SN1 William Bruesewitz

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(Originally posted 06 December 2018) Navy Seaman 1st Class William Bruesewitz, killed at the Pearl Harbor attack, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 7 on the 77th anniversary of the incident.

Bruesewitz, 26, of Appleton, Wisconsin, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma (BB 37) moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft Dec. 7, 1941. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced in November that Bruesewitz was accounted for March 19 this year and his remains were being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Greg Slavonic who will be at the interment ceremony said he is honored to attend the ceremony for Bruesewitz.

“As battleship USS Oklahoma, which on December 7, 1941 sustained multiple torpedo hits and capsized quickly, Petty Officer 1st Class Bruesewitz and other sailors were trapped below decks. He was one of the 429 Sailors who were killed that fateful day,” Slavonic said.

“Breuesewitz and his shipmates are remembered at the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island which was dedicated in their honor December 7, 2007. Sailors like Bruesewitz who represent the ‘Greatest Generation’ gave so much and asked so little but when the time came to serve their Navy and nation, they answered the call.”

After Bruesewitz was killed in the attack, his remains were recovered from the ship, but they could not be identified following the incident. He was initially buried as an unknown at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Forensic developments, like DNA analysis, allowed reexamination and eventual identification of his remains. Bruesewitz is the 118th crew member to be identified by the DPAA’s USS Oklahoma project. There were 388 personnel unaccounted for from the ship and 187 Sailors have been identified so far.

Renate Starck, one of Bruesewitz’s nieces, told us from Maryland that after Bruesewitz was identified and interment plans have started, the family requested that it be Dec. 7.

“Because we’ve been aware of loss of our uncle. Since he died, the family remembered him on this day. This is also easy for the young ones to remember. It gives us peace and forgiveness for his loss,” she said during a phone interview.

About 60 people, most of whom are family members and some close friends, will be attending the funeral ceremony at the Arlington National Ceremony which will begin at the administration building at 1 p.m.

A funeral service for him will be held earlier in the day starting at 7:50 a.m. at Salem Lutheran Church, Catonsville, Maryland, after which a procession to Arlington will take place. The Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore, dedicated their Dec. 1 and 2 performances of W. A. Mozart’s Requiem to Bruesewitz.

Explaining the historical process, a DPAA statement says that from December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew, which were subsequently interred in the Halawa and Nu’uanu Cemeteries. In September 1947, tasked with recovering and identifying fallen U.S. personnel in the Pacific Theater, members of the American Graves Registration Service (AGRS) disinterred the remains of U.S. casualties from the two cemeteries and transferred them to the Central Identification Laboratory at Schofield Barracks. The laboratory staff was only able to confirm the identifications of 35 men from the USS Oklahoma at that time. The AGRS subsequently buried the unidentified remains in 46 plots at the National Memorial Cemetery, known as the Punchbowl, in Honolulu. In October 1949, a military board classified those who could not be identified as non-recoverable, including Bruesewitz.

In April 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense issued a policy memorandum directing the disinterment of unknowns associated with USS Oklahoma. On June 15, 2015, DPAA personnel began exhuming the remains from the Punchbowl for analysis. To identify Bruesewitz’s remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, anthropological and dental analysis, along with circumstantial evidence.

USS Oklahoma crew members have been honored Dec. 7 each year with a ceremony held on Ford Island at the USS Oklahoma Memorial to include, post of the colors, principle speaker, honoring those who served on the USS Oklahoma, 21-gun salute and taps. Leis are placed on some white standards in honor of each crew member where a picture is placed on a standard when they are identified.

Additionally, there is a USS Oklahoma Memorial in Oklahoma, which has a listing of the crew members lost, near the Oklahoma Capitol honoring 429 Sailors who were killed on USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack.

We honor you, William Bruesewitz.

(#Repost @Navy.mil)

SSgt Marvin E Culbreth

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Marvin served as a Staff Sergeant, 13th Bomber Squadron, 3rd Bomber Group, Light, U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. He resided in Georgia prior to the war.

Marvin was a passenger on B-25D #41-30532. This B-25, while on a ferrying flight from Horanda Airfield to the 7-Mile Drome near Port Moresby, ran into severe weather and radioed that they were returning but they were not heard from again during the war.

The B-25 was first located in 1961 and in 2001 the remains of the crew were discovered. They had crashed into Mount Kenevi. Marvin was first declared “Missing In Action” and his status was changed to “Killed In Action” when the plane was later found.

