Veteran Salute: Vet felt lucky to join the Army Coast Artillery in WWII

Veteran Salute

A Tribune, Kansas native enlisted in the Army in 1942 so he could avoid the draft. 

The Army quickly learned he was a great shot which gave him a ticket overseas.  

Wallace Winters saw a sign for the U.S. Army Coast Artillery and says it was the luckiest day of his life.

The man who the Marines said had a weak left eye would become an expert shot in the Army.

“We fired 16 rounds in 20 seconds, and I put 14 of them in the bullseye and two on the line. I didn’t do too well standing because the gun was heavy and I wasn’t used to a high powered rifle,” remembers Wallace.

The Army saw that Wallace was accurate shooting an M-1 so they upgraded him to a machine gun. 

In the fall of 1943, he first left for Africa to defend a port from German bombers. 

Then training started for the Italian invasion.

“I landed with the seabees as they took up the mines for the infantry to land,” says Wallace. “We were to protect them. We got seven guns on shore and were attacked by a German armored division.”

Wallace remembers being able to use Navy guns to fight back to be able to stay on shore. 

From Italy, he was armed with four barreled machine guns to invade southern France.

“We were in combat most of the time. I wasn’t shooting unless they needed some support,” explains Wallace.

Then it was on to Germany – where the Army had a different job for him.

He was a Forward Observer, meaning he worked to find out where the Germans had set up defensive positions and reported that back to the Allies.

“War is hell, but on the other hand, I was a farm boy who grew up out there in western Kansas, had no experience, nothing like that in my life. So it wasn’t that I enjoyed it, but it was exciting,” says Wallace.

Wallace would round out his tour of Europe in Austria.

“I remember entering into Austria, we were strafed by a German plane – the war was over two days before. We were strafed by a German hold out plane and my first sergeant was killed,” says Wallace.  “I’ll never forget that. Farragudo. Sgt. Farragudo.”

After the war, Wallace remembers entering the prison camp in Nordruff, Germany.

“I just remember all the dead bodies. I’d seen some terrible things in combat, but this was completely I just couldn’t understand it,” says Wallace.

Wallace says to this day he’s never been able to talk about what he saw.

He came back to the states in 1945, met his wife and brought her back to Tribune to work on the family farm.  

From there, he took his family to Wichita where he was a vet tech for 30 years. 

The couple has four boys and now Wallace enjoys being with his 19 grandkids and 11 great-grandkids.
 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Download the KSN News App and stay up-to-date wherever you are. You can even watch KSN News live for free!
Click here to get the app
Get it in the App store
Get it in the Google Play store

3 Day Forecast

KSN Storm Track 3 Weather

Trending Stories