Latest News Concerning the 70th

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World War II Veteran Receives France's Highest Decoration

by Tech. Sgt. Mike Andriacco
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs


2/16/2012 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- A World War II veteran and local resident received the distinction of the French Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, or National Order of the Legion of Honor, by the consul general of France in Louisiana during a ceremony Feb. 10, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

Mr. William V. Hines was named French Knight in the order of the Legion of Honor (Chevalier de la légion d'honneur) by a decree signed by Nicolas Sarkozy, president of the French Republic.


Bill Hines (C/276) on left, and Consul General for France in New Orleans Mr. Jean-Claude Brunet.

The honor, France's highest distinction, was bestowed by Mr. Jean-Claude Brunet, the consul general of France, based in New Orleans.

"It is a great honor for me to pay a special tribute to an American Soldier and hero," Brunet said. "More than 60 years ago, [Hines] risked his young life for the freedom of France and Europe, and for the values he so strongly believed in."

Brunet spoke about how Hines played a role in freeing the last German-occupied city in the Alsace region of France. Of the 166 men in Hines's unit in the campaign to liberate the city of Wingen and capture the objective known as Hill 403, only 28 men were able to walk out under their own power. The rest were killed or severely wounded in action.

Brunet went on to say Hines would be France's hero forever. He said that standing there as a representative of a proud and free country in a united and democratic Europe was thanks to the efforts of Hines and his fellow soldiers.

"The French people will never forget what you and your comrades, some of them present here today, did to restore our freedom," he said. "You are the hero of a strong and lasting history of Franco-American friendship."

Hines was then presented the medal and a signed proclamation granting him the honor.

"I accept the Legion of Honor today with great pride," Hines said. "Today brings back many memories of when I was at the age of 18 and served with the 70th Infantry Division, C Company, 276th regiment, arriving one day before the Battle of the Bulge."

He remembered the cold those days, many of which were well below zero degrees, vividly.

"I promised myself, if I ever got back to Louisiana, I would never complain about the cold again," Hines said.

After the ceremony, a small reception was held in Hines's honor and Brunet proposed a toast.

"Mr. Hines tells me he is no hero," Brunet said. "But to me, he is a hero."

Hines and his wife returned to France three times since then, one of which was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of France. After the war, he continued his dedication to service by working as the director of a nursing home, fulfilling a vow he made to God.

"Back in the foxhole there in Germany, I had a feeling I wasn't going to make it home," he recalled. "I asked the Lord, 'If you let me get home, I'll serve you.' I've tried my best to keep my part of the bargain."

Article courtesy of the Barksdale Air Force Base



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Repatching of 70th Unit

In late June a group of about 50 Trailblazers and family members visited Belgium and France. Below is a picture of the  three tour guides! For more pictures click here.


Left to right: Lise Pommois, John Rogers and Diane Kessler.


Brumath train station



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Repatching of 70th Unit

On December 11, 2009 RTC-W conducted a patch changing ceremony
at Fort Hunter Liggett in California.



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Son Writes of Journey to Father's Battlefield

John Davis, whose dad Durley Davis served with B/275, recently wrote an article of his trip to visit the battlefields where his dad fought. The article was recently printed in the Stars and Stripes. John works for the State Department and his currently in Germany. To view the article click here!



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Monument Committee Chairman Vern Staley of Stayton (R) and Major Gen. Chris Ingram (L) of the 70th RRC in Fort Lawton, Wash., uncover the monument Tuesday at the former site of Camp Adair. (Photo: Jesse Skoubo/Democrat-Herald)

Monument Honors Camp Adair Division
Tuesday, May 19

Eleven members of the 70th Infantry Division activated at Camp Adair in 1943 returned Tuesday afternoon for a re-dedication of a monument honoring their service in Europe.

The red granite memorial was placed in the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area northwest of Albany, near the former camp’s headquarters. Fifty-three people attended the 45-minute ceremony organized by Vern Staley of Stayton, who served with the division.


The Army donated the monument, which had stood at Fort Lawton, Wash. The fort is to be closed, so it was decided the best place to move it was to old Camp Adair.

Major Gen. Chris Ingram, a commander from Fort Lawton, attended the rededication.

“I could not be more proud to stand amongst you today,” he said. The general said six members of the 70th Division have been killed in Iraq and Afghhanistan.

Jim Willis of Albany, director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs in Salem, also spoke. “There are 351,000 veterans in Oregon,” he said. “When you honor a veteran anywhere, you honor a veteran everywhere.”

Willis’ parents met at a USO function at Camp Adair.

“I’m so proud to see this piece of history preserved for one of the most courageous divisions in history,” he said.

Former state Rep. Jeff Kropf thanked the veterans for going to war “to keep us free.”

Kropf explained the symbols on the monument, the same the 70th wore on their uniforms. The 70th was called the Trailblazers. Their shoulder patch was red, and a white ax head was superimposed on the background. Below the ax is a replica of Mount Hood, and a green fir tree stands to the side.

Veteran Dale Bowlin of Vancouver, Wash., said the monument was very impressive. “They did a great job,” he said.

Robert P. Newman of Portland also attended. While at Camp Adair, he was responsible for “getting all of the soldiers packed off” to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri before they went overseas.

In Europe, the division took part in the fight to stop the German winter offensive in 1944. In mid-January 1945, the soldiers moved south toward Saarbruecken, where they carried out reconnaissance and combat patrols, eventually pushing through the Siegfried Line.

(Used with Permission)



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17,000 Could Get Purple Heart Under New Policy
(AP) -- Dated Oct. 6, 2008: An estimated 17,000 deceased U.S. prisoners of war could be awarded Purple Hearts under a new Pentagon policy announced Monday.

Purple Hearts are awarded to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines wounded by enemy action. But the awards have been denied in the past to POWs who died in captivity if it could not be proven they had been wounded or killed by the enemy.

The revised policy announced Monday by the Defense Department presumes such deaths were the result of enemy action unless compelling evidence is presented to the contrary.

The new policy is retroactive to Dec. 7, 1941, the Defense Department said in a statement Monday.

Posthumous awards can be made to a family member or other representative of the deceased service member. Each branch of the military will announce the process for applying for the awards.

Family members with questions may contact the services: Army, (703) 325-8700; Navy, (314) 592-1150; Air Force, (800) 616-3775; Marine Corps, (703) 784-9340.

The Pentagon had been asked by Congress to review the old policy.



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70th Band Guideon Retirement
On September 7, 2008, Army Reserve Soldiers from the 70th Regional Readiness Command, Fort Lawton, Wash., conducted a guideon retirement ceremony for the 70th Army Band. The retirement ceremony was to honor the lineage and achievements of the deactivating unit. Read the whole story.



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Fred Dietz Receives Medal Ceremony
Monday, August 4, Fred Dietz (Hqs/276 I&R) received a medal pinning ceremony at the Belmont County courthouse in St. Clairsville, Ohio. More here...
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