I recently visited with Millard Schwartz whom I interviewed several years ago and whose story is featured in my first book, WWII Legacies: Stories of Northeast IN Veterans. Millard is a sweet man who always has a gentle smile on his handsome face. He is a humble but brave man who fought gallantly for our country and to free others from oppression.
Here is an excerpt from his story:
“I prayed every day God would let me see another day,” said Millard Schwartz of Berne, IN.
Schwartz was an American soldier during what was known as one of WWII’s most challenging conflicts—Battle of the Bulge. From December 1944 through February 1945 he and thousands of other Allied troops fought against the Germans in Belgium, resulting in the loss of many thousands of soldiers on both sides. “The Germans had built what was called the Siegfried Line,” said Schwartz. “This consisted of miles of stone cement fixtures with pill boxes behind which German soldiers hid to fire at us.”
Fighting a battle in Germany was a far cry from the peaceful life Schwartz had experienced as a farm boy in Adams County. Born in 1921 in Berne, he completed two years at Monroe High School before quitting to help his father on their 80-acre farm.
When the United States declared war on Japan in 1941, Schwartz was deferred for agriculture purposes, but that ended in November 1942 when he was drafted by the United States Army. Assigned to the 94th Infantry, he completed basic training at Camp Phillips in Kansas, practicing with live ammunition and 105 millimeter Howitzers.
Schwartz traveled to Tennessee to practice war games for 10 weeks. These were called the Tennessee Maneuvers. Upon receiving furlough in November 1943, he returned home to get married. “Betty and I had met on a blind date two years earlier,” he said. Schwartz rejoined the Army following the wedding, reporting for more training in Camp McCain, Mississippi. He and Betty never saw each other again until the war ended.
In July 1944 Schwartz’s 94th Division and 18,000 American troops sailed from New York harbor for Europe on the Queen Elizabeth. German submarines were sinking American ships and Private First Class Schwartz carried a Bible given to him by members of Gideons International for reassurance.
The story goes on to say that Schwartz fought at the Battle of the Bulge. He helped liberate Dachau (left photo has crematorium ovens) and reached Hitler’s retreat center called Eagle’s Nest outside of Berchtesgaden, Germany (right photo).
As my husband & I toured these areas in 2017 on a World War II trip, I’ve attached a couple of our photos from those areas.
These photos are part of a 45-minute talk I give to groups about our World War II tour of Europe. I’ve already spoken this year to hundreds of people at libraries, civic groups and history centers about what we learned and saw. View part of the talk here.
I can almost guarantee the sites and information you’ll see and hear will inspire you to appreciate more deeply our country’s freedoms and the people who have preserved them for us. If your group would like to have me speak, please contact me through this website.
WWII Legacies can be purchased through this site as well as at Amazon.
They Did It for Honor: Stories of American WWII Veterans, which contains 34 stories and 100+ photos, can be purchased at Amazon as well.
Thanks to Millard for his service and for being such a kind, Christian man to everyone who knows him! If you know a veteran, please thank him/her today for their service!