93 year old Herbert Humphries was a Staff Sergeant and Army Medic in the 26th Signal Construction Brigade, Medical Detachment. He landed in Normandy on DDAY + 14 and remembers being quickly engaged with the Germans in the Normandy countryside. "I was running across all of these open fields and bullets were flying overhead, but I was never hit. I was picking up wounded and dead army guys, sticking them with shots and bandaging up their bullet wounds." He remembers the fighting was grim and he wondered why the hell he was even in the Army. "I was drafted, I didn't volunteer."
In one of his letters home that he shared with us, dated November 28, 1944, he did mention " I sure hope that the war don't last so much longer. It sure has last long enough for me and to tell the truth, too long. Just now I can hear one of them robot bombs going over. They sure are killing a lot of people over here with them things. One hit a hospital the other day and you can just think what it done. but most of them just hit into a hillside somewhere." He was stationed in the town of Namur, Belgium, a town in southern Belgium that straddled east-west north-south trade routes across the Ardennes, which would have put him right in the heat of the German Offensive known as the Battle of the Bulge. He remembered learning how to dance at a little place called Les-Faulx. "It is a wonderful city. The people there the best people that I'd met since I'd been in the Army" Shortly after his unit was engaged in the Battle of the Bulge. He mentioned to us that it was hectic but he doesn't remember much of it. He paused and said, "You know, I don't really remember much at all, that was a long long time ago" *laughs*.
Herb went on to participate in helping to fight in Germany and in a letter dated May 6th, 1945 (two days before Germany officially surrendered) he wrote "Well here I am at last. How's the weather back home? Over here it is raining like heck and snowing also. It looks like Germany will turn in soon, doesn't it? I'll be so glad when I get back home that I won't know what to do. I even hate to see tomorrow come anymore. Well it is 10 after Seven now and I'm really tired too. I just can't think of a thing, so I'll close for now and I'll write again real soon." Most guys were sure they were going to die over there.
On top of combat and his terrible experiences in The War, Herb brought home a German K98 rifle stamped DOT 1943 with all matching numbers and keeps it as a prize possession, part of his "war treasures" that he holds dearly.