Interview with World War II veteran Bill Holland

Veterans Voices

Bill Holland was drafted into the U.S. Army in late 1943 when his deferment as a farmer expired.

Two days after he arrived at the front lines along the German border in February 1945, he was wounded by shrapnel from an enemy mortar round. Looking at his right arm that had been sliced open, Holland thought the war was over for him.

“I thought I had a million dollar wound, and the Army would send me home,” said Holland, who is now 95. “But I was wrong.”

The medics sewed up the wound and told him to rejoin his unit with Lt. General George Patton’s Third U.S. Army. However, Patton was moving so fast to cross the Rhine River into Germany that there wasn’t room on the trucks for returning veterans like Holland. There was only room for gasoline and ammunition.

“So I was on vacation,” laughed Holland, who spent several weeks in the rear, eating three hot meals a day and sleeping on a cot instead of eating cold C-Rations and sleeping in a cold, wet foxhole. By the time he caught up with Patton, the war was over.

“I got wounded,” Holland said, “but I never fired a shot with my rifle.”

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