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Friday, May 6, 2016

Remembering World War II

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Raymond Hess, above, displays medals he earned for his service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
Raymond Hess, of Monett, is one of many local veterans who carries a story of his service in the Armed Forces. A frequent presence at Lacoba Homes in Monett, where his wife is a resident, Hess shared his story as a soldier earlier this year with his daughter, Janet McBride.

"When the war started, I was in high school," Hess said. "I graduated in 1942. After high school I went to work for Boeing until 1943 when I volunteered my draft number to serve immediately."

Hess joined the Army in June 1943 and did his infantry training at Fort McClelland, Ala., where he stayed additional weeks to receive specialized instruction. With the beginning of the German counter-offensive in the Battle of the Bulge after the allied invasion of Europe, Hess took a transport ship to Italy and joined the 85th Infantry, Company B, of the 338th Regiment.

"Four of my six brothers also served in the military," Hess said. "Two of them served at the same time I did. Ed was in the South Pacific and also served in the Aleutian Islands close to Alaska. Dan served in the South Pacific and was injured and returned to the United States on a hospital ship. My two younger brothers, Cliff and John, served after World War II was over."

Hess fought in three major campaigns in Italy, including Rome/Arno, North Apennines and Po Valley.

"While serving in Italy, I lived in an extreme range of temperatures from 40 degrees below zero to over 100 degrees," said Hess. "I had frost bite in my feet and contracted malaria. My belief in God was such a comfort when I sometimes found myself alone, awaiting replacement troops."

Hess was injured in the North Apennines in October 1944. He received a Purple Heart and later a Bronze Star for service in the campaign. After recovering from his injuries, Hess returned to the 338th Regiment, his original infantry division.

"I returned to the United States after the end of the war in Italy, arriving on Sept. 2, 1945 at Camp Patrick Henry, Va.," Hess said. "I returned to my home on furlough. I arrived home the same day my brother Ed arrived. They were expecting Ed, but I was 'missing in action.' The family didn't know if I was dead or alive for 18 months. It was a comfort to be able to talk to both of my brothers who had served as we grieved together for the heroes who never were able to return to their homes and families."

Following his furlough, Hess reported to Fort Leonard Wood and was discharged on Nov. 7, 1945. He received a Combat Infantry Badge, a Rifle Marksmanship Badge, three major campaign stars, the Good Conduct Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

Hess went on to get marry to Ruby Lee Wallace in 1947 and have four children. He took a job with the Gas Service Company in 1948 and retired in 1988.

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Hello Ray,

We just want to commend and thank you for your service to our country during WW2. It was good to see this deserving article of a good Gas Service Co.friend in the MONETT TIMES.

I am sorry for Ruby's illness and hope she is showing progress--please give her our best wishes for recovery. May God bless you both.

Your friends,

The Masur Family

-- Posted by Caromoo on Fri, Nov 12, 2010, at 12:21 PM

I am very proud of my father. He is not only our hero (us kids') but is completely devoted to our mother. She, too, I am proud of.....together they taught four children the value of life and love and set good examples for us to live a Christian lifestyle. Thank you, Monett Times, for putting his story in on this very special day for a very special man.........my father.......Ray Hess.

Janet McBride

-- Posted by janmc51 on Fri, Nov 12, 2010, at 9:11 PM

Thanks to the Monett Times for publishing this story. My dad, Clifford, has been gone for nearly 13 years now. On September 11, 2001, I called Uncle Ray after hearing about the attacks on our homeland because I just wanted to hear a comforting voice since I couldn't call Daddy. Thanks Uncle Ray for the phone calls and hugs through the years--you and Aunt Ruby are the best. Our family is truly blessed.

Love you,

Shauna Renee'

-- Posted by Shauna on Mon, Nov 15, 2010, at 2:20 PM

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