Monday, October 25, 2010

Military Monday - WWII - Howard M. Wilson - Of Great Character

My paternal grandfather, Howard Mathis Wilson, was a kind, quiet, hardworking man who was born on a farm in Bonnie, IL on 12 Apr 1909.  He held a number of jobs in his lifetime including farmer, deputy sheriff, and security guard.  He raised his family in Bonnie and when World War II began he wanted to do his part.   In 1943 at age 34, even though he had a wife and four children, he enlisted to do his patriotic duty.  He entered the service as a Private First Class and was assigned to duty clearing roads.  According to an interview with my cousin, Vickie Kane, he felt that he wasn't doing enough, so he lied about his age and tried to get in the paratroopers.  He was turned down and sent to Burma, where he cleared roads and built bridges, an honorable and necessary service.  He told my cousin that he never saw action, but heard gunfights close by.

Joining the service was a hardship on his family; they had to leave their family home and stay with relatives while he was away serving his country.  He never talked much about his war service, but after his death his my aunt related this story to my cousin about his character.  He observed his Sergeant beating one of the native workers who helped out the American troops.  My Grandfather, who had a very strong sense of right and wrong, stepped in to stop the abuse and for this he lost his stripes.  He died on 11 Nov 1994 and his family remembers him with great love and remains very proud of his service and caring attitude.

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