Hudec, Harry.

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Hudec, Harry, born16-03-1922  in Cleveland the son of Jessie Hudec (1885–1946) . Harry enlisted in the Army on 24-10-1942 at the age of 20. He served with the 82nd Airborne Division, under command of Major General Matthew Bunker “Ols Iron Tits” Ridgway  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Headquarters Company” – US Signal Corps Archive”, under command of Major General Roy Ernest Lindquist Harry He jumped into Normandy at about 0130 on D-Day, June 6, 1944 for Operation Neptune. The 82nd’s mission was to destroy vital German supply bridges and capture causeways leading inland across the flooded areas behind the Normandy beaches where seaborne forces would land to gain control of roads and communications. More than 10,000 All-Americans landed by parachute and glider on June 6, 1944 as part of the greatest airborne assault in history.”The 508th was responsible for the Southwest quadrant of the 82nd Airborne sector in Normandy.Their primary targets were bridges over the Douve River, located at Brienville and Beuzeville-la-Bastille. Clouds and heavy anti-aircraft fire caused the formations to break up and many of the planes to stray off course. The confusion was also compounded by the Wehrmarcht’s presence in the scheduled drop zones. This prevented the pathfinders from marking them and delayed many pilots from flashing the jump lights until they had overshot the drop zones. Both the 507th under command of Colonel Edson Duncan Raff and 508th were scattered over the Normandy countryside.” (82nd Airborne).

On June 15th, during fighting on Hill 30, Hudec was wounded in the leg and sought refuge at a farm. The family hid him in their stable and cared for him for four days until the farmer warned him that “the Bosch are coming”. Harry hobbled down the road and was fortunate to meet up with other Americans who then had him evacuated.Harry remained friends with the farmer and family over the years and visited the farm on 06-06-2004 during the D-Day Plus 60 observation.Hudec went on to jump into Holland as part of Operation Market-Garden and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

This picture was most likely taken in April, 1945, Frankfurt, Germany, during practice jumps. Harry, who was also a boxing champion, with an extraordinary physique for a paratrooper since he measured 2.07 m. (6ft 8inch), jumped again our Holland on September 17th and survived the fierce fighting in the Ardennes. The Battle of the Ardennes, also known as the Ardennes Offensive, was the last major offensive by the German Wehrmacht on the Western Front in World War II. The battle took place in the Ardennes, from December 16-12-1944 to 25-01-1945, and was won by the Allies. In the English-speaking world, this battle is known as the Battle of the Bulge, because the front line was in the shape of a bulge or pocket.  Ready for a practice jump, note that Harry is wearing a captured German canvas MP40 machine pistol magazine pouch for use with his M1A1 Thompson magazines. On his shoulder he has his Airborne 1st Aid packet strapped to his web gear and his parachute is the updated T-7 with quick release.His combat uniform is the M43 OD set with rigger modified canvas pockets on his trousers. On his left jump boot his M3 fighting knife is strapped to his ankle in typical Airborne fashion and he is holding his M1C Parachutist’s helmet.

Death and burial ground of Hudec, Harry.

In this Sunday, May 30, 2004, file image, World War II veteran Corporal technician Harry Hudec of Cleveland, Ohio, salutes as the last post is played as he attends the 60-year commemoration service ahead of Memorial Day at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, southern Netherlands. With the help of volunteers in the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States scouring newspaper archives and other sources, the Faces of Margraten project of Dutch historian Sebastiaan Vonk has so far uncovered photos of more than 7,500 of the U.S servicemen and women buried or commemorated at Margraten. They were due to be displayed next to graves in Margraten this week as Europe commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19 coronavirus related measures. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

 After the war Harry returned to Cleveland, Ohio. On 19-06-1946 he married Dorothy J. Stevens of Sedalia, Missouri. The couple had three children, numerous grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Harry retired from the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company after 43 years of service and was an active member of the Solon VFW. (Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer).Harry Hudac died on 28-03-2007 at the age of 85, in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, USA. Harry lies in rest at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Sedalia, Missouri.

Message(s), tips or interesting graves for the webmaster:    robhopmans@outlook.com

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