Name: Brock Smith
City: Greensboro [SC]
Service time: Dec. 28, 1943 -
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.
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
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