My grandfather was recently honored, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Here is the continuing story of his World War II history…
World War II Vet and POW Receives Long Overdue Bronze Star (Leader Enterprise, May 14, 2014)
On Tuesday, May 12, 2014, Montpelier resident Corporal Warren Hulbert, Company L, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Division, who spent two horrible weeks as a POW in Germany during World War II, was awarded a long overdue Bronze Star. The Bronze Star Medal is the fourth-hightest by order of precedence in the U.S. Military. It may be awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit or meritorious service in a combat zone.
In a ceremony held in the boardroom at the Williams County Veteran’s Service Office, President Kevin Motter pinned the star on the lapel of Hulbert’s jacket. “This is probably one of the greatest honors I have ever had,” Motter said quietly to Hulbert, “to be able to present this to you, Sir.”
Hulbert’s wife of 37 years, Shelby, and his son Warren Hulbert Jr., were present to watch the award ceremony. “It all happened so quickly that none of the rest of the family could make it,” Mrs. Hulbert said. Tears of joy and pride welled up in her eyes as she stood off to the side and watched her husband receive this award. She had encouraged him to respond to the call from the Bryan Times that a search was on for forgotten local heroes.
Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Jeremy Matthews who is the Assistant Director of the WCVSO, heard that another county was checking into who had not received these Bronze Stars, which were supposed to have been awarded after World War II. He asked Skyler Engel, the office receptionist, to see if there were any soldiers from Williams County also and Engel began sifting through over 5.000 files. He discovered there were 58 in Williams County who were qualified to receive the Army Bronze Star Medal. Even though Hulbert was one of the last to come in and fill out the paperwork, his was the first to come through. Matthews believes that the fact that Hulbert’s paperwork said he was a POW may have sped up the process.
“We are thrilled that he is the first one to receive it here and we look forward to him participating in a larger ceremony at the fairgrounds when we are able to award more of them,” Matthews said.
Hulbert was born in Illinois in 1926, ended up living in the northwest Ohio, northeast Indiana area and attended school in Metz, Ohio. After quitting school he drove truck, hauling livestock for a company in Indiana and when he was drafted at the age of 18 his boss offered to get him off since his job was considered “essential”.
Hulbert chose to go and in march of 1945 he found himself at the Battle of Remagen, defending the Ludendorff Bridge, in a small town in Germany. He recalls sitting on a hill on his 19th birthday with others from his regiment and watching the dog fights as German and Allied Forces airplanes fought it out in the skies overhead.
“Sixteen of us were capture shortly after that battle,” Hulbert said. Following a long silence accompanied by tears often seen in this wonderful generation of warriors, he continued quietly, “About two weeks later, we were liberated. The plane landed in a field and took us to a tent hospital outside of Paris. We took a boat back to the states.
Mrs. Hulbert shared, “He never talked about the war until seven or eight years ago. It was just too painful.”
Following the war, Hulbert was welcomed back to his job driving livestock for the company in Indiana but after just two weeks, he chose to move to Columbia, Ohio. He got a job at Montpelier Body Shop and worked there until his older brother, who owned a couple trucks, asked him to work for him. For the next 40 years, his kids didn’t see much of him as he drove trucks for a living. Retirement in 1986 didn’t last long as he soon got a job hauling cars for people for the Auto Auction. Twenty-two years later at the age of 83, he decided that was enough and now he really is retired.
About seven or eight years ago he and his wife tried to find some of his fellow soldiers from his division, but could only find their graves. It was a sad time for him to realize that he had waited too long. “We had been good friends,” he said, “We did get together a couple times but then over the years we got separated.”
One of the highlights of his later years was the opportunity to go on an Honor Flight, one of the first ones from this area. He cherishes the memories of that and is glad that he got to go.
Other awards received by Corporal Warren Hulbert, 1st include: Combat Infantry Badge, American Theater Ribbon, European African middle East Ribbon, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Rifle Sharp Shooter Badge and Carbine Sharp Shooter Badge.
We honor Retired Corporal Warren Hulbert and rejoice with him and his family upon the awarding of the Army Bronze Star Medal.