Tec 5 Russ Eick and the other members of an M-16 half-track
crew from Battery C, 486th AAA Bn, gave the Spearhead Division
another "'first" in its assault on the Third Reich.
On September 18th, 1944, a small flight of enemy planes attacked
the 67th Armored Field Artillery positions southeast of Brand,
Germany. Eick, as the main gunner, was ready, and, as one plane
broke through the clouds, he made some last-second adjustments
with his quad-.50's turret and opened fire.
Eick's aim proved dead on, as smoke instantly began pouring
from the engine of the FW-190 fighter-bomber. The plane took
a sharp dive into a nearby field and crashed and burned, killing
the pilot. War had come home to the Luftwaffe. The First United
States Army awarded Battery C credit for (of all Allied units
in Europe) shooting down the first German plane with guns emplaced
on German soil. The crew consisted of crew leader Cpl. Stanley
J. Zyza, Pfc. Stephen J. Spirounias, Tec 5 Russell A. Eick, Pfc.
Marcus C. Palombi, and Tec 5 Donald M. Dean.