We honor you, Marvin Culbreth.

(#Repost @Find A Grave. Picture @13th Bomb Squadron)

CPT Dovey Johnson Roundtree

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Today we want to honor Dovey Johnson Roundtree, a trailblazing lawyer, minister, advocate and inaugural member of the WAAC. She broke barriers, reaching the rank of Captain and recruited so many black women she helped set the groundwork for desegregation in the military. She used the GI Bill to attend Howard Law School, and in 1955 she won a landmark case to end segregation in the bus system!

We honor you, Dovey Roundtree.

(#Repost @Women in Military Service for America)

 

PhM2c Leonide Benoit “Lee” Soucy

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I had just had breakfast and was looking out a porthole in sick bay when someone said, “What the hell are all those planes doing up there on a Sunday? ” Someone else said, “It must be those crazy Marines. They’d be the only ones out maneuvering on a Sunday.” When I looked up in the sky I saw five or six planes starting their descent. Then when the first bombs dropped on the hangers at Ford Island, I thought, “Those guys are missing us by a mile.” Inasmuch as practice bombing was a daily occurrence to us, it was not too unusual for planes to drop bombs, but the time and place were quite out of line. We could not imagine bombing practice in port. It occurred to me and to most of the others that someone had really goofed this time and put live bombs on those planes by mistake.

In any event, even after I saw a huge fireball and cloud of black smoke rise from the hangers on Ford Island and heard explosions, it did not occur to me that these were enemy planes. It was too incredible! Simply beyond imagination! “What a SNAFU,” I moaned.

As I watched the explosions on Ford Island in amazement and disbelief, I felt the ship lurch. We didn’t know it then, but we were being bombed and torpedoed by planes approaching from the opposite (port) side.

The bugler and bosun’s mate were on the fantail ready to raise the colors at 8 o’clock. In a matter of seconds, the bugler sounded “General Quarters.” I grabbed my first aid bag and headed for my battle station amidship.

A number of the ship’s tremors are vaguely imprinted in my mind, but I remember one jolt quite vividly. As I was running down the passageway toward my battle station, another torpedo or bomb hit and shook the ship severely. I was knocked off balance and through the log room door. I got up a little dazed and immediately darted down the ladder below the armored deck. I forgot my first aid kit.

By then the ship was already listing. There were a few men down below who looked dumbfounded and wondered out loud, “What’s going on?” I felt around my shoulder in great alarm. No first aid kit! Being out of uniform is one thing, but being at a battle station without proper equipment is more than embarrassing.

After a minute or two below the armored deck, we heard another bugle call, then the bosun’s whistle followed by the boatswain’s chant, “Abandon ship…Abandon ship.”

We scampered up the ladder. As I raced toward the open side of the deck, an officer stood by a stack of life preservers and tossed the jackets at us as we ran by. When I reached the open deck, the ship was listing precipitously. I thought about the huge amount of ammunition we had on board and that it would surely blow up soon. I wanted to get away from the ship fast, so I discarded my life jacket. I didn’t want a Mae West slowing me down.

Another thing that jolted my memory was how rough the beach on Ford Island was. The day previous, I had been part of a fire and rescue party dispatched to fight a small fire on Ford Island. The fire was out by the time we got there but I remember distinctly the rugged beach, so I tied double knots in my shoes whereas just about everyone else kicked their’s off.

I was tensely poised for a running dive off the partially exposed hull when the ship lunged again and threw me off balance. I ended up with my bottom sliding across and down the barnacle encrusted bottom of the ship.

When the ship had jolted, I thought we had been hit by another bomb or torpedo, but later it was determined that the mooring lines snapped which caused the 21,000-ton ship to jerk so violently as she keeled over.

Nevertheless, after I bobbed up to the surface of the water to get my bearings, I spotted a motor launch with a coxswain fishing men out of the water with his boot hook. I started to swim toward the launch. After a few strokes, a hail of bullets hit the water a few feet in front of me in line with the launch. As the strafer banked, I noticed the big red insignias on his wing tips. Until then, I really had not known who attacked us. At some point, I had heard someone shout, “Where did those Germans come from?” I quickly decided that a boat full of men would be a more likely strafing target than a lone swimmer, so I changed course and hightailed it for Ford Island.

