Brooks Speer recognized in Lubbock TX newspaper
When Cpl. James Brooks Speer, G/393, was on patrol in Belgium near Krinkelt and later was being escorted across Germany to POW camp, the subject of medals didn't cross his mind.
Nearly 60 years later his wife of 56 years, Beulah, became curious about her husband's past service, the awards which were presented, and recognition.
She wrote a tribute, "A Day To Be Remembered."
It was read during a ceremony of recognition held in March at Lubbock TX. The newspaper told the story of an infantryman's existence and listed the medals which were presented.
He had never received public recognition prior to the newspaper article.
Although Speer had been wounded by an artillery "tree burst" he stayed on the front line, in his foxhole, and became a point man for his unit.
He was sent on patrol, to locate the enemy position, when they let him and a lieutenant get through before surrounding them. The two Americans were captured. The area was devastated by American artillery, but Speer was not hit. A French soldier in the German army took him to the rear. They walked three days.
While in POW camp, at Flamershein, he became acquainted with Harry Goldstein of New York. "Of course, we called him Smith," Speer said.
Goldstein spoke German and helped contact local residents, while on work detail, who provided extra food.
On April 12, he well remembers the day, an American tank battalion liberated them.
Speer was recognized at an official ceremony held March 2, 2002, at the National Guard Armory in Lubbock.
Although it was a bitter cold day with blowing wind, more than 50 family members and friends attended. They sat in silence, then a large door was opened and more than 200 soldiers joined them.
All stood at attention as the colors were presented.
Colonel Henry presided, along with Captain Stark who presented a biographical sketch on Speer's service. The colonel then awarded the medals: Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, POW medal, Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and the European campaign ribbon with a bronze battle star. Speer also is entitled to several other foreign awards, including the Belgian Fourrageres.
The medals were promply pinned on the 99th veteran and his photo was taken by the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal which appeared along with the story.
It truly was "A day to remember," said his wife Beulah.