Hodes, Henry, born 19-03-1899 in Washington D.C, the son of Harry Ketcham Hodes and Mary Sophie Shaw. Around 1900 his father moved his medical practice to Houston, Texas. Hodes completed high school in 1918, and entered the U. S. Military Academy in June 1918, and graduated from the accelerated wartime course on 02-07-1920. General Hodes began his military career in the horse mounted cavalry, in the Wyoming and Texas wilderness. He led the US Army into the mechanized age of trucks, cars, jeeps, tanks, and airplanes. He attempted flying, but gave it up after a couple of crashes. His military career accelerated in World War II, which found him in the middle of war planning in Washington DC. He was wounded twice in WW-II, while serving with the 112th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “Sixteenth Pennsylvania” in France and Belgium. The Combat Team inflicted 1600 casualties and destroyed 18 tanks during nine days of continuous action, which later became known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” The Regiment was awarded battle streamers marked Normandy, Northern France, Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, and Central Europe for their service in World War II. The unit was also awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their actions during the Battle of the Bulge, 16–24 December 1944. He returned to the war after receiving a shoulder wound, but was sent back to the US after receiving a head wound , on 20-09-1944, which required hospitalization and the Purple Heart.
The Purple Heart (PH) is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the president to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after 05-04-1917, with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York.
It is one of the most recognized and respected medals awarded to members of the U.S.armed forces. Introduced as the “Badge of Military Merit” by General George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart is also the nation’s oldest military award. Inmilitary terms, the award had “broken service,” as it was ignored for nearly 150 yearsuntil it was re-introduced on 22-02-1932, on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. The medal’s plain inscription “FOR MILITARY MERIT” barelyexpresses its significance.
Hodes became a Brigadier General on 25-01-1945. After serving in the Korean War, he returned to Germany. His service in post-war Europe was vital in the rebuilding efforts and designing defensive strategies opposite the communist Russians in East Germany and the Czech Republic, during the early 1950s. In Korea, he was given the nickname, “Hammering Hank”.
Death and burial ground of Hodes, Henry Irving “Hammering Hank”.
He served first as a field commander and later as a representative at Panmunjom – the Armistice Agreement with North Korea. He served more than 40 years in the US Army. He suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and died at the age of 62 on 14-02-1962. On 09-07-1925, Hodes married Laura Celeste Taylor and had two daughters and one son, Colonel John Taylor Hodes, US Army (Ret). John served in Korea and 3 consecutive tours of duty in Vietnam. Colonel. Hodes, Purple Heart recipient, passed away on 09-04-2012 at his home near Austin, Texas. He was 85.
Henry Irving Hodes is buried in Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio, Texas. Close by the grave of Lieutenant General and the commander of the U.S. Army’s XI Corps, Charles Hall and Commanding officer of the 69th Infantry Division, “Fighting 69th ” , which became a first unit to contact Russian army, near the river Elbe, Commanding officer of the 69th Infantry Division, Emil Reinhardt. The shoulder sleeve insignia of the division was designed by its then commander Major General, Charles Lawrence Bolte
with the red, white and blue being the colours of the United States forming a “6” and a “9”. The nickname “Fighting 69th” has no heraldic significance, but simply conveys the esprit de corps of the division. Casualties figures for the 69th Infantry Division, European theather of Operations, total battle casualties, 1.506 and total deaths in battle, 384, in 86 days of combat.
As Brigadier General M. N. Huston recalled, Hodes was “a fearless forthright leader, always conspicuous on the battlefield, with a flare for instilling confidence” among his troops. ” Hodes deeply loved the horse cavalry, and was an accomplished polo player and a prize-winning rider in equestrian competitions.
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