U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-1st District) presents Green Township resident William Wyder with the Korea Defense Service medal he earned for serving in Korea for a year and a half in the defense of the Republic of Korea following the Korean War.
To say William Wyder was elated to receive his overdue military medal is an understatement.
There aren’t enough words to describe just how excited the 74-year-old Green Township resident was.
“I’m happy as hell,” Wyder said. “This is a great honor.”
The U.S. Army veteran received his Korea Defense Service Medal from U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-1st District) during a ceremony at the Green Township VFW Post 10380 meeting Thursday, Aug. 18. Wyder, who grew up in Mount Adams and graduated from Purcell Marian High School, enlisted in the Army right out of high school.
“I shipped out five days after I graduated,” he said. “I wanted to go in as a boy and come out as a man, and I did.”
An Army medic, he served with the 7th Infantry Division, 17th Infantry Regiment, Medical Company in Korea from December 1955 through April 1957.
Green Township resident William Wyder holds the Korea Defense Service medal he earned for serving in the U.S. Army in defense of the Republic of Korea.
The U.S. Department of Defense created the Korean Defense Service Medal in 2004 to give special recognition for the sacrifices and contributions made by members of the armed forces who have served or are serving in the Republic of Korea. To be eligible for the medal, one must have served in Korea from July 1954 to a future date to be determined by the secretary of defense. Chabot said it was an honor to present the medal to Wyder, who is a well-respected member of the Green Township VFW Post.
“When his country called, Mr. Wyder answered,” Chabot said. “We owe him a debt of gratitude for his service. It is my pleasure to present him the medal he rightfully deserves on behalf of the U.S. Congress.”
Wyder said it wasn’t always
easy serving in Korea, and the cold, snowy winters made it especially tough.
“I thought I never was going to come home,” he said.
But, he pushed through and proudly represented his country. When he left the Army he put his experience as a medic to good use and took a job in biomedical research at Procter & Gamble.
“I really enjoyed medicine,” Wyder said.
He said he worked as a biological technician for Procter & Gamble for 30 years before his retirement. He and his wife, Eileen, have been longtime Green Township residents. They have four children and two grandchildren. Wyder thanked his fellow veterans in Post 10380 for their support and help in obtaining his service medal.
“This post is filled with really good people,” he said. “They’ve treated me like a king. I feel so honored.”
By Kurt Backscheider – Community Press Reporter
Tom Anderson said he’s surprised to be alive considering what he’s been through in his life.
“There must be a reason God has kept me around,” he said.
“I must have some unfinished work.”
That unfinished mission and his strong Catholic faith keep the lively 86-year-old World War II veteran going. He’s overcome more obstacles than most people can imagine, and he continues serving his fellow veterans and remaining active in several veteran organizations.
“I am a great believer that your physical health is incumbent on your mental health,” the Green Township resident said.
“I like to think positive.”
Anderson learned not to dwell on life’s negatives a long time ago, after he returned to his family’s Price Hill home with two Purple Heart medals and a Bronze Star – military honors he earned while disarming a German bomb along the Rhine River on Feb. 19, 1945.
He was a 20-year-old U.S. Army Ranger at the time. The bomb exploded as he knelt over it, and he lost his left hand and the fingers on his right hand.
“I was considered to be a demolition expert. I came that close,” he said, smiling and measuring out an inch with what’s left of his right thumb and index finger.
Price Hill fortitude
Anderson’s grit was acquired on the mean streets of Depression-era East Price Hill.
He said he spent his childhood setting bonfires in the streets, hanging trash cans on telephone poles and playing baseball, football and engaging in fistfights in Dempsey Park.
“To come out of Dempsey Park with your front fours you had to be quick with the dukes, glib of tongue or fleet of foot,” he said.
“That means you had better be able to fight your way out of it, talk your way out of it or be able to run like hell.”
Anderson attended Elder High School and would have been in the class of 1943, but he didn’t finish. He eventually received his Elder diploma in 2007.
Somewhat of a troublemaker, Anderson said he volunteered for the Army upon the advice of Cincinnati Police Capt. Patrick Hays, who was the chief of detectives.
