Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Army of Occupation

On Thanksgiving Day 1945, a young man just out of high school left for Germany on the troopship West Point. This ship was actually the "Luxury Liner America", but who was to tell these fellas what they were about to see and experience. The War in Europe had just ended, and there must have been a lot of guys who felt left out of all the action, and a lot of guys who felt relieved that the war was finally over.

Two of these guys are shown in the picture. One is my dad, Private First Class (PFC), Henry E. Jones, USAF - 15364821. He is the one standing with his hand on the shoulder on the unnamed fellow sitting. He tells me that he spent most of his time there driving prisoners of war to various tasks, which involved mostly blowing up planes that remained after the war. Germany had been destroyed, and much rebuilding was taking place.

The "Army of Occupation Medal" is shown in the next picture.

This medal was designed by the Army Heraldic Section, and shows the Remagen bridge abutments, symbolic of Europe. This medal was given for service in Germany or Austria starting after May 9, 1945. The ribbon is made of equally broad stripes of black and scarlet with narrower white edges. Black and white stand for Germany, and scarlet and white for Japan. [This medal was also given for the occupation of Japan starting after September 3, 1945.]

Dad has a lot of pictures, taken during this time. Hopefully, I will be able to share many more.

1 comment:

  1. My Dad tells me that the other fellow was Carl Ballard. Carl was a high school friend from Winchester, KY. They met at a USO completely by accident, not even knowing the other was in Germany. Small world.