Joe Pletcher of Howard, PA served in the US Army during WW II. Mr. Pletcher traveled across Europe with the Army’s 572nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Auto-Weapons Battalion, which joined the famed “Hellcats” 12th Armored Division in Luneville, France.
Permanently attached to the 12th Division, the 572nd traveled as the spearhead of the 7th Army. One day, as the Hellcats were holding the Danube River against repeated German attempts to destroy their position with artillery and aircraft, the 572nd alone is known to have knocked six German planes from the sky.
Mr. Pletcher saw action in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. Once, when they encountered a German unit during that bitter winter, their lives were spared because the German artillery couldn’t operate properly because of the cold. “I’m glad to be alive . . . that’s all I can say because everything else is in the Lord’s hands.”
At age 86, Joe Pletcher lives in Bellefonte, PA.