Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day: Honoring Roy E. Albers, World War II, U. S. Army

     Many of us know or can remember a veteran of World War II.  Not many are still with us, but they’re not forgotten.  The front page of the February 10, 1945, Indianapolis Star reflects on the circumstances for those service men and women. Headlines, The_Indianapolis_Star_Sat__Feb_10__1945_
    I’d like to share a brief history of one of those soldiers in our family, Roy E. Albers, who served in the 106th Cavalry of the 7th U. S. Army from 1943 to 1945.  I’m just getting to know Roy.  He was a cousin in a family line I didn’t know growing up.  Fortunately, my Albers family knowledge is expanding lately.  On Veterans Day 2016 it’s my pleasure to salute this family soldier. 
     Recently I was searching for Albers family news when a 1945 article about local soldiers appeared on my list.  There was young Pvt. Roy Albers’ photo and information about him being wounded.  Over the past few weeks, there’s a bit more added to this family story. 
      That newspaper story states that Roy was wounded in France on November 19, 1945, and that he sent his Purple Heart home to his mother in Indianapolis while he was in the hospital.  (You can read about Roy Albers in the news story below entitled “3 Soldiers, Chaplain Killed, 5 Are Missing. Click on the article to enlarge.) The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917 has been wounded, killed, or has died after being wounded.   (History of Purple Heart Medal.)
Albers, Roy, Military News, 1945 
   Additionally, I found a news item published on February 22, 1945, (below) telling of  Roy being awarded three Bronze Stars for participation in Normandy, Northern France and Germany. To shed some light on Roy’s circumstances within this time frame in World War II, I read online about the 106th Cavalry.   Following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia page of the 106th Cavalry Regiment:
“During what was said to be the worst winter in 30 years, the 1500 men of the 106th held up to 125-mile (201 km) of the front. Staying in contact with the XII Corps right flank to its north was difficult because its lines were so thinly spread. Maintaining relatively static lines from 20 September through 5 November, they took the opportunity to rotate the two squadrons in and out of the line as trench foot took its toll on the soldiers. On several occasions the 106th was ordered to counter German probing attacks.”
What an incredibly harrowing experience for this young man!
The_Indianapolis_Star_Thu__Feb_22__1945_      Roy was born to Julius and Elsie Albers in Indianapolis on December 3, 1924.  When he enlisted in the U. S. Army at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis he was only 19.  He soon joined the 106th Cavalry,  a mechanized cavalry unit of the United States Army recognized for its outstanding action. They were often in the lead of other units in Europe, earning five campaign streamers and French government decorations. Lightly armed, they scouted ahead to fix enemy locations. There’s no doubt that he had a good deal of life-changing experiences in the two years before he was released from the Army on his 21st birthday (Yes, that’s the date on his records!).   Thankfully, he returned to his life in the States, later becoming a husband and father.  

  But wait!  Albers, RoyI have another chapter of this Albers family story involving those of us still here.  Recently, I wrote a post about Julius Albers (Roy’s father) when I found news about his “neighborhood business” during prohibition.  (That story is HERE.)  I’m pleased to say that Julius’s story resulted in a new family connection. 
     Fortunately, a cousin who is Julius’s granddaughter and Roy’s niece, was reading online and found my blog.  And thankfully, my new cousin, Carol, decided to send me an email saying she enjoyed reading my family stories.  She and I are now sharing family knowledge, photos, etc.  Carol let me know that she has a special place in her heart for her Uncle Roy.  This is a sample of her thoughts about him: “I'm looking forward to reading about Roy.  He down-played a lot of the war stories.  He was quite the character - personality wise - loved to sing, drink, and have a good time. I remember Grandpa singing some, too, but he wasn't the singer.”  Having Carol’s personal remembrances of this soldier makes my Veterans Day story a notch better for me.
Thank you to Roy Albers and all our veterans for their service.  

If you have additions to this veteran's story, let me know. I appreciate you visiting Indiana Ties.
Nancy Hurley

Copyright © 2016, Nancy Niehaus Hurley

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