LISTEN to Dick Reiber on Hometown Heroes
93-year-old Dick Reiber of Kingsburg, CA appears on episode #355 of Hometown Heroes, debuting February 21, 2015. Reiber, born in Reeves, Georgia, spent time in Tennessee, Kentucky, California, and Oregon before enlisting in the Army in 1942.
Living near Salem, Oregon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Reiber was one of several volunteers to stand watch at night for enemy aircraft. After entering the Army, Dick volunteered for parachute infantry duty, but an illness made him unable to complete his training. He was reassigned to a glider infantry unit, with which he trained for close to a year in North Carolina. After being transferred to South Dakota, a rediscovery of his score on a mechanical aptitude test led to his being assigned to an Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Wisconsin. Listen to Hometown Heroes to find out why Dick is thankful for this assignment, and how it was that he came to meet his wife of 72 years, Lois.
You’ll also hear Dick explain how he went overseas in May, 1944, what it was that caused him to miss Operation Market Garden after he had been assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, and what he remembers about being trucked into the north end of the Battle of the Bulge near Liege, Belgium. On January 4, 1945, shrapnel from a German 88mm shell struck Dick in the arm and face, shattering his jaw. He left a trail of blood in the snow as he made it back to a medical aid man, beginning what would be more than two years worth of medical treatment and recuperation. He rarely wears his Purple Heart, but was convinced to pin it on before explaining his injuries in the video below. If you encounter this resilient World War II veteran, please thank him for serving our country. Thanks to Janet Goodreau for letting us know about Mr. Reiber and his story.