Veteran Profile: Glenn Fisher
Bedford, Ky.'s Fisher landed at
Omaha Beach a month after D-Day
The Trimble County native earned three Bronze Stars
BEDFORD, Ky. (August 2015) – Retired Col. Glenn Fisher was a sophomore at Trimble County High School when Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941. He remembers it vividly to this day, along with the reasons he enlisted in the U.S. Army: duty, honor and country.
Photo by Helen McKinney
World War II veteran Glenn Fisher recently received the Knight of the Legion of Honor medal.
Fisher, 88, first visited the Army enlistment center in Louisville, Ky., in December 1941. After three or four attempts, he convinced Army officials that he really was old enough to enlist. Actually born in October, he told the officers he was born in February, therefore old enough to fight. Being a sturdy young country boy who looked older than he was, they believed him and looked the other way.
After basic training, Fisher was sent to Camp Miles Standish in Boston. He boarded the USS America, a luxury liner converted to a troop ship, known then as USS Westpoint. Within five days, he and his fellow comrades were in Liverpool, England.
During the war, his mother died in 1943. When he came home on a 10-day leave one year later, he learned his best friend, Leland Alexander, had been killed in the war. Fisher never stopped to think it might happen to him.
“When you’re young and in the recruiting office where they wanted volunteers, you just did it. I considered it an honor to serve our country.”
He remembers being let out on Omaha Beach. He and his comrades had to jump into the water to get to the beach. This was about 30 days after D-Day, in July 1944.
This experience is hard to explain, he said. “It’s war. It’s bad.” Fisher earned three Bronze Stars while in service.
During the war, he was shipped to France, Belgium, Luxembourg and then Germany. He and the soldiers he was with traveled mostly by foot, covering between nine to 12 miles a day.
Fisher saw a lot of action on the front line. He traveled by foot, half tracks, full tracks and by truck. Soldiers on the front line where given a few days at the R&R Center (Rest & Relaxation) where they received new clothing and hair cuts. They could shower before retuning to the front line.
As a machine gunner, Fisher used a BAR Automatic Rifle Machine Gun. “It took two of us to carry it.”
During the Battle of the Bulge in 1945, Fisher was wounded when a piece of shrapnel exploded from behind a dike on the Rhine River. It was about mid-day when his unit was preparing to cross the river. “My unit needed to leave, and they had to leave me.”
Fisher spent time alone in a fox hole, going in and out of consciousness for several hours, before medics arrived at dark. He had been wounded in the hip and face.
Medics took him to an evacuation station, then a field hospital, which was no more than a huge tent. “I was on a cot right by a German soldier,” he said. After two days, he was transferred to a civilian hospital in Holland to remove the shrapnel from his body.
“I spent 18 months in Europe,” Fisher said. “We met the Russian Army on May 6, 1945, on the Elbe River near Berlin.” He then received orders for re-deployment to Japan.
“The first bomb was dropped, and a couple of days later, the second was dropped.” The war ended in Europe in May, and then Japan surrendered unconditionally in August.
Fisher was part of the Honor Guard for President Harry Truman in July 1945 when Truman was en route to the Potsdam Conference to determine postwar boarders in Europe.
Fisher spent seven years in active duty and then 30 years on National Guard and Reserve duty, retiring from the latter on Oct. 9, 1979. “I had a family to support. It was also a duty and honor to serve.” His father encouraged him to stay in service to receive certain benefits and to attend Officer Candidate School.
A highlight of his military career was graduating with honors from Command General College Flight School in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan. He also attended Engineer School in Virginia and Artillery School in Oklahoma.
On Flag Day of this year, he received the Knight of the Legion of Honor medal from the French government. “That was quite an honor,” he said of the medal given as a tribute to soldiers who did so much for France and Western Europe during World War II.
In all, he spent 12 years as an enlisted man and in 1954 was commissioned an officer. Fisher retired as a colonel. He is still a full-time farmer, member of the Masons, sits on the Trimble County Soil Conservation Board, the Kentucky Farm Bureau Board, is a former member of the local school board, taught part-time, is a director for the Bedford Loan & Deposit Bank and is active at the Bedford United Methodist Church.
He was able to go on the Honor Flight on June 6, 2014, (ironically, D-Day was June 6, 1944), traveling from Louisville to Washington, D.C. Fisher was one of 80 World War II veterans selected from the Bluegrass Chapter and the only participant from Trimble County.
He visited three war memorials, one being the World War II memorial. “It was an honor to go on the flight,” said Fisher. “It was so impressive,” to see the World War II memorial.
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