Each week in 2022 I will introduce a World War II veteran to readers by sharing an excerpted story from one of my 9 books. Go to my Amazon page to see the complete list.
Share your thoughts about these men and women who served our country from 1941-1945.
Did you know them or people like them?
Has someone from your family served in the military? If so, share information as you know it.
You can find more stories of World War II veterans at my blog by searching on the magnifying glass icon on the right side under ‘World War II.’
And check out my Youtube Channel (Kayleen Reusser World War II Veterans) for short videos of the veterans describing their military service. A new video is posted each Thursday as they are available. Please ‘Subscribe’ to these weekly segments and Like/ Share.
Thanks to all veterans reading this for your service. And thanks to your families as well!
Wallace Avey — U.S. Army Medic
As an Army medic during WWII, Wallace Avey participated in beach landings with his platoon on Manis and Las Negras Islands. During the battles, his medical outfit set up tents on the beaches so Avey and other members of the medical corps could treat injuries. Of course, this was all while being fired upon by the enemy.
Avey was born in 1921 in Jay County in Indiana. After graduating from high school in 1939, he worked on the railroad until he was drafted into the Army in 1942. The US had declared war on Japan following that country’s attack on Pearl Harbor and young men were recruited for military service.
Avey was made part of the medical evacuation corps and was sent to Camp Perry in Toledo, Ohio and Camp Grant in Illinois to learn about medicines and medical terminology.
In 1943 Avey was stationed at Hammond General Hospital in Modesto, California where he became ward master, a position that put him in charge of a section of the hospital.
Soldiers who had been wounded overseas were sent back to the United States to recover. One soldier arrived with half of his face blown off. “That was gruesome,” said Avey. “We treated him as well as we could.”
In October 1943 Avey and other soldiers left the States on a ship for New Guinea. “We were issued wool clothing to give the impression we were going to a cold place,” he said.
He and the other soldiers spent two months in the jungle practicing war maneuvers. He ate the same meals for 32 days – corn flakes, powdered milk for breakfast; hot dogs and sauerkraut for lunch. “I didn’t complain because I liked those foods,” he said.
In October 1944 Avey was re-located to a hospital in the Philippines. He administered transfusions and penicillin shots to patients with dysentery and other infections. The patients included Filipino civilians. “We treated everyone,” said Avey. “It was part of the rules of war.”
Avey was in the Philippines when the war ended in August 1945. Surrender by the Japanese emperor to Allies forces cancelled a major landing scheduled for his platoon in southern Japan. “I was glad we didn’t have to go through that,” he said.
For all of his experiences as a medic during combat, Avey received less pay than Army nurses.
Before leaving Japan, he obtained a 25-caliber Japanese rifle which he kept as a souvenir.
For his time in combat service Avey was awarded several medals, including four for battle and one each for service with the 8th Army-New Guinea, 6th Army-Philippines, and 58th Evacuation Hospital.
Upon returning the US, Avey married and lived in Ossian, Indiana.
“I wanted to enlist and serve my country,” he said. “I’m glad I got to participate in that part of our nation’s history.”