Sgt. Russell Dysert fought with the 441st Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, attached to the 45th “Thunderbirds” Division and, later, the 3rd Infantry Division. His unit provided antiaircraft support for the 10th Field Artillery. He fought in Africa, Sicily, southern Italy and all the way up to Rome – working in supply, and driving the mail truck or jeep.
In May 1945, he was among the first to reach Hitler’s Berghof, high in the mountains. Although Dysert wasn’t an officer, he was allowed to join the first troops into the complex because he owned a jeep, and gave the officers rides. While there, he removed many items, including silver frames, pistols, a shotgun, silverware – plus the items shown here. These include AH marked Wellner salt and pepper shakers and a bottle of Moet Champagne from Hitler’s personal supply.
Dysert was also present when Hitler’s flag was torn down by 3rd Division troops. The flag was then cut up into pieces, and divided among the officers present. The flag piece is also shown below and reads “Piece of Hitler’s flag, May 4 1945. Sgt. Russell Dysert.”