Clarence Minor- World War II

Monday, November 12, 2007
Clarence Minor

Clarence Minor is a native of Marshall County, but some of his most vivid memories come from the time he spent in Europe. For over a year he and the other members of the 28th infantry were training in England, preparing for D Day. He wasn't in the first wave. It was 13 days after D Day when he landed at Omaha Beach and moved into the town of St Lo. "I said they ought to spell that 'Low' because they lowered everything in that town, bombed it, strafed it, just completely annihilated it," says Minor.

The 28th was part of the fighting of the hedgerow and was the first division that paraded under the Arc de Triomphe when Paris was liberated. When you look at that famous picture of the 28th marching, remember that at least one Marshall County man was among the soldiers.

On Sept. 20, 1944, the 28th infantry was pushing into the Ardennes forest. Pfc Minor was in an area close to the Siegfried line, near the border of Luxembourg, Belgium, and Germany when he was wounded the first time.

"Artillery shell, it hit me right in the left hip," says the veteran. Minor explains he wasn't aware how seriously he was injured at first. The medics just put sulfur powder on it and let him walk. "I walked about three-quarters of a mile back to the aid station. Then they tended to it. I woke up the next morning, I couldn't move." He feels the adrenaline in his body at the time kept him going. "Still a piece in there, right between where the hip bone attaches to the leg. They said it wouldn't give me any trouble, but they were afraid to go in after it. They might chip the bone."

He was flown to Birmingham, England to recover, but they sent him back in time for the Battle of the Bulge. "I was in the Siegfried line. Eisenhower was the general at the time. He had come up to our outfit. We were set down, a stationary outfit, to where we were just holding the line, not doing anything. He told [the officers] he had a surprise for them on the 16. The 16 is when [the Germans] started that break-through. Found out later that he was supposed to pull that outfit out…but [Eisenhower] didn't know that break-through was going to start. He meant a good surprise. He was going to pull our division out and come back to the States and parade through New York."

At that time, Minor had been in Europe pretty close to two years. "I was ready to come home, [but] it was probably the worst fighting we'd been in…. They pulled us off of the front line on Christmas Day and gave us a big, hot meal." He can't remember exactly what they had but says, "It was good; it was hot. It wasn't like in the can."

On Feb. 4 he was wounded a second time. He took some shrapnel in the face. This time they sent him back to the aid station, put some sulfur powder on it, and sent him back. At that point, he was just grateful that his wound wasn't worse. "Some boy back at the aid station, he'd stepped on a mine and it blew half of his foot off. It was something else."

He remembers, "We went up and took a hill right after that. [The] shells they was shooting at us with, they exploded and something hit me in the back. It was a big clod of mud. Artillery shells throwed that mud up and a big hunk of it hit me in the back. Thought I was hit again!"

Minor was awarded a Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster after being wounded. He has a number of other campaign ribbons, which his son, Robin Minor, cherishes and keeps together for him. "My dad has always been my hero," says Robin.