Germans before they realized that the Americans were now behind them.
On April 6, 1945 in the town of Buchhof Germany, Peshel took command of F Company after Lieutenant Frank Schaafsma was wounded. He had been the unofficial company commander for two hours and forty-five minutes. 2nd Battalion HQ Company had entered Buchhof Germany and were setting up their command post. Lt. Peshel were preparing his men for an attack on the town of Stein Am Kocher that was going to start at 1600 hours. At around 1545 hours, Lieutenant Alfred Peshel was jumping from foxhole to foxhole checking on his men. He jumped in to PFC Herman Fabiani’s foxhole and casually said “Hey Fab!” He then was asking Fabiani how he was doing with supplies such as ammo and water. Peshel then jumped out of Fabiani’s foxhole and was running to “the next foxhole when a sniper shot Peshel in-between the eyes.” Immediately after the sniper killed Peshel, the enemy launched another counter attack – this time with up to 250 men and several tanks, supported by artillery, rocket, and mortar fire. Command of the Company then went to Lieutenant Richard Holmes who was now the only officer in the company. The Company fought in close quarter combat until dusk when the 17th SS was forced to withdraw. The Germans moved their forces to the next town and began to set up defenses of the town of Stein-am-Kocher for the next American attack. Companies F, Company B, and G Company withdrew to the high ground, northwest of the town.
He was awarded the Bronze Stare Medal with a V and an oak leaf clusters , Purple Heart Medal, The American Theater of operations Medal, The European African Middle Eastern Theater of operations Medal with two battle stars the World War Two Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
Lieutenant Perchel is the most controversial man who served in F Company. All of the men that I have met that served with him respect him greatly. He would on multiple occasions kill German POWs. He had a hatred for the SS that was unmatched by any other man in the company. The reason that he told the officers and enlisted men for this hatred was because “his brothers had been killed by the Germans.” This reason has been proven to be a lie. According to the 1930 and the 1940 US census Alfred Peshel only had one brother according to California death records this brother died three decades after the war. To raise more questions about this Alfred Peshel has a National Jewish Welfare Board Death card but all of his enlistment records and death records say that he was is Christian. I believe that when he told the men of F company that the Germans killed his brother he was talking about his Jewish brethren or maybe a good friend from school.
Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957
the 1930 United States Federal Census
the 1940 United States Federal Census
1941 Oakland High School Yearbook
National Jewish Welfare Board Death card
December 10 1933 Oakland Tribune