". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memoriam

Roy C. Hollis, 1915-1994

I am thinking about my dad today. Although he did not give up his life for our country, he did put it on the line. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in November of 1943 and entered active service the following month. He served as a Staff Sergeant in Troop B of the 106th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. His occupational specialty was rifleman. His Separation Qualification Record states that he “supervised the activities of 11 men in a rifle squad. Was responsible for the control, coordination, and tactical employment of squad. Loaded, aimed, and fired a .30 Cal Garand rifle. Is familiar with carbine, Browning automatic rifle, machine gun, etc. Also is familiar with all types of hand weapons and hand to hand fighting techniques.” His discharge papers list the following battles and campaigns: Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe. Decorations and Citations received were the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the Good Conduct Medal; the World War II Victory Medal; and three Bronze Service Stars. He was honorably discharged on November 1, 1945.

As I was growing up I remember my dad talking about how he fought at the Battle of the Bulge, how he marched from the English Channel to Czechoslovakia, how he almost got run over by a German tank, and how he was the only original member of his squad to survive the war. He wasn’t a religious man, but when he spoke of the war he thanked God for protecting him and bringing him home. He said that on more than one occasion he remembered a fellow soldier waking up with the feeling that his time had come--that he would not survive the day--but my dad said he never had that feeling. Somehow he always knew he would make it home.

I regret that I didn’t pay more attention to his stories and that I didn’t appreciate all that he went through in service to his country. My dad died on June 16, 1994 at the age of 78 after an extended battle with lung cancer. He is survived by five children, six stepchildren, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one sister, and his second wife (my mom).

I still miss him. Thank you, Daddy, and rest in peace.

3 comments:

Presbytera said...

Thank you for introducing your father to me!

Favorite Apron said...

Cheryl - I'm so sorry he's gone. Sounds like a wonderful man.

My uncle was killed at age 19 in the Battle of the Bulge. In contrast to your father, who always said he was coming home, Uncle Clarence told his family he wouldn't be coming back. He was drafted and only there for a few weeks. He was doing reconnisance for the Cactus Division and was walking into the village of Sessenheim, France ahead of a tank unit. When they got to the village they were met by the German tanks. He was taken to a church where he bled to death. In 1949 my PawPaw went over and brought his body back to Ohio and they had a memorial service at that time.

Somewhere on the internet I ran across the journal of a man who rode the train and took the boat to Europe in October as part of the same group as my uncle. It was so interesting.

Well gee, I didn't mean to write a book. It just struck me that your Father always planned to return home.

Cheryl said...

Polly, thank you for sharing the story of your uncle. How chilling to know that he had a sense he wouldn't be coming home. My dad said usually the soldiers who had that feeling were right about it.

Your uncle was so young. But I guess most who die in wartime are. My dad was older than most--30, I think, by the time he returned home. He was already a husband and father when he was drafted. Because of his age, the other men in his squad called him "Pops."

After he returned home from the war he had several more children. Then he lost his first wife to cancer. Enter my mom, a divorcee with 6 children, and they married and had me (for a total of 11). It was a tough situation. My dad was a sinner like the rest of us. He was an alcoholic, and his drinking caused a lot of people great pain. But I prefer to remember the best about him.