I reached the beach exhausted and as I tried to catch my breath, another pharmacist’s mate, Gordon Sumner, from the Utah, stumbled out of the water. I remember how elated I was to see him. There is no doubt in my mind that bewilderment, if not misery, loves company. I remember I felt guilty that I had not made any effort to recover my first aid kit. Sumner had his wrapped around his shoulders.

While we both tried to get our wind back, a jeep came speeding by and came to a screeching halt. One of the two officers in the vehicle had spotted our Red Cross brassards and hailed us aboard. They took us to a two- or three-story concrete BOQ (bachelor officer’s quarters) facing Battleship Row to set up an emergency treatment station for several oil-covered casualties strewn across the concrete floor. Most of them were from the capsized or flaming battleships. It did not take long to exhaust the supplies in Sumner’s bag.

A line officer came by to inquire how we were getting along. We told him that we had run out of everything and were in urgent need of bandages and some kind of solvent or alcohol to cleanse wounds. He ordered some one to strip the beds and make rolls of bandages with the sheets. Then he turned to us and said, “Alcohol? Alcohol?,” he repeated. “Will whiskey do?”

Before we could mull it over, he took off and in a few minutes he returned and plunked a case of scotch at our feet. Another person who accompanied him had an armful of bottles of a variety of liquors. I am sure denatured alcohol could not have served our purpose better for washing off the sticky oil, as well as providing some antiseptic effect for a variety of wounds and burns.

Despite the confusion, pain, and suffering, there was some gusty humor amidst the pathos and chaos. At one point, an exhausted swimmer, covered with a gooey film of black oil, saw me walking around with a washcloth in one hand and a bottle of booze in the other. He hollered, “Hey Doc, could I have a shot of that medicine?” I handed him the bottle of whichever medicine I had at the time. He took a hefty swig. He had no sooner swallowed the “medicine” then he spewed it out along with black mucoidal globs of oil. He lay back a minute after he stopped vomiting, then said, “Doc, I lost that medicine. How about another dose?”

Perhaps my internal as well as external application of booze was not accepted medical practice, but it sure made me popular with the old salts. Actually, it probably was a good medical procedure if it induced vomiting. Retaining contaminated water and oil in one’s stomach was not good for one’s health.

I remember another incident. A low flying enemy pilot was strafing toward our concrete haven while I was on my knees trying to determine what to do for a prostrate casualty. Although the sailor, or marine, was in bad shape, he raised his head feebly when he saw the plane approach and shouted, “Open the doors and let the sonafabitch in.”

Events which occurred in seconds take minutes to recount. During the lull, regular medical personnel from Ford Island Dispensary arrived with proper supplies and equipment and released Sumner and me so we could rejoin other Utah survivors for reassignment.

When the supplies ran out at our first aid station, I suggested to Sumner that he volunteer to go to the Naval Dispensary for some more. When he returned, he mentioned that he had a close call. A bomb landed in the patio while he was at the dispensary. He didn’t mention any injury so I shrugged it off. After all, under the circumstances, what was one bomb more or less. That afternoon, while we were both walking along a lanai (screened porch) at the dispensary, he pointed to a crater in the patio. “That’s where the bomb hit I told you about.” “Where were you?”, I asked. He pointed to a spot not far away. I said, “Come on, if you had been that close, you’d have been killed.” To which he replied, “Oh, it didn’t go off. I fled the area in a hurry.”

Sometime after dark, a squadron of scout planes from the carrier Enterprise (two hundred or so miles out at sea), their fuel nearly depleted, came in for a landing on Ford Island. All hell broke loose and the sky lit up from tracer bullets from numerous antiaircraft guns. As the Enterprise planes approached some understandably trigger-happy gunners opened fire; then all gunners followed suit and shot down all but one of our planes. At least, that’s what I was told. Earlier that evening, many of the Utahsurvivors had been taken to the USS Argonne (AP-4), a transport. Gunners manning .50 caliber machine guns on the partially submerged USS California directly across from the Argonne hit the ship while shooting at the planes. A stray, armor-piercing bullet penetrated Argonne’s thin bulkhead, went through a Utah survivor’s arm, and spent itself in another sailor’s heart. He died instantly.

The name Price has been stored in my memory bank for a long time as this fatality but, at a recent reunion of Utah survivors, another ex-shipmate, Gilbert Meyer, insisted that Price was not the one killed. I didn’t argue too long because I recalled meeting two men at the Pearl Harbor Naval Hospital several weeks after the raid who walked around with their own obituaries in their wallets–clippings from hometown newspapers.

