Harlan H. Henry
Harlan H. Henry
I turned 18 years old in May of 1944 and received orders to report to Fort Leavenworth in July. I was there for about a week, and then sent to Fort Hood, Texas. That was supposed to be a four-month training session, but it was cut back to three months because they needed more bodies to fight in Europe. In December of 1944, I was sent on the Queen Elizabeth overseas to Europe and I entered the fighting in the retaking of the Battle of the Bulge. I entered the battle as a machine gunner in the infantry squad, and then volunteered to transfer to the tank battalion. Tankers needed replacements as they were being killed, so they were taking from the infantry battalions. I was getting tired of digging a foxhole every night to try to sleep in. It was freezing cold. All of that made the tank sound pretty good to me, so I volunteered to be a gunman on the tank. Soon I became a tank driver. The tank wasn't much better than being in the infantry. There was no heat in the tanks. I did battle from the tanks from January 1945 until the war ended. We fought for thirty-some little towns that had to be taken back, and we pushed the Germans back across the Rhine River until they surrendered. I was hit and wounded on March 15 by shrapnel while refueling the tank. I was sent to the first aid station where they patched me up and sent me back out to work. I was awarded the Purple Heart for that injury. It was a terrible war. Every day you'd wake up and think this will probably be your last. Some of us were just lucky. After the war, I enjoyed a successful career as a new car salesman for J.C. Motors in Junction City, Kansas for 31 years selling Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs. I am the father of six children, and many more grandchildren. Throughout my life, and even more after retiring in 1988, I enjoy fishing, hunting, working in my yard, cutting wood and growing a flourishing garden every summer, which I share with many friends and neighbors.