While attending Shawnee Mission High School in 1944, Doug decided to join the Army as soon as he graduated. The day after graduation he entered the Army.

How did he enter the military?

While attending Shawnee Mission High School in 1944, Doug decided to join the Army as soon as he graduated. The day after graduation he entered the Army.

He was sent to Camp Hood, Texas, where 165,000 other trainees attended what was called “Killers College” in the 118-degree heat. Although Doug was trained for the Pacific, he was sent to the European Theatre and traveled aboard the Queen Elizabeth under blackout. He remembers it being a fast ship with 15,000 men on board headed to Africa. When they passed the Queen Mary before approaching Scotland, the realization of how large the two ships were was very impressive to him.  

He soon found himself on a train to Belgium to serve as replacements for the troops already there. They were told to get used to the cold and he would find himself with frostbite in the upcoming months; the troops lived in holes in the ground with sub-zero temperatures. Doug recalls having the actor George Kennedy in his troop until George became ill and was taken to the hospital. He never saw him in battle again, only on the big screen once he was home.

 

A memorable moment from the service.

His most proud moment came when he and a few others found young boys who the SS forced into service. Doug, along with a few others, took the boys back home and told them to bury those uniforms. The war would be over soon and they should be home with their moms. He knows those families would still remember what the U.S. did for their sons.

When Doug was moving toward Danube, he saw the autobahn for the first time. This is what President Eisenhower called the new superhighway that was to become our interstate system.

The Germans and the Russian prisoners were surrendering by the thousands, and troops were responsible in transferring them to locations that could send them home.

 

What did he do after he left the service?

Once Doug had enough points to return home, he was sent to California, where he volunteered to go back to Europe and use his knowledge of the German language to be reassigned in the Military Police Battalion as a train guard. He was able to see Vienna, Munich, Salzburg and Paris in another setting other than battles. Once Doug was given his discharge papers, he arrived in Kansas City to visit his father at work, then home to Shawnee Mission. It is a good day for Doug when someone walks up to him and tells him they appreciate his time in the service. He asks that people continue doing this for the veterans who were then, and the troops who are today.

 

About Lawrence

BRANCH OF SERVICE: U.S. Army

FAMILY: He and wife Mary Alice have been married 57 years. They have 3 sons, 5 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren