Medic at Battle of the Bulge Served during ‘Horrendous Conditions”

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Bob Batchelder served as a medic during Battle of the Bulge

It’s the start of a new year and I’m excited about the possibilities! My husband and I plan to go to Normandy in June to see many sites I’ve only heard about from the more than 150 World War II veterans I’ve interviewed.

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In each post I’ll feature one of the dozens of World War II vets I’ve interviewed.

Since this is the time of year we recognize vets who fought in the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944-February 1945), here’s an excerpt from a story in my book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans. It highlights a soldier who had already fought at D-Day in June 1944 and now faced another momentous conflict six months later:

“… During winter 1944-1945, Robert ‘Bob’ Batchelder of Fort Wayne served as a medic in the Ardennes Forest of Belgium. “It was a horrendous experience,” he said. “We slept in foxholes in freezing weather and lots of snow. We lost more troops to frostbite and gangrene than gun shots.”

The troops endured for six days with no air support until the clouds finally broke and Allied fighters and bombers arrived.

By the end of the battle in February, approximately 89,000 soldiers had been wounded and 19,000 killed, making the Battle of the Bulge one of the largest and bloodiest battles fought by the U.S. during the war.

Not everything was a gruesome task for Batchelder. In May 1945 he was standing guard duty outside a tent in an Allied camp in Germany when a German male civilian approached him. The German spoke English to Batchelder: “I would like to surrender.”

Batchelder took the civilian to his commanding officer in the officer’s tent, then resumed his post. Batchelder found out later the man was Wernher von Braun, Germany’s top rocket scientist.

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“He wanted to leave Germany because he didn’t want to give information about the V-2 missile to Hitler,” said Batchelder. The V-2 rocket was a short-range ballistic missile developed during WWII in Germany. It was designed to target London.  Von Braun was smuggled out of Germany to England and then taken to the U.S.

Batchelder’s war experiences continued until he was discharged in January 1946. He had spent a year and a half overseas, fighting his way through some of the biggest battles in Germany, England, France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg. He was never injured.

After the war, Batchelder worked in the wholesale candy business before retiring in 1985. He and his wife Edna Sell married in 1947. They were parents to one son. The son and Edna are deceased.

Batchelder is prosaic about his military experience. “It was a difficult time, but I was glad to serve my country in World War II,” he said.”

Note: Mr. Batchelder has since passed away. I was glad to capture his story before it was gone.

Would you like to read more stories about American GIs? My book—World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans is available on Amazon.

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More news: My husband and I attended a WWII Roundtable meeting with a group of people who recognize the sacrifices made by our troops during this time period. It’s nice to talk with others who have the same passion for recognizing our vets!

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I’m still interviewing and writing stories about World War II. The News-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Wayne Indiana carries my stories. You can read them here.

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Please remember to find a veteran and thank him/her for their service! It means a lot!

 

 

 

 

 

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WWII Comes Alive Through Stories

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Army glider crew member Oren Huffer

Greetings! My website has been down for a few months—too complicated to go into. So many things happened during that time—it made me realize how valuable a website can be to an author who is excited about her work – that’s me!

I know that sounds corny, but each morning I wake up thanking God for the opportunity to write full-time.

It’s a dream that took many years to come to fruition, but the wait was worth it!

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Naval aviator Harold Frasure

I won’t try to cram everything into one post. What I will mention is the continuation of the interviews I’m doing with World War II vets. My current total is 138!

That’s 138 fascinating stories about men and women who served our country more than 70 years ago during its hour of great need.

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Max Whiteleather– Army soldier in D-Day, Battle of the Bulge

My book, World War II Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans, is packed with stories and photos of soldiers, sailors, airmen Marines, male and female who enlisted (volunteered) or were drafted from around the US and served around the world.

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I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy ($20) and reading it to gain a fuller understanding of what it meant to belong to our American military seven decades ago. If you could post a review at Amazon, I’d be really delighted and thankful! The book is available at Amazon. The cost quoted above does not include P/H.

https://www.amazon.com/World-War-II-Legacies-Northeast/product-reviews/0990786218/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_paging_btm_next_3?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=helpful&pageNumber=3

What I’ll leave you with are photos of recent vets whose stories I wrote recently for the News-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Wayne. You can access these stories at

www.News-Sentinel.com.

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Next post I’ll write about my first Honor Flight of Northeast Indiana trip—and the plucky, sweet 95-year-old female Navy veteran who I accompanied as a guardian!

If you’ve heard about the Honor Flights and wondered what they were, be sure to tune in and hopefully some of your questions will be answered!

Please remember to thank a veteran today for his or her service!

 

 

My WWII book Nears Completion!

Carl Mankey earned two Purple Hearts while fighting in World War II.

Carl Mankey earned two Purple Hearts while fighting in World War II.

Bonnie Habegger served as a nurse in France during WWII.

Bonnie Habegger served as a nurse in France during WWII.

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Eugene Dettmer served the U.S. Army on the beaches of Normandy during D-Day.

Roger Myers worked on the Norden bomb site during WWII.

Roger Myers worked on the Norden bomb site during WWII.

World War II Tech Sergeant Richard Beitler

World War II Tech Sergeant Richard Beitler

After interviewing dozens of WWII vets, I’m publishing a book on this subject:

WWII Legacies: Stories of Northeast Indiana Veterans (Oak Creek Publishing)

Available in mid-October, the book contains stories of 27 WWII vets, men and women, who served their country in various branches during the 1940s. Go to my WWII page for more information about ordering.