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Honoring Our Heroes

James Manley: Battle of the Bulge Hero

Jim Manley served in the United States Army February, 1944 November,1947, seeing action in the Italian Campaign during WWII. The Allied troops suffered 320,000 casualties and the Germans’ figure was over 330,000. No other campaign cost more lives and wounds by infantry forces on both sides, yet Jim came through unscathed. His infantry unit continued fighting in liberating France, and he participated in the Battle of the Bulge with General George Patton’s 16th Infantry Division. During one 110 mile trek, he wore burlap bags on this feet to prevent frost bite. After the Germans surrendered and during the occupation of Germany, he served at Neuremberg, Germany. When WWII was completed, he was discharged at the rank of Technical Sargeant, the third highest rank among enlisted personnel having been promoted from the rank of Private when he enlisted.

Jim was born at Double Springs, AL, to his parents, J. W. Manley and Alice Davis Manley June 29, 1927. When Jim was fifteen, his father moved the family to the Birmingham area to work in the steel mills. Jim completed the 10th grade at Woodlawn. His Mother signed his enlistment papers permitting him to volunteer in the Army at the age of only 17. He received training for fighting with armored divisions at training/embarkment centers, Camp Polk, LA., Camp Kilmer, N.J. and Camp Pickett, VA, where he learned how to disembark from the side of ships to the landing ships for amphibious landings.

After his discharge from the Army, Jim returned to AL and then went to TX where he worked on a pipeline. His parents moved to Montgomery, and Jim came to Montgomery where he met his wife, Ann Brown. They are celebrating 64 years of marriage in March, and they have three children including two daughters and one son, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Jim worked as a truck mechanic for eight years and as a driver of 18 wheeled trucks for 30 years. He and Ann are members of the Yarbrough Street Baptist Church. When Jim describes his memories of his service to his nation during WWII, he says, “It was one hell of an experience. I had some good times and some bad times. Sometimes it would be three weeks and no good times. I wouldn’t take anything for going.”

Charles E. Lynn

Charles E. Lynn is a WWII hero who served in the Eighth United States Army Air Corps in the 381st Bombardment Group as a gunner in the turret in the bottom of the B17 Flying Fortress flying 35 missions from England over Germany without injury. Lynn received six air medals including five clusters given for single action of heroism or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight and three Presidential Unit Citations given for extraordinary heroism given for action against an armed enemy on or after December 7, 1941. Lynn states, “I served my country. I would do it again.”

Charles E. Lynn was born in 1925 in Montgomery, Alabama. Upon graduation from Montgomery’s Lanier High School, he joined the U. S. Army Air Corps. He and his wife, Jonnie, were married 66 years before she passed away. They had four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

After WWII, Lynn returned to Alabama and attended Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) and graduated from Howard College (Samford University) with a B. A. Degree in business administration. He worked in sales for the Cudahy Packing Company and Mid-South Packing Company selling beef. He then started Lynn’s Letters, a sign company.

Lynn is an active member of First Baptist Church of Montgomery. His ministry includes rising early before daylight two days each week, picking up bread from six bakeries and delivering it to the Caring Center at First Baptist Church of Montgomery where the bread is given to indigent people. In addition, he assists in the preparations and dispersal of aid to these people at the Church. He is also active serving people through the Salvation Army. When he is not volunteering in the community, Lynn is an avid golfer and bridge player.

Edward Paul Schroeder

Edward Paul Schroeder is a 95 year-old WWII U. S. Army Air Corps veteran who survived service in the Pacific Theater. Paul Schroeder was a student in his senior year in Wetumpka High School, Wetumpka, AL, when he was drafted in January, 1943, into the U. S. Army Infantry. He was trained for 13 weeks in heavy weapons including machine guns and mortars. Because so many American pilots were being shot down, there arose a critical need to train more pilots. Schroeder switched from the Infantry to the Army Air Corps. He was among two-hundred soldiers who were sent to West Virginia to wait for three months for orders to be trained as a pilot at Maxwell Field, the Southeast Air Corps Training Center, at Montgomery, AL. He received primary pilot training at Georgia, and he was the first man in his class to receive his wings to fly a bi-plane; however after 15 hours of basic training, Schroeder was hospitalized after suffering a severe heat-stroke which prevented him from moving out with his pilot-training class.

Schroeder’s service in the remainder of WWII was in the Army’s Air Transport Command. He was sent to California where he was trained to be responsible for transporting everything and everyone located in the area behind the pilot in the C-56’s. Schroeder and his crews would take supplies to the United States forces in the islands in the Pacific Theater including Guam, the Philippine Islands and Iwo Jima and then bring wounded Americans back to their homeland to receive medical care. Often when his planes landed on those islands, the crews viewed hundreds of dead Japanese still lying where they had perished, and he also has vivid memories of American Naval ships being sunk immediately after flying over them as combat was still going on there.

When the Japanese surrendered in August, 1945, Schroeder was discharged and returned to his hometown where he graduated from high school. He became engaged to his wife, Eleanor Wamsley, whom he had met while stationed at West Virginia. They were married for 62 years, and they had two daughters and one son followed by five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Schroeder’s civilian life began when he used the G. I. Bill to graduate in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, AL, working in his field for Westinghouse for 31 years. After retirement, he and Eleanor returned to the Wetumpka area where he built a house in a scenic, wooded location in the foothills of the majestic Appalachian Mountains. There he raised rabbits to sell, put in a catfish pond and raised vegetables in a large garden. He received an award from the Wetumpka Lions Club for his leadership in building a rest-room facility in the Wetumpka Community Park. He and Eleanor were very active in the Wetumpka First United Methodist Church where he taught Sunday School, and they served in the Central AL Emmaus Community. He worked briefly for the City of Wetumpka as the City Building Inspector for new buildings.

Schroeder concludes about his WWII military service saying, “I felt honored and very fortunate to have lived through it.”


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