A Veteran's Day Story

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Morale delivered across German lines during the Battle of the Bulge. By U.S. Postal Inspector David J Calhoun

As Veterans Day approaches, I take the time to reflect on what the day means. Veterans Day is a day to celebrate the service of all those who served in the U.S. military. So today, I would like to share an incredible story I just recently heard. This story is about William Weber of Bayonne, New Jersey.

In 1943, William received notification of his enlistment into the U.S. Army. He graduates from basic training and is assigned to the 78th Division Artillery (the Lightning Brigade) as a Postal Clerk. He would get promoted to the rank of Technician Sergeant. He worked and distributed mail, handled money orders, registered and insured mail, parcel post for approximately 2,000 men. His function was like most civilian postal clerks, except while in Germany, Weber would need to perform these duties under extraordinarily dangerous conditions during combat that was pivotal to defeating Nazi Germany from December 1944 to April 1945.

At the time, the war was thought to be drawing to an end, however the German Army had a much different idea. The Germans attacked during the Christmas holiday break. After weeks of fighting, morale was imperative to maintain. TSGT Weber knew this and without any regard for his own personal safety, on numerous occasions made daily delivery of mail to troops trapped behind enemy lines, often along icy roads and in blackout conditions. German paratroopers and planes were operating in the area.

Many times his unit would need to displace daily in the drive from the Roer River to the Rhine River. During this constant movement, Weber would continue to make mail deliveries, despite the command post having to displace, and then find the new location using unfamiliar roads. Ultimately, the Lightning Brigade broke through the final obstacle, the Rhine River, to open way for the assault that would defeat Nazi Germany. William would be awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in the period of combat. In William Weber’s Bronze Star citation, it was written, “No soldier in this command contributed so much toward maintaining the high morale of the soldiers of this organization during the period of combat.”

One can only imagine the content of the letters that Weber risked his life to deliver during the Battle of the Bulge. Undoubtedly, they contained messages of love from family members and loved ones back home in the states. It was these messages Weber knew would raise the morale of his fellow soldiers, and he risked his life to get those letters into their hands.

After the war, William would become a US Mail Sorter at the James A Farley building in Manhattan for nearly 30 years. There he sorted perhaps hundreds of thousands of pieces of mail under peaceful conditions with modesty and dedication. TSGT Weber is an example of American determination, aggressiveness and devotion to duty.

By Donna Harris 11/09/2017 11:42 PM

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