My father, Vivian Adams Wadford, passed at the early age of 49. Like most WW II vets, he never spoke of the war. If he did, it was usually to my mother and she would only occasionally mention some stories. One story I recall was he had picked up a small bunny and carried it around as a pet when one night while sleeping in a foxhole the rabbit jumped on his chest and woke him and he discovered the German soldiers were stabbing his fellow soldiers with their bayonets while they slept.
A few years ago I borrowed my mother’s family photos so I could scan and digitize them and make a copy for my siblings. It was then I discovered some pictures of him in the Navy and some of him in the Army. Yes, he served in both branches. At a young age he ran away from home because of his abusive step-father and joined the Navy. His ship was in Pearl Harbor and after his Naval discharge the attack occurred. Several of his ship mates died and he went and joined the Army to become a paratrooper.
The first photo is what got me to learn more about my Dad. On the back of the photo it states that it was taken in the Huertgen Forest by a Lt. Col. Krause. Since I had little knowledge of the war, I did an internet search and discovered it was the seventh most lethal American battle with an estimated number of Americans killed exceeding 12,000. I also learned that there is a museum called, The 1944 Hürtgen Forest Museum
I emailed the museum and this photo asking if anyone could help me identify the church he stood near. A few weeks had passed and Mr. Albert Trostorf, the mayor of the town of Langerwehe-Merode wrote me stating it was the parish church St. Jozef in Vossenack, Germany. Here is what I learned of my father: His assignments were:
European-African-Middle Eastern Theater;Naples-Foggia Campaign (101st); Operation Overlord;D-Day; Normandy; Sainte-Mere-Eglise (82nd);Rhineland Campaign; Operation Market Garden; Battle of the Bulge; Ardennes; Germany Occupation-Berlin, His Decorations: WW II Victory Medal, Battle of the Bulge Medal, Good Conduct; Overseas Bars, Combat Infantry, Sharpshooter, 4 year service, D-Day Medal, American Campaign, Bronze Star; Bronze Service Arrowhead, Purple Heart, D-Day participation in Normandy & Operation Market Garden, Order of Wm by Kingdom of Netherlands, French Croix de guerre Fourrmagere, Belgian Fourragere, I would of never known of his feats if I not found this photo. He has his uniform and photos on display in the museum.