We honor you, Lee Soucy.

(#Repost @Naval History and Heritage Command. Photo @National Museum of the Pacific War)

Brig Gen Harold Huston George

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World War I fighter ace, for whom George Air Force Base, Victorville, Calif., is named. He was born in 1892 in Lockport, N.Y., and was killed in action April 29, 1942 near Darwin, Australia.

Harold George graduated from high school at Niagara Falls, N.Y., and enlisted in the New York National Guard’s 3d Infantry in 1916. In mid-1917 he completed flying training on the Curtiss biplane at Mineola, N.Y., and was commissioned a first lieutenant in the Signal Corps’ Aviation Section. He went to Kelly Field, Texas, for additional training before going to Tours, France, as commanding officer of the 201st Aero Squadron in October 1917.

For six months he instructed other pilots at the training center at Issoudun. He then took pursuit pilot and gunnery courses himself and went into combat in August 1918 with the 185th Aero Squadron, and later duty with the 139th. In the two months remaining of World War I, George scored five victories over German planes in the air to qualify as an ace. On Oct. 27, 1918, near Bantheville, France, he struck a formation of four enemy Fokkers, destroying two and driving the other two away. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for this heroism in action.

After the war he returned to the United States for duty at Langley Field, Va. In November 1919 he became flight commander and commanding officer of the 19th Pursuit Squadron at March Field, Calif., serving until March 1922. He went to Fort Douglas, Utah, for three years as air officer of the 104th Division. He was transferred to Kelly Field, Texas, in March 1925 and taught flying for two years, becoming commanding officer of the 43d School Squadron there in October 1929. He next went to Panama for two years, as operations officer and commanding officer of the 24th and 7th squadrons, respectively. He returned to Langley Field in January 1932 for four years as commanding officer of the 8th Pursuit Group and intelligence and operations officer of the 33d Squadron.

In 1937 and 1938 he graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., and the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. His next assignment was to Selfridge Field, Mich.; then he commanded an aircraft-ferrying flight to Panama via Mexico and Central America, exactly 20 years after he had flown a DeHaviland plane to the Pacific Coast and return to New York in an early-day transcontinental reliability test flight.

In May 1941, with promotion to brigadier general, he went to the Philippines to command all air units as a member of General MacArthur’s staff. He directed the air operations in defense of the fortified islands at the entrance of Manila Bay, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal from MacArthur. General George went to Australia with MacArthur and lost his life in an airplane accident near Darwin on April 29, 1942. The base at Victorville, Calif., was named for him in June 1950.

We honor you, Harold George.

(#Repost @US Air Force. Photo @George AFB)

CPL Earl Boyce Clark

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Mrs. Boyce Clark clasped her husband’s right hand this morning, pressing the wedding ring he first wore 16 months ago. 15 months before he lost his left hand fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea.

“I’m doing fine,” the blond, 21-year-old marine corporal told her, “I can see and I can walk, and that’s more than a lot of guys who got it can do.”

“We’re both doing fine,” Mrs. Clark said, exuding sheer, simple happiness with every word, “We just couldn’t do any better.”

Their expressions left no doubts that this was the case.

The corporal arrived this morning at Seattle-Tacoma Airport to begin a 30-day leave from Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, Calif.

Corporal Clark, leader of a rifle team, saw five others in his unit wounded in the same action which cost him his hand. The outfit was hit hard by Communist mortar fire near the IIwachon Reservoir June 2. The wounded men were members of the 2n Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Three days after he was hit, Clark was aboard the Haven, a hospital ship.

“The medics told me my hand was gone,” he recalled, “I can’t tell how I felt, but they seemed to feel so bad about it that it seemed to make it easier.

“They were wonderful to me on that ship, and at Tripler Hospital in Hawaii, and at Oak Knoll. All along the line, people have wanted to do things for me.”

After his leave, the marine will return to Oak Knoll to begin a long course of rehabilitation.

“People ought to see what goes on down there,” Clark said, “Boys arrive in pretty rough shape, and pretty low in their minds. Well, those medics have all the patience in the world, and they keep pegging away until the guys decide getting well might pay off.”

