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Dan
07-21-2008, 12:20
Veteran and Former POW honored
10th SFG(A) Public Affairs Office

FORT CARSON, Colo. (Sine Pari, July 17, 2008) – The 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) hosted a recognition ceremony July 15 for William A. Kummer, a World War II veteran and former Prisoner of War.

Kummer received a Certificate of Patriotism from the 10th SFG (A) command, accompanied by an American Flag that was flown over the Special Operations Task Force – Central command in Baghdad, Iraq, May 24, 2007; representing all those who have fought and perished defending freedom.

Kummer’s daughter, Rhonda Miller, who attended the ceremony with her family, wrote about his military career in a biography read at the ceremony.

‘Bill received his notice to report for induction into the United States Army, May 5, 1943 in Portland, Oregon. He completed his training and displayed a high aptitude for mechanics; finally assigned as a rotation replacement to join the 408th Anti Tank unit in Italy.

He was supposed to join his outfit on the front lines north of Naples, but there was no transportation available to get him there. Unable to work in his primary specialty as a mechanic, he was reassigned as an infantryman. He was permanently assigned to the 88th Infantry Regiment and followed behind their campaigns through Anzio and Cassino when he finally joined them northwest of Florence.

On October 13, 1944, Kummer was wounded in battle and captured by the Germans. He was taken on a five day train ride to Dachau, Germany; finally arriving at Stalag 7A in Moosberg, Germany.

After seven months of internment, Kummer was liberated from the prison camp by American troops on April 29, 1945. He was taken to Regensburg, Germany where he waited for five days before being flown to a Paris, France hospital, where the former POWs were met with an honor guard and red carpet.

Kummer had weighed 180 pounds when he was captured, but arrived in Paris weighing 110 pounds. By this time, the wound in his leg had become so infected that doctors had contemplated amputation, however after finally arriving in a Louisville, Ky., Hospital, he started a healing process which ended up saving his leg.

His final destination was Madigan Hospital in Fort Lewis, Wash., where he spent the next nine months in recovery.

The Army wanted to give Kummer a medical discharge, but he didn’t want to be labeled a cripple. Three months after he was recovered, he reported for duty to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. When his military record was examined, they quickly realized that he had twice as many points as necessary to receive an honorable discharge and he was immediately sent to the discharge center.

During his out-processing he was notified that his advancement to Private 1st Class had been overlooked and would now be given to him. It was

Kummer asked if the promotion would be retroactive and was told that the pay raise would be for just his last month in the service. He told the sergeant that “he had spent the last three years as a private, and if he accepted all that rank it might just go to his head!”

Kummer received a letter from President Harry S. Truman thanking him for his service Feb. 21, 1946 and he was discharged the next day. Kummer received his Purple Heart within the first year of his discharge. Forty-five years later, he was notified that due to an oversight, he would be awarded another Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.’

According to Kummer, he has never seen himself as a hero or an unusually brave man. His experience of being captured allowed him to see an enemy who was just like him: young and scared. He questions the blind loyalty or devotion that often describes patriotism. Instead, he sees his service through his eyes as a young man; who took his duty seriously and had the courage to accept the responsibilities of an infantryman.

Present for the ceremony was Kummer’s wife of 60 years, Jeanne, and their daughter’s family. Kummer’s daughter is married to Tom Miller of Colorado Springs who is a director for The Home Front Cares, Inc.

Miller and another director started the Welcome Home Global War on Terrorism Heroes Fund, which became part of The Home Front Cares, Inc. April 23, 2007. The fund is an organization that supports homecoming activities of troops based in the Colorado Springs area following their return from an active theatre of operations.

--sine pari--