WILLIAMSPORT, Md. (WDVM) — Harry “Buck” Cline traded his dairy farm life in for laying down his life on the line for the United States.
Cline, now 96 years old, was born in Williamsport in 1923. After spending several years working on dairy farms across Washington County, he joined the United States Army.
“I worked 12 months on this side and taking maneuvers and 20 months overseas,” Cline said.
During World War II, the U.S. was an ally of China, Cline’s work involved protecting the China, Burma and India Theater, which most people call CBI theater.
“We’d protect the Burma road, keep the Japanese from coming up to China,” Cline said.
The CBI theater was a military designation during the war. While Americans at home were thrilled at newspaper headlines of the D-Day victory on June 1944, Cline and his comrades secured roadways and faced many monsoons overseas.
Cline said so many emotions and outcomes were going through his mind, like the fact that he might not make it back home.
But Cline returned back to the states in 1945. He settled down in Washington County where he married his wife and raised four children.
“It’s pretty awesome to think about, that [my] father and thousands of other people from our country went over and sacrificed themselves, for the benefit that we can actually stand here today,” said Mike Cline, Harry’s son.
Mike and Jeff Cline, two of Harry’s sons, say that their father’s dedication and work ethic created a sense of leadership within their family.
“Well one of the traits is the ability, the hard work ethic and how humble he is,” said Jeff. “You hear very little talk about his war experience but he just came back and raised four kids and a wife and gave us a better life.” Jeff is also the president of the Washington County Commission.
Cline received a certificate of appreciation from the 51st governor of Maryland, Herbert O’Connor. He acknowledged his service in the Chinese combat command. He also received a letter of recognition from the president at the time, Harry S. Truman.
Even with all of his achievements, his sons say Harry does not talk about his time overseas.
“Actually he’s been very quiet about that, with most of us, because of all the difficult memories that you would face during war,” said Mike.
But, they also say his father is a great example for communities. “My father is a great example to the communities that he grew up in because of his dedication to war and dedication to family,” Mike said.