Private Reynaldo S Cordova Name : Reynaldo S Cordova
Rank : Private
Regiment : 28th Infantry Regiment
Division : 8th Infantry Division
Entered Service from : New Mexico
Date of Birth : 15 April 1917
Official Date of Death : 14 December 1944
Place of Death : St-Vith (Germany)
In Henri-Chapelle : Plot A, Row 16, Grave 18
Awards : Purple Heart

Reynaldo Cordova's story ...
told by his son Anastacio and his granddaughter Tina,

Reynaldo S. Cordova was born in Sombrillo New Mexico which was a small settlement of ranchers and farmers between what is now Las Vegas and Pastura. His parents were Piedad Cordova and Placida Sisneros Cordova. He had 5 brothers and 3 sisters.


the area of Sombrillo, New Mexico

When he was a young man he left the family ranch/farm to join the Conservation Corp as did many men after the depression. It was then that he traveled to Tularosa, New Mexico where a large CC camp was located. The men worked on many projects most significantly building the railways, roadways and the power line transmission system. Reynaldo was an extremely likable man and had many friends. He played the guitar well and enjoyed music.

a Civilian Conservation Corps camp

The old timers in Tularosa have told stories of his boxing abilities and the fact that he was never beaten. Reynaldo was something of a legend with them because they all said that he was so strong of mind and body and they often wondered what he might have become if not for his untimely death.

Reynaldo Cordova a boxing legend in Tularosa

Reynaldo met and married Mabel Sanchez in Tularosa and they made a home for themselves there to be near her extended family. The couple welcomed four children Reynaldo Jr., Florinda, Anastacio, and Dianna before Reynaldo was drafted and left for Fort Hood, Texas where he would go through basic training. While on leave and before shipping out to Europe Reynaldo had one last visit with his young family. When he left neither he nor his wife Mabel knew that she was then pregnant with their fifth child Godfrey.

Fort Hood Medical Facility circa 1945

Reynaldo was a member of the US Army C Company, 28th Infantry Regiment and he landed with his fellow soldiers at Omaha beach in Normandy on July 4, 1944. His unit fought through France and on to Germany and took many German cities in their trek to the Hurtgen Forest.

His unit fought through France and on to Germany ...
they took many German cities in their trek to the Hurtgen Forest.

On the 8th of December the 13th Infantry took over the portion of the line occupied by Company F who went into another part of the line. This cut down the battalion front considerably. At the same time Anti-tank Company and Ammunition and Pioneer Platoon were put into the line with the 2nd Battalion. A task force consisting of the I&R Platoon, Cannon Company, AT Company, and the A & P Platoon, supported by tanks began driving on the enemy positions. Companies E and G were hitting the left flank and Company F came in from the right. At 0815 hours the task force was on the objective. A strong counterattack developed, but with the help of the tanks it was beaten off. One tank was knocked out but immediately replaced. At noon 21 cooks from the Battalion kitchens were brought up for a reserve. During the afternoon enemy planes again came over strafing and bombing. Over 50 prisoners were taken during the day.


the 8th Infantry Division in the Hürtgen Forest

By 0900 hours the next morning Companies E,F,and G, had tied in with the Task Force. The rest of the morning was spent in reorganizing and consolidating positions. In the meantime another Task Force had jumped off and made good progress. At 1530 hours the task force reported that they were just about surrounded by Germans and a counterattack developed. One platoon from Company E was cut off and captured. The attack was finally repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides. On December 10, 1944, it was still the same story, attack, counterattack, and heavy casualties before the objectives were reached and the flanks tied in.


the 8th Infantry Division in the Hürtgen Forest

December 11,1944, an advance party of the 311th Infantry arrived to look over the positions, an order came down that the 2nd Battalion would be relieved by elements of the 311th Infantry on December 13. During the period from November 18, 1944, to the 13th of December, 1944, the 2nd Battalion had over 500 casualties, or about 60 per cent of the Battalion. Officer casualties were proportionately heavier, amounting to almost 75 per cent.

snow in the Hürtgen Forest

On December 15, 1944, the 2nd Battalion was sent back into the line to relieve the 1st battalion. Their main mission being to assist the 13th Infantry in taking their objectives. By 24 December this had been accomplished and except for patrols and digging in a Regimental Reserve line very little was done. On February 8, a journal entry states, "Thus ended the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest-Probably the most contested spot in Germany.

Camouflaged anti-tank gun of the 8th Infantry Division

It was in the fierce fighting that took place in the Hurtgen Forest that Reynaldo was initially reported as missing in action. He was later declared dead and buried in what is now known as Henri Chapelle Cemetery in Belgium. Reynaldo was never to return to his beloved wife and children or his beloved home in New Mexico.


Fighting in the Hürtgen Forest ... Hell on earth

Mabel never remarried and raised her 5 children alone with the assistance afforded military widows by the US government. Reynaldo's memory has been honored by his family for many generations and he along with his sacrifice will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

The flag of New Mexico

Reynaldo's middle son Anastacio Cordova has told the story to his children of what he remembers of his father. He was three when his father was killed. The story is of Reynaldo coming home to visit his family before shipping out. He gathered up his three oldest children Anastacio being the youngest of the three and taking them on a trip by bus to see his extended family.

Reynaldo's son Anastacio & granddaughter Tina
Anastacio holding his father's photo, on his chest his father's medals
on the left: the Secretary of Veterans affairs in New Mexico

Anastacio remembers that his dad held him in his arms for most of the trip because there were not enough seats for everyone. Reynaldo was in his military uniform and Anastacio remembers touching his father's medals. Anastacio remembers that his father was happy and that is the memory that has been with him all his life. Receiving Reynaldo's medals will be his son Anastacio Cordova accompanied by his wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Reynaldo's son Anastacio and his family
after receiving Reynaldo's awards
Anastacio in the middle, Tina on the left

These days my father Private Reynaldo S Cordova rests in the beautiful American Military Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle. He is remembered and honored by me, his granddaughter Tina, by his surving siblings and by his entire family. Reynaldo is also remembered and honored by every visitor of the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle and by every visitor of this website.

Private Reynaldo S Cordova's final resting place

On March 9, 2008 the tragic news reached us that Tina's beloved nephew Stephen Bennett had passed away on January 3rd, 2008. Stephen was found unconscious by his girlfriend and never regained consciousness again. As his aunt Tina states: "It has been the absolute hardest thing we have ever had to face. My entire family has been devastated. No one should ever have to give up a child. Stephen was a beautiful person inside and out. I know he is in heaven now with my Grandfather and that we will all be together again but what a void we are left with."

Stephen Bennet in the middle ...
on his left his mother Tammy Landrum and on his right
his girlfriend Paula Budd

Special thanks to Reynaldo's son Anastacio
and his granddaughter Tina Cordova.

published February 21, 2008
update March 9, 2008