WWII veteran gets his wish to spend time with horses again
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Delbert Bryant and his wife, Glenda, live at Atria Hearthstone Assisted Living but his past is filled with time on the battlefield.
He and his friend went together to enlist in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were only two lines available to choose from -- Army or Navy. He chose the Navy, his friend chose the Army.
Bryant went to a navy boot camp in Idaho and then went to Long Beach, California working hospital night duty where he did necessary chores while learning how to care for soldiers in battle.
He and his fellow medical corpsmen were drafted into the Marines. They were set to sail for Okinawa and Saipan japan.
As medical aid, he moved right along the front line caring for the wounded as the battle ensued. All he carried was a pouch full of bandages, powder, and morphine.
“When you go to the wounded on the ground, you search where all the wounds are and address that with sulfur powder and then you bandage it up and call for a litter,” he said.
He saw destruction and carnage.
His memory is fading but every now and then he recalls seeing bodies everywhere and the effects of the atomic bombs on two cities in Japan -- Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
“It’s beginning to thin out a little bit now but when I see it on TV sometimes I want to holler because I remember the sites I’ve seen.”
He never got on a battleship and was never wounded. He only a troopship to Japan and back. He said he was a rough trip and was seasick the whole ride over. Coming back though was as smooth as glass. He said he was sure happy to see the United States again.
He came back and worked on a farm. He fixed up a vacant farmhouse and bought an English Morgan Mare, named her Ginger. He also had a border collie named Dutchess as well after finding her in a cardboard box in a ditch.
“I just believe animal wise, especially when you get into the well-bred, well taken care of horses, I believe [horses] are the most beautiful animal god’s ever made.”
Following an eye injury, Bryant had to take Ginger to Kansas State University for assistance. After getting her back, The Bryants had her for “a little while longer” until the care for an injured horse was too much for them.
Bryant, still adamant about making sure the horse was cared for, went and found a farm where she could live out the rest of her days. He would pay for food and after “a little while,” Ginger passed away.
Faith Home Health and Hospice’s Terry Downing called up an old friend, Tracey Wyatt, who works at Veterans Affairs, and owns horses with her dad. Downing and Wyatt decided it’d be a great opportunity to bring the Bryants around horses one more time.
“I just feel like there’s so much time that we spend focused on ourselves and what’s important to us and we fail to look around and see if there are chances for us to make a difference every day,” said Tracey Wyatt. “I work for the VA and at the VA we always try to focus on serving our veterans and showing respect and giving the best care that we can and I just feel like if more people put into the community and their neighbors and friends and even their families -- what they put into themselves the world get to be a better place.”
Wyatt’s encouraging anybody who wants to participate they can. She suggests people come to line the road getting to the house and the driveway or bring a Navy or Marine flag to show support. She said she’s excited to show people their horses as well who have been trained by her father for years.
“My dad’s always given rise to the neighbor kids and 4H members and everything, we’re just happy to be able to have this opportunity to do just a very small, small thing for somebody who gave so much for his country and for us to be able to pursue our best lives,” she said.
If you want to greet the Bryants as they make their way to the farm you can. It is at 14255 126th Road in Hoyt, Kansas. They plan to see the horses at 1 p.m.
The Bryants are excited about the field trip. A field trip they didn’t know too much about until Friday afternoon.
“I just kind of want to stare at them. I like to get close to them and talk to them. Just admire them and wish I could take care of them really. Oh, I’d really like to take care of horses,” said Bryant.
He’s taking it all in before he hangs up his boots.
“Every time I do something like this, I very well know it might be my last one,” said Bryant. “I know my lord well and he knows me so I trust him. I really do.”
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