Clark was graduated from O’Dea High School and attended Seattle University before he was called to active duty in September. The corporal’s mother, Mrs. Ruth Clark and his sister, Mrs. Fred Dennis, joined in the simple homecoming today. The tension of separation and the events of the past ten months rapidly dissolved in the reunion of a close-knit family.

Everybody agreed with the corporal, that he was doing “just fine.”

We honor you, Earl Clark.

(#Repost @National Purple Heart Hall of Honor)

William E. D’Huyvetters

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William E. D’Huyvetters’ family moved to Easton from Fair Lawn, N.J., when he was about 7.  After graduating from Easton High School in 1942, he worked at his father’s tannery until the following spring.

Uncle Sam said he needed me. I was drafted into the Army and had basic training at Camp Croft, S.C., along with Henry Kissinger, the future Secretary of State for Nixon. We called him Henny. He was a heck of a nice guy, a smart cookie.  He wasn’t in my company, but sure, I talked to him.

I had a good six months of infantry training there. Then I shipped out from Boston in November 1943 on a big freight ship, the USS Explorer, one of the old-timers that was all riveted together. We got halfway across the Atlantic and she broke down. There were German submarines in the area. The rest of the convoy went on, but they left two destroyers circling our ship, shooting off these depth charges, trying to break the submarines apart. We were stuck for two or three days until they got the engine fixed.

In Bristol, England, we took infantry training for the invasion. I was 19 years old, a private first class with the 282nd Port Company [attached to the 5th Engineer Special Brigade]. Our job, after we got settled on the beach, was to unload the food, ammunition, gas and medical supplies that came over on these ships. Whatever the troops needed, we were the ones to supply it to them.

They told us we were going across the English Channel to land in Normandy. Where, how and when, we didn’t know.

Right before the invasion, I met Churchill. We were lined up to get on a ship, a coaster, to take us across the channel, and he was standing at the gate. He shook everybody’s hand that was going on that ship.

“Keep up what you’re doing and do a good job,” he said. “God bless.”

He was a big guy with a big belly and a black suit and a hat and a big cigar. He shook my hand and looked me right in the eye.

We were just getting started across when we went back, because that channel was so rough Eisenhower called it off for a day. The coaster took us back to port, and the next day we went back out.

There were two full companies on our ship, about 300 men, all young GIs. The waters were very rough. We stood there on the deck. I could see guys playing craps. I could see guys looking up at the sky. I looked down at the water and prayed: God, look over me and help me. I was very, very, very scared.

Early on the morning of June 6, it was hazy. There was a lot of ships, oh geez! They were all over. I’m surprised they didn’t bump into each other. We could see the shore, Omaha Beach, but it was quite a long distance away. The Germans were all in concrete bunkers and they were firing their guns like crazy. Oh, it was loud! We climbed down the netting. We had 80-pound packs on our backs and carried M1 rifles. I dropped 2 or 3 feet to the landing craft. It was bouncing up and down. I didn’t get seasick, but quite a few guys did.

I felt trapped in that boat. I wanted out. Shells were hitting near us and on the shore. I saw planes getting shot down and pilots bailing out over the channel. I was thinking: When they drop the ramp, what are we going to run into? I was so darn scared I was shaking like a leaf.

The guy piloting the landing craft got as close to the beach as he could. I was up by the ramp when it went down. Let’s get the hell out of here! Bullets were flying all over. You had to get off and keep moving, because if you didn’t, you were a dead duck.

We jumped into about 2 feet of water. You could hear bullets hitting and whizzing past you. I knew I couldn’t stand still. Keep moving! Guys were getting hit. I hid behind obstacles the Germans put in the water. One guy got shot, he couldn’t swim, he was lying in the water. I got his head above the water and tried to see where he was shot and if I could do anything for him. I couldn’t. I pulled him in the best I could, so he was on the beach. He died.

I had to keep moving or I’d be killed myself.

On the beach, I tried to help two or three others — they were moaning — but it was taking too much time. You had to stand there to do it, and you couldn’t stand still, because if you did you were surely going to be shot. I could hear the bullets hitting here, hitting there. I saw some of the guys falling.

There was nowhere to hide. Some guys right next to me, a few feet away, got hit and went down. What could you do? What could you do? I prayed, I prayed, I prayed. What’s going to happen if I get shot?

A few times I looked back and saw those big ships fire shells, boy oh boy! When those guns went off, you’d think the whole ship was going to explode. Wow, smoke and noise, unbelievable!

