FORT RILEY, Kan. (WIBW) - The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley welcomed a contingent of veterans from World War II’s famed Battle of the Bulge for a tour on Wednesday.
The Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944 was the costliest single battle for the United States in World War II and was Germany’s final desperate attempt to turn the tide of war in its favor following the D-Day Invasion the previous June.
"We didn’t have any idea what we were getting into," said World War II Veteran Jim Sharp. "We just knew it was cold as billy hell, you know. Snow was 18 inches deep and here we were fighting panzer tanks and Hitler’s SS troops. It was pretty tough to both fight and stay alive in the cold weather, most of the time in a foxhole."
The day featured a trip to the battle simulators and a visit to the post museums, as well the chance for veterans and those currently serving to share their own stories and experiences.
"They’re not disappointed in what they did," said Specialist Jonathan White. "After they got out the realized that they helped our country later on down the road to where we’re at now. We swapped war stories and our stories are the same, but theirs is a lot more intensified than our war. So I feel really honored just being in his presence and being around him."
Over 16 million soldiers served in World War II. Today, fewer than two million veterans are still here to tell their stories.