E.T. Roberts of Bakersfield, CA appears on the June 15, 2013 edition of Hometown Heroes, remembering his experiences with the 29th Infantry Division during World War II. A native Oklahoman with Cherokee roots, Roberts was drafted into the Army in 1943.
This photo of young infantryman E.T. Roberts hangs on the wall of his home in Bakersfield. For more photos relating to Mr. Roberts and his service, visit the Hometown Heroes facebook page.
Roberts spent 17 months in England, training for the invasion of Europe. You’ll find out why he almost drowned coming off of his landing craft at Omaha Beach, what he endured in that scene of destruction and devastation, and where he went from there. Of the more than 200 men in Company C, 116th Infantry Regiment, he only encountered 7 others that day who had survived. His Purple Heart would come after he survived a fusillade from a German “burp gun” at point blank range near St. Lo. You’ll hear Roberts remember five rounds fired his way, and find out where those bullets ended up.
You’ll recognize the Oklahoma flavor to his voice, and understand what he means when he describes war as “a stinkin’ thing.” He credits the hand of God for his survival and believes God still has plans for him as he enters his 90s. Earlier this year, Roberts had the opportunity to visit the World War II Memorial for the first time, thanks to Honor Flight Kern County.
Roberts’ son, Randy, was his guardian on the trip. Randy recently retired after 20 years as the baseball coach at Centennial High School in Bakersfield, producing 13 league titles, 3 Central Section crowns, and many star players, like major leaguer Brent Morel and former Fresno State All-American Dusty Robinson. Randy Roberts would have never been born if his dad hadn’t survived, miraculously as it was, his tour of duty in World War II. Wouldn’t it be great to see every World War II veteran have the opportunity E.T. Roberts had, to see the World War II Memorial? That is the mission of Honor Flight, and in addition to the Kern County hub of the national organization, our Central Valley hub is planning an inaugural flight for October, 2013. Check out cvhonorflight.org for more information.