We didn’t run up the beach but we moved pretty rapidly. I yelled as loud as I could: Keep moving, buddies! We got to a place where we could form a company, far enough up the beach that they couldn’t be firing at us as rapidly as they did before, at the base of the bluff. They told us all to dig a foxhole as quick as we could. It’s not as easy as it sounds — stones, rocks. We just had to go deep enough that we could lay our bodies in. That didn’t happen until the afternoon.

We stayed on Omaha Beach four or five days, then we moved inland. Supplies came over on big ships, and these big cranes with nets dropped them in Ducks [amphibious transports]. And then these Ducks would take them in to shore, and after they got to shore it was our responsibility to get the supplies to the troops. But we didn’t do that on the first day.

On June 6, we were just trying to get ashore and stay alive.

Later on, one of the officers came up to me in a Duck and he had a blanket over some men. He pulled the blanket off and he said, “Bill, can you identify them?” They were all men from my company, all dead, three of them lying in a row. I knew them.

I knew them when they were vigorous and healthy.

Epilogue

The war took D’Huyvetters (pronounced DYE-vetters) through northern France to Belgium and Germany. In Antwerp, he dodged German V-1 rockets, the buzz bombs. Near Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, he endured bitter cold. Around Aachen, his unit took over German homes for several days.

“A Russian woman in her 30s would come with a little child — a girl no more than 4 years old — and go through our garbage can to get food to eat. They would take our scraps. That hit me hard, so I gave her half of my meals. She came to me one day and said, ‘You have been so good to me, I want to give you something to remember me by.’ She gave me a little silver cup. I still have it. She said her mother was a waitress for Stalin, and it was on his table, and when they cleaned up, she brought it home with her.”

His mother wrote to him every day he was overseas. He still has all of her letters and every card or letter anyone else sent him, totaling several hundred.

After occupation duty in Germany, he came home on a Liberty ship and was discharged Dec. 1, 1945, as a technician fourth grade. He took a bus from Fort Indiantown Gap to Easton, arriving about 7:30 p.m.

“My father picked me up at the bus station, down on Northampton Street near the Hotel Easton. He put his arms around me. ‘My boy, my boy,’ he said, ‘I never thought I’d see you again.’ Mom was home making lamb chops. She knew that was my favorite. They had a big banner on the porch of our house on Line Street in south Easton. WELCOME HOME, BILL. Mom was in the kitchen. ‘Come here, son,’ she said, and started crying. She hugged me.”

His brother, Gus, 10 years older, was “out West.”  He served in the Army Air Forces stateside.

A girl D’Huyvetters met while training at Camp Croft, near Spartanburg, S.C., and who had written to him while he was overseas, wanted to marry him. Her name was Helena. She asked him to return to Spartanburg, where her family had a dairy farm. Her father would teach him the business and it would be theirs.

“I said, ‘Gee, that’s an awful big move to make. I want to be with my family for a while.’ ”

He ended up not going south. Instead, on Sept. 25, 1947, he married Geraldine Voorhees, a next-door neighbor. His father helped him build a house on Park Road in Palmer Township. It was the couple’s home for 50 years.

D’Huyvetters worked for 35 years at Victor Balata Belting Co. in Wilson.

Geraldine suffered from Alzheimer’s and died in her husband’s arms in 2010 at age 78. A son, Brent, lives in Georgia, and a daughter, Elaine Young, is in Palmer. D’Huyvetters has four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

He stayed in touch with Helena, who was twice widowed. When she asked him to visit her, he declined.

“I thought it would bring back too many memories,” he said.

He remains in touch with her family.

For his role in the Normandy invasion, he received France’s Medal of the Jubilee of Liberty in 2004 from then-U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey. In 2012, D’Huyvetters’ granddaughter, Jenna Young, produced a YouTube video in his honor titled “Embodiment of an American.”

“June 6, 1944, is a day I’ll never forget,” said D’Huyvetters, who is 90 and lives in Moravian Hall Square in Nazareth. “Occasionally I have bad dreams and they wake me up. I think about all the terrible things that happened and the guys that died. They’re buried over there. They gave their lives for our freedom today.

“I’m blessed that I’m not there with them.”

We honor you, William D;Huyvetters.

(#Repost @https://www.mcall.com/news/local/warstories/mc-dday-war-story-dhuyvetters-20150605-story.html)