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Memories, by Henri S. Grenier

My name is Henri S. Grenier. Serial # RA6154076.

I was born in Lewiston, Maine, on 23 March 1921.  I was raised in a French Catholic orphanage, as times were tough in those days.  At the age of 15, I joined the Maine National Guard.  Then at age 17, I talked my Mom and Dad into signing so I could join the Army.  Eighteen was the age limit at that time.  I took my basic training at Ft. Slocum, New York, two times, because being raised in the orphanage and the only language allowed was French, I had a lot of problems understanding the commands given in English.

After basic I was sent to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and at the beginning of WWII was sent to several islands in the South Pacific with the 27th. Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds".  My commander was either CPT Claymon or CPT Claiborne, I can't remember which.  Our last training assignment was to New Zealand, where we waited for replacements.  Then as we were loaded onto ship headed for the Philippines, we received word that the war was over and we all went back home.

The funniest thing I remember, after returning to my home town Lewiston, I couldn't find my house.  I hadn't gone back there for the duration of the war and all the familiar landmarks had either been torn down or replaced.  I had to go to the police station to find out where my street was.

I met and married my wife Donna and we had three sons.  I missed the Army life, so I re-enlisted (this time, with my wife's approval).  I served two tours in Korea and two tours in Vietnam.  In between wars I was a drill instructor at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, which incidentally was my favorite job!  I felt very honored to be one who was able to guide and prepare those young men for what was to come.

My family and I are now residing in Copperas Cove, TX, which is just outside of Ft. Hood, so being a town with a lot of active and retired soldiers, several have approached me to thank me for my service and often refer to me as a hero.  I always tell them that the real heroes are the ones who never returned.

PS.  Of the 219 men in my unit at the beginning of WWI, only 19 of us survived.

VR

Henri S. Grenier

 

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