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WWII veteran recalls service across Eurpoe

VIF LEOPOLDO HERRERA.jpg
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 19:21:11-04

PREMONT, Texas — Many stories shared by the ‘Greatest Generation’ often involve tales of combat with the enemy, but one Premont man’s stories are of saving lives, not taking them.

Leopoldo Herrera was 22 years old when he was drafted. He was training at Fort Benning, Georgia, when someone else made a decision which likely saved his life.

“They gave me an ambulance, but no gun,” Herrera said.

Serving with the 315th Medical Battalion, Herrera drove an ambulance; and while he didn’t fight himself, he saw more than his share of the horrors of war.

“We had to get the casualties, put them in the ambulance,” Herrera said. “That was the worst part of my job.”

Herrera and his unit were part of the Allied advance across Europe in the weeks following D-Day. He was at the Battle of the Bulge and worked his way across the Rhineland into Central Europe.

Then in May of 1945, the news he had waited for: the war was over.

“I was happy because I knew I was going to see my family again,” Herrera said.

He came home to Premont and the house he left three years earlier. That house still stands today, though Herrera now lives next door.

He and his wife Consuelo had five children, who are all proud of their father and what he did for our country.

“Had a beautiful time, very happy, very nice living,” Herrera said.

Herrera was the Grand Marshall for Premont’s 2022 Independence Day parade. At 102-years-old, he’s part of a large group of WWII veterans who’ve lived past their 100th birthday.

That group which won’t be with us forever, so thank them while you can.

More Veterans In Focus stories are available here, along with resources for local veterans.

Contact Veterans In Focus reporters: Greg Chandler at greg.chandler@kristv.com and Pat Simon at pat.simon@kristv.com