KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – This is the story of a World War II veteran who wants to get his military record corrected. He was a member of the occupation forces in Europe, but there was a clerical error in his location.
The veteran and his wife called WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare to share their story.
The veteran’s record shows he was stationed in Germany, but that’s wrong.
In May 1945, when WWII was ending in Europe, American men were still being drafted, most right out of high school.
When the Japanese surrendered later that summer, thousands of men drafted earlier in the year still had an obligation to fill.
If they didn’t remain in the States, many were sent overseas as part of the occupational forces – that’s what our story is about.
Former Army Sgt Glen Summitt has some memorable pictures while stationed in Austria from 1946 through 1948.
Glen and his wife Irma enjoy seeing the pictures of their youth. He was an American soldier, age 21. She was a 19-year-old Austrian. Her family, surviving the German occupation of her homeland when they married in 1947.
Originally invaded by Germany, Austria was liberated by the Allies in 1945, and jointly occupied by the United States, the Soviet Union, England and France.
“At that time, there were a lot of soldiers coming home from all over the world really,” Summitt said.
He was drafted a month after graduating from Vonore High School. With a two-year stint to fulfill in the Army, he would be sent overseas in 1946.
“I landed in LaHarve, France. From there were went by train and ended up in Austria,” he recalls.
Shortly after arriving in Austria, Irma and Glen met during one of his weekend furlough. Within a year they would marry in Irma’s hometown. He’s saved all of his military patches, which he showed us.
“This is the right shoulder patch I was entitled to wear while I was in Austria and this other one specifies the United States forces Austria, the left shoulder patch,” he explained.
As far as Glen’s concerned, he has all the proof to show of his post-World War II duty. Yet, his Army records show he was assigned to Germany.
“It has Occupational duty and in parentheses it has Germany written there I marked it out and put Austria there because that’s where I really was,” he said. “I was ready to go to civilian life… I was anxious to get home, yes I was. I didn’t catch my mistake or their mistake.”
But now, after more than 70 years, he’d like the mistake corrected.
“He wants things straightened out,” Irma Summitt says of her husband. “It’s not true what they say about Germany. So he wants that straightened out, which I understand, I understand now.”
Summitt retired from the Army Reserves in the 1980s. He’s written to the government to get the record straight but has had no luck. The incorrect notation on his record carries no consequences – but it matters to Glen.
“I just hadn’t heard from anybody and I just thought maybe that you just might head me in the right direction to get it changed,” he said. “I take history as being important and this is not, not a real history of showing me being in Germany and I wasn’t. I just want history corrected. That’s it, really the only reason.”
We did some research and discovered that there is a way for Summitt to have his record changed to accurately reflect where he was assigned after the war.
It’s called DD Form 149. It’s an application to correct military records. Anyone can fill it out if there are errors.
Any local veterans service office can assist if you have a record that is incorrect.
Summitt is completing the form this week, we’ll let you know how it goes.
A special thanks for the Knox County Veterans Service Office and U.S. Congressman Tim Burchett’s office for the information.