Mobile, Ala. (WKRG) — 97-year-old Robert Andry recounts getting wounded in combat while serving on a Sherman Tank.
“And I was looking to the left–and when the tank commander said ‘right, right,’ and by the time I moved the turret around to the right first thing that was facing me was a German bazooka,” said Andry
Andry served in the 761st Tank Battalion under General George Patton. The unit was made up of mostly African American soldiers, finally called up to combat in 1944. They called themselves the ‘Black Panthers.’
“And all I remember is the few feet til (sic) it got to the tank and it hit the tank right in front of me where I was operating the guns,” he said.
Last month, Andry finally received the medals he earned during combat and serving in World War Two. One of those was the Purple Heart. the 761st earned 300 Purple Hearts during their time in combat in 1944 and 1945.
Andry talked about the aftermath of being wounded in battle. “And the next thing I knew I was being drug (sic) out of the tank–I came to and I was being pulled out of the tank.”
Fellow soldiers wrapped his wounds–and buried him in a hastily dug trench to keep him safe during the fierce battle near Morville, Belgium in November 1944.
“I was there for about ten hours,” he said.
Believe it or not, it was only a little more than a decade ago when his family even heard the story of Andry’s time in combat, even though they knew he’d been wounded.
“I would have to say it was around 2010 when Dad began to reveal his experience in the war,” said Andry’s son, Aaron Andry
Andry kept the story to himself from 1945 to 2010–65 years–from raising 8 kids and several careers before retiring.
“Even today, we continue to hear new parts of the story,” said Aaron.
It’s something that was not unusual among World War Two vets—many did not talk about their service when they came home. One of the things that may have prompted vets like Andry to talk was participating in Honor Flight South Alabama which flew Andry and hundreds of other vets to see their memorial in Washington.
Andry still lives with the wounds that include injuries to his arm.
“You can feel it, you can see it there–it’s separated right there,” he said, pointing to the obvious injury and the lack of motion in his arm.
And at 97, he finally has his medals, thanks to the efforts of some local veterans and Rep. Jerry Carl.
We’re proud to add our Serving Those Who Serve award to the recognition of World War Two veteran Robert Andry.