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VETERAN PROFILE
Brock Smith


  Name: Brock Smith

   City: Greensboro [SC]

   Service time: Dec. 28, 1943 - Jan, 1946

   War: World War I!

   Branch of service: U.S. Army

   Military unit or ship: 508th Parachute Infantry Regt., 82nd Airborne Division

   Where served? ETO - Battle of the Bulge, Belgium. Also, after war ended, the 508th was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany, as honor guards for S.H.A.E.F (Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary forces) Commander, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower

   Highest rank: S/Sgt.

   Decorations: ETO theater medal - three battle stars, bronze star, purple heart, combat infantry badge, good conduct medal, victory in Europe medal, German occupation medal. Also earned at the 508th: Presidential Unit Citation, Belgium Citation for the Battle of the Bulge

   Special experiences: "The Battle of the Bulge was confusion from the time we got there on Dec. 19, 1944, until the battle ended in January 1945. One incident stands out as both tragic and as an example of what war really is. It was early January and my First Battalion took the point. The fighting was almost over. German soldiers were coming out of the woods with their hands up. All of a sudden, a German soldier

raised up in a foxhole and shot and killed Sgt. Savage from A Company. Our captain ... dropped to the ground and crawled quickly to the foxhole and pulled the soldier out. He was young, maybe; 15. The captain slapped him a couple of times and brought him back to where we were. Some of the sergeant's friends wanted to kill him. The little boy was crying and begging for his life. The captain said, 'You kill that, boy and you will be charged with murder. You don't disarm a man and then kill him. Take him back to ... where the other POWs are. The day was about over and we were very tired. I sat down and ate a K-Ration. It said 'Breakfast.'

   Quote on war: "I know that World War II was absolutely necessary. I consider it a privilege to serve my country. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I were young. I am 78.  I am very proud of our armed forces, I am very happy about our young people in service and out of service. I know that our country is in good hands and our greatest hour is yet to come!

I have been accused of wearing rose-colored glasses. I hope that rose never fades."

   Did you use the GI bill? Yes

   Which college: Presbyterian Junior College, now St. Andrews College
Civilian career: "My first job was at Meyers Department Store in their executive training program. I was appliance service manager and then was promoted to sales manager and buyer in the major appliance division. I worked there for 15 years. Then I worked for Southern Radio Corp., Charlotte, distributors for R. C. A. When I retired in 1987, after 25 years, I was sales manager, North Carolina and South Carolina."

   Retirement career: "Since I retired in 1987, I've just enjoyed my four grandchildren and my family. I have more than 50 siblings, nieces and nephews. I have one son, two daughters and one great wife. I love gardening, especially flowers. I am active in the Glenwood Presbyterian Church. I try to do a good deed now and then. My health is good and I am glad to be an American."

   Most unforgettable experience: "Nine months after VE Day, in January 1946, I came home on the Queen Mary with the 82nd Division. The Statue of Liberty came into view and that was just the beginning. As we got to the dock, the bands were playing, flags were flying, and people were cheering. It was wonderful! A few days later, we marched down Fifth Avenue, New York City, (81 blocks) in a ticker-tape Victory Parade. The Victory Parade was led by our hero, Major Gen. Jim Gavin."
 

Source: Greensboro [SC] News & Record

 

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