By Jennifer Martin - email
"When they bombed Pearl Harbor, I just knew it was going to be over when I got there. But they waited around until I got over there before they really kicked off," Willie Myers said.
Myers would see more action that he imagined.
"I was in the second invasion. Patton broke out of Normandy and we met him. Patton on the left, Switzerland on the right run right into the Battle of the Bulge.
He was part of the 63rd Infantry Division.
"I was on the front every single day and we lost 8,019 battle casualties, just this division. See I got wounded several times but I never got the Purple Heart, because I never went back. they aint no record keeper on the front. I was just 19 years old and they needed me. I was just trying to survive," Myers recalled.
"We had to break through the Seigfried Line. Hitler said it could never be broke. But we did. The 63rd Infantry did it. But we like lost everybody, but we got through," Myers added.
"I'd go behind the enemy line. They say that's one of the scariest things, when you go behind the enemy line," Myers said. "They bombed and then as the Germans come out, we attacked them. I was on the box, ontop of the machine gun. And O'Shay was a tech sargeant and he said let me see that Tommy Gun. I just stepped off of there and hand him that gun and there was a sniper over here and he meant to hit my head, but I stepped just a little and what he did, he shot O' Shay in the ankle."
Myers had to get his friend back to the other side of the Seigfried Line.
"Three Germans run out of the barn. We shot em all, don't know how many I killed. Killed them. And went on up and a machine gunman was sitting up there and he opened up and we managed to shoot the machine gunner in the stomach," Myers said.
After witnessing that, one of the surviving Germans agreed to take Myers and O'Shay back across the line.
Once advancing American troops met the Russians at the Elbe River, Myers finally got a reprieve from the constant fighting.
He laughs when he talks about what he was paid for such perilous work.
"PFC, I was a Private First Class. I got $54 a month. Then when you go into combat, they pay you 20% extra for fighting. We fought a 125 days and nights without stopping, that's a little over 4 months, I got $40 damn dollars for it. Forty bucks," Myers added.
He spent a year as part of the occupation force. When he got home, he was still only 20 years old.
"I wouldn't talk about it at all for 50 years. One day I was sitting around and got to thinking... if I don't tell it, no one will ever know," Myers recalled.
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street