Newark's Own Ernie Pyle in World War II: Warren H. Kennet of the Newark News

by Nat Bodian

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Newark had no regiment in World War II. The closest thing was Newark's Essex Troop (the 102nd Cavalry Group).

The Newark Evening News military affairs writer, Warren H. (Harry) Kennet was assigned for war duty by his paper with the 102nd.

Kennet's Travels in the War

This is Kennet's story of his travels to and through Europe during World War II for the Newark Evening News.

Kennet had asked Colonel Donald W. McGowan, Essex Troop Commander and Deputy Adjutant General of New Jersey, for permission to travel with his troop as the troop's war correspondent.

The Colonel had told Kennet that he favored his suggestion, but that he could not move on it until he had cleared it with his hierarchy.

By the time the approval came through channels to Colonel McGowan in September 1942, the troop ship had already sailed for England.

McGowan had anticipated that it would be weeks or even longer before he would see the Newark Evening News reporter again.

But it happened much sooner, as I will explain.

Newsman as Stow-Away

With inside help from a few friendly Troopers, Kennet had boarded the departing troop ship and had "stowed away".

The Colonel, it was later reported, was beside himself with anger. He had feared that his superiors would find out about Kennet and accuse the Colonel of flaunting orders.

Kennet arrived with the Essex Troopers in England in October 1942. He filed regular reports to the Newark News as the Troop grew to full strength through the addition of draftees and other replacements.

First Real Action for Troop

The troops trained constantly, but their first real action would be delayed until June 6, 1944. On that date -- "D-Day" -- they spearheaded the invasion of Southern France by courageously storming ashore at Omaha Beach in Normandy1.

On June 8, 1944, Kennet reported that two days after the landing of the 102nd Regiment, Troops A, B, and C had established their first Command POst on Omaha Beach near the outskirts of Colleville-Sur-Mere.

On June 9, 1944 -- D-Day plus 3 -- the Essex Troopers captured their first German vehicle, a German Scout car, near the landing site. They presented the vehicle to Kennet, later lettering the front bumper with the "Newark Evening News" logo in English script (photo above).

Kennet Makes History

Kennet accompanied the 102nd from its D-Day landings on Omaha Beach in Southern France2 on their triumphant campaign to Germany and made history while doing it.

The car he drove became the first German vehicle captured in Normandy after the landings to be driven back to Germany by an American.

Kennet, embedded with the Essex Troop cavalrymen -- now riding in tanks instead of on horses -- rolled into France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Kennet's vehicle was the German scout car.



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