Albert F. Simmons of Oak Hill, Florida, was a 20-year U.S. Army Veteran. He was born 23 March, 1922. He first enlisted in June 1940 at Ft. Screven, GA, and was sent to Panama that September, with the 33rd Infantry Regiment. He was in Panama until Dec. 1941, when he was assigned to Fort Read, Trinidad, with the 33rd Infantry Regiment.
He had several postings back in the States, before being sent to Shreveport, LA in Oct. 1943 as part of the 395th Infantry Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division. He was assigned to Company A of the 395th, transported to Scotland in Oct. 1944, and crossed the English Channel to LeHavre on Nov. 1, 1944. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge (Elsenborn Ridge, Hurtgen Forest), at Remagen Bridge, and at the Ruhr Pocket, where he rode in a Jeep with Capt. Allen to accept the surrender of one of the German regiments.
After the war he had several postings stateside (the IRTC at Ft. McClellan, AL; Camp Stoneman and Camp Kilmer) in 1946. Then he served with the 351st Inf. Regiment of the 88th Inf. Division assigned to Italy, along the border with Yugoslavia (the “Trieste US Troops”) in 1947 and 1948. During his military career he served as a Light Weapons instructor with the HQ 1272d ASU, 71st Inf. Reg of 9th Inf. Div. and a National Guard Instructor in NYC (1949-1951); an Infantry Instructor and ROTC Instructor in Lakeland, FL; served a year 5 mos. Foreign service in the Korean DMZ with 8th Army/AFFE, then with Co. G. 21st Inf. Reg., 24th Inf. Division. Stateside again, he served as MSGT in Scotland Neck, NC with Det #9 HEMD; then was sent to Hawaii (1960-61) as platoon Sgt. Training troops for Viet Nam with the 27th Inf. Reg. of 25th Inf. Div, retiring from service in August 1961.
Albert never talked to his 4 sons about his war experiences until they were grown men in their 40s. They had no idea where he had served in WW2 until one day I asked him to show me on a map of Europe where he had been. He finally started talking about his experiences with us; when we said we thought he was a hero, he said “honey, the heroes were the ones who never came home.” He said he didn’t hate the Germans, because many of the ones he had to fight were young boys just like him.
He was awarded the Bronze Star and many other medals for his service, but other than his Bronze Star certificate and his Korean War medal, he had lost all of them. Before he died in 2010 at age 88, I was able to obtain replacement medals and have them mounted and framed along with his Checkerboard patch, his Bronze Star certificate, and a photo from his time in Trieste. We presented to him on Veteran’s Day 2008, as well as a hat with the 99th Infantry Division insignia.
(Source: Family of Albert F. Simmons)