Army veteran Gale Black earned three purple hearts and a bronze star when he served in France.
Today, the decorated veteran still gets emotional remembering the long recovery from his injuries.
After graduating from Wichita’s East High School, Tank Commander Gale Black took the Army enlistment exam.
He passed and wanted to be a pilot for the U.S. Army Air Forces.
But it was a time when pilots weren’t needed so Gale said he’d take the Army.
A member of Patton’s Third Army, Gale’s Fourth Armored Division was a part of the battle at Falaise Pocket in August of 1944.
“That was Eisenhower’s scheme get him to southern England and form a huge army, Patton’s Army was comprised of I don’t know how many tank divisions but my Fourth Armored Division was the first tank,” explains Gale.
American forces would team up with Canadian, Polish and British forces to surround the Germans at Falaise, France.
“Fourth Armored Division of which I’m a member was there and two of the purple hearts are from trying to keep the Gerrys out of my way,” says Gale.
Gale would earn a third purple heart while patrolling the Saar River, looking to capture Germans trying to get out of France.
He would be wounded while getting blasted out of his tank and would endure 15 months of recovery.
Much of that time he wasn’t able to get ahold of his family to let them know he was safe.
It’s something that still bothers him today.
“I tried to tell my dad and mom I was OK,” says Gale. “I couldn’t.”
Gale treasures a replica of the tank he traveled in across France.
“The Gerrys escaped, I did my part and I’m happy,” he states.
After the war, Gale would start work as a teller at Wichita Federal Savings and Loan.
He would stay there and later became the bank president.
Gale can still recall many of the memories from his time serving his country.
“I have enough of those things there,” he says, looking at his medals. “They don’t buy bread or anything like that but I’m proud of them.”
Gale would also get married and have two kids.
Next month he and his wife will celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary.
Gale’s wife visits him almost every day.