Monday, June 07, 2010

D-Day Plus 66 Years

Sunday night after church, on the 66th anniversary of D-Day, I had my picture taken with one of my heroes, Roy Kiser.

Born and raised in the Texas Panhandle, Roy grew up at McLean and finished high school at Groom in 1938. He married in June of 1941. In December of that year, when he and his wife heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor, he knew that his life would soon change. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in September 1943 and immediately went to Camp Fannin, Texas, for seventeen weeks of basic training.

By the Spring of 1944, we was on a ship leaving New York Harbor, zig-zagging to avoid the fire of German submarines just off the U.S. coast. After a 22-day trip across the Atlantic, his group of infantry replacements camped on a high hill in England, taking what he called "a lot of physical training." Later, when he was double-timing behind a tank, he was thankful that his drill sergeants were so hard on the soldiers.

On the afternoon of June 6, 1944, he was a part of a group that landed on Utah Beach, Normandy, France, taking fire. Just a few days after the landing, he was promoted from private to sergeant because of his de facto leadership of an outfit that was moving across the French countryside, one hedgerow after another. A few weeks after D-Day, a huge artillery shell nearly ended his life. After the blast, he walked back to the medic's tent, with blood streaming from his ears and nose, and passed out. Days later, he woke up in a hospital back in England, where he was awarded the Purple Heart.

Years later, when he was working in the meat-packing business in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Roy became one of the elders of the Garnett Road Church of Christ. He says that of all the things he's ever done, he's proudest of the annual Tulsa Soul-Winning Workshop, conducted by the Garnett Road Church. He and his fellow elders constantly received letters reporting baptisms, mission efforts, and new congregations that could be traced back to the Workshop.


Paula Harrington said...

Thanks for sharing the story on brother Kiser, a true hero.

Wade Tannehill said...

We are indebted to Brother Kiser for the battles he fought for both Kingdom and country. He has blessed many of us who have not even met him.