“He said I should probably go into the Army before I ended up in Columbus,” Anderson said. “Back then the state pen was in Columbus.”
He said he was a “voluntary inductee” in the Army in March 1943.
By October 1943 he had successfully completed Ranger school at Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Ark.
“The two toughest things in my life were going through Ranger school and the Battle of the Bulge,” he said.
Nine men died in Ranger training, he said. The training class started with 70 soldiers, but only 20 made it through to the end.
was a real test of a man’s endurance,” he said. “What you think you can’t This pushing the envelope on analysis is an exciting aspect of the big best-data-recovery.com analysis move- ment. do, you can do.”
He said he signed up to be a Ranger because he was only 18 years old and had no fear.
“I would do anything in those days,” he said. “I was adventurous, stupid. I was fairly brave, but not necessarily very bright.”
Battle at Ardennes
The Battle of the Bulge started on Dec. 16, 1944.
Green Township resident Tom Anderson keeps his World War II medals neatly in a display case. He was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Heart medals. He lost his left hand and the tips his the fingers on his right hand when a bomb he was dismantling exploded along the Rhine River during the conflict in Europe.
Fought over the winter months into 1945, it was the last major Nazi offense against the Allies in World War II, and the American forces took the brunt of it.
It was the largest battle fought by the Americans in the war. More than 600,000 American troops were involved in the battle, which saw the death of 20,000 Americans and 30,000 Germans.
Next to Ranger school, the battle was the toughest thing Anderson said he’s experienced.
“It’s not glamorous being an infantryman, I tell you,” he said.
“I got some horror stories.”
Anderson, who was with the 84th Division during the bloody conflict, said he was fortunate to come out of the battle alive, which is one reason his combat infantryman medal is so dear to his heart.
“I was lucky to make it home,” he said. “I realized that more and more as I got older.”
After the Battle of the Bulge, Anderson, who served with three different divisions in the European theater, advanced with the 69th Infantry Division into Germany.
“We were the division that met up with the Russians,” he said. “They wanted my expertise up on the Rhine.”
He said he doesn’t know how the bomb he was kneeling over exploded.
He lost all the fingers and his thumb on his right hand, at the first joint. His left hand was completely torn off.
Anderson recalls lying in a hospital bed in Battle Creek, Mich., after the explosion and his wounds returned him stateside.
“A major came in said, ‘We’re going to cut 4 more inches off your left arm so you can be fitted for a prosthesis.’ I said, ‘Like hell you are,’” he said.
“I threw my whole plate of spaghetti at him. I could have been court-martialed.”
The Army doctors got their way and amputated more of Anderson’s forearm.
He never wore the artificial limb.
A full life
After Anderson came home to Price Hill he eventually settled down and married Joan Broderick, who would be his wife for 48 “wonderful years,” he said.
“She lived three blocks from me, but I never laid eyes on her until I came out of the Army,” he said.
She died 16 years ago, but the couple enjoyed nearly five decades together and they raised one daughter, Teresa.
Anderson said he moved his family to Green Township 50 years ago. The neighborhood was close to the flooring business he owned in Cheviot.
“I’ve had a lot of different occupations,” he said. “I was a master of none.”
He did, however, find his calling in the flooring business. He ran his own company for 28 years, retired and then worked another 16 years for Schoch Tile & Carpet.
He coached football and baseball and played competitive tennis up until a few years ago.
“My serve is the best part of my game,” he said. “I have a bullet serve from having to use my right hand all the time.”
When he isn’t spending time with his nine grandchildren
and six great-grandchildren, he volunteers at the Cincinnati Veterans hospital and is active in the Cheviot-Western Hills Purple Heart Chapter 3620, the Green Township VFW Post 10380 and the Catholic War Veterans organization.
“I work a lot with the chaplain at the VA hospital,” he said. “We bring the guys down to Mass.”
A 2007 inductee into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, Anderson also gives time speaking at area high schools about his life, his experience in the war and his victory over prostate cancer.
“They like me because I’m very brief and I work cheap,” he joked.
The positivity shines through and he carries a smile as he moves on to the next task in his unfinished mission.
“This old body wants to keep chugging along,” Anderson said.
By Kurt Backscheider – Community Press Reporter