You may have read the interesting story about Herman Blumenschein. He sadly passed away on January 30th, and other than telling the unique story about his liberation from his P.O.W. camp, I could not say much more because I didn't knwo any more. You see, Herman was quiet and did not talk much about his service. Several readers asked for more of the story.
Recently I contacted Herman's nephew, Dennis Blumenschein, about getting more information about Herman to share. If you read the first story about Herman, you know he did not have any children, and his nieces and nephews and their children and granchildren were his closeknit family.
Dennis was kind enough to give me a copy of a speech he wrote for a program called Voices from the Stone (in Union County, Ohio) held to honor Herman a couple of years ago. These are excerpts from Dennis's speech that will give you more information about Herman. You will hear Dennis mention Herman's brothers (they were inseparable) Alfred and Roy (who sadly all passed away since this speech was given), and youngest brother William.
In March of 1942 Herman was drafted into the Army, as well as his brother Alfred, who was drafted in October of the same year. Herman's Basic Training and AIT training prepared him to be deployed overseas to fight in the war. His unit's mission was to land their gliders into enemy territory.
The gliders were attached to the plane with ropes, and when over enemy lines the gliders were released. Herman has shared stories of times when the enemy planes would fire at them before thegliders could land, and the pilots would have to fly faster to avoid a hit. This was obviously a life-threatening experience.
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Herman's unit of soldiers flew their gliders into the front lines in the Normandy, France invasion.. Herman was seriously injured in the invasion and sent to England for a 3 month recovery.
Ironically, his brother Alfred was sent to the D-Day Normandy invasion on June 7, 1944, only one day later, and probably around 50 miles away from his brother, but never knew where Herman was or that he was injured until a letter came from home weeks later. (the brothers never caught up with each other until both were back home in Plain City, Ohio).
After the 3 month recovery, Herman was again deployed to combat. Herman's unit was on a combat mission in Holland, Germany. The troops were under heavy fire, and Herman's best friend and buddy was shot, leaving him seriously injured. His friend knew he was near death, and asked Herman to stay with him so he did not die alone. Herman stayed behind as his unit moved on. Herman was then taken into captivity by the Germans. He served as a Prisoner of War from September 30, 1944 to May 5, 1945, a total of 7 months.
As a prisoner, Herman and other USA soldiers were housed in a train box car. Their only food was soup made from grass, and water they caught in their canteens off the roof of the box car. They could hear rocks being thrown and gunshots on a daily basis.
Growing up in a German settlement back home,Herman understood the German language. He could understand what the German soldiers were saying. This was a secret he had to keep in order to save his life. God was his refuge and strength, and we praise the Lord for sparing Herman's life.
In February 1945 brother Roy was drafted into the Army, and was deployed to Japan in the HQ for Army personnel.
Now all three older brothers were in the Army at the same time. Grandpa Lewis Blumenschein, who was still farming and plowing with horses, and unable to plant the crops without the help of his three grown sons, had younger brother William drop out of school to help with the farm.
When we ask the Blumenschein brothers about their experience in the war, they all said, "We did what we had to do for freedom".
There are things they would like to forget, but they are proud that in some way they helped all of us be free and safe back home in the Good Ole USA.
Thanks for posting this Claudia. I had heard most of this story, but some of it I did not know. Also, something that you do not hear about, is that the current generation of military fighting personnel are just as patriotic, just as dedicated and just as committed to their responsibilities as the greatest generation. These people are the next, greatest generation!