Veterans

December 19, 2012

Vets gather to honor thousands felled at Battle of the Bulge

Veterans of what became the greatest land battle in the history of the U.S. Army gathered at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Dec. 16, to remember and pay tribute to the 19,000 soldiers who didn’t return home from the Battle of the Bulge, which raged in Europe from Dec. 16, 1944 to Jan. 25, 1945.

Sons, daughters and grandchildren accompanied the former soldiers, who are all in their 80s and 90s, to the memorial where wreaths were presented by the ambassadors of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. In a follow-on ceremony, a wreath was laid at the Tomb of the Unknowns by the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge.

John D. Bowen, vice president of the Battle of the Bulge Historical Foundation and recording secretary of the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, said about 88 veterans and family members attended the wreath-laying. He noted that while there are about 3,000 Bulge veterans around the country, there are another 1,500 who are associate members. Associates include family members and anyone who has an interest in the battle.

“We have more and more sons and daughters coming to these events,” Bowen said. “The benefit to them is that when the veterans get together, they talk among themselves about their experiences, then they open up more to their children who haven’t heard their stories.”

Aside from being the most territorially expansive battle of World War II, stretching along the Siegfried Line from The Netherlands border to Belgium and Luxembourg, the Battle of the Bulge was fundamentally Adolph Hitler’s final offensive at stopping the Allied drive into Germany.

The battle occurred during one of the coldest winters on record in Europe.

“That was a cold, cold winter in ’44 and ’45,” said Mike Levin, 93, who fought with the 7th Armored Division in the Bulge.

The battle pitted roughly 610,000 Allied troops against 500,000 Axis soldiers. Had the German army been able to encircle the four American armies, Hitler had intended to sue for a negotiated peace. The Reich however failed, losing more than 85,000 troops. In the process, the Allies liberated Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as France, during one of the coldest winters in Europe.

Jan Matthysen, the Belgian ambassador said recognizing the soldiers who fought at the Battle of the Bulge was a celebration that his country does every year by laying a wreath at Arlington and hosting a Christmas party for the veterans at the embassy.

“This is a small part of the celebration we do every year in Bastogne where our monument of the Battle of the Bulge stands and where Belgian school children learn the American anthem,” he said. “Each and every young generation continues to commemorate those Soldiers.”

Luxembourg ambassador Jean-Louis Wolzfeld said the only battle his country experienced during World War II was the Battle of the Bulge, but it was the outcome of that battle which allowed his country to regain its sovereignty after five years of suffering under Germany.

“We have always since then throughout generations been very grateful to those young American men and women who did not hesitate to cross the Atlantic far from their own country to save us in a very selfless manner,” Wolzfeld said. “We have enormous gratitude to the Americans who participated in that operation.”

In honor of the price paid for Luxembourg’s freedom, the U.S was granted 50 acres for a cemetery where more than 5,000 American service members are buried, including Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines October 22, 2014

News: Northrop challenges 3DELRR contract award - Northrop Grumman has formally issued a protest against the US Air Force’s decision to award its next-generation ground based radar to competitor Raytheon.   Business: Defense firms prefer GOP, but spread campaign cash between political parties - For every campaign contribution from a major arms manufacturer to a Republican candidate...
 
 

News Briefs October 22, 2014

Military converges on scene of Kansas jet crash Military personnel are investigating at the site in southeast Kansas where an Oklahoma Air National Guard fighter jet crashed after a midair collision with another one during a training exercise. The F-16 crashed Oct. 20 in a pasture about three miles northeast of Moline, an Elk County...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 

 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Lockheed Martin teams with Roketsan of Turkey on new standoff missile for F-35

Roketsan and Lockheed Martin signed a teaming agreement Oct. 22 for collaboration on the SOM-J, a new generation air-to-surface Standoff Cruise Missile for the F-35 Lightning II. The SOM system is an autonomous, long-range, low-observable, all-weather, precision air-to-surface cruise missile. The SOM-J variant is tailored for internal carriage on the F-35 aircraft. The companies will...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>