This is the first of a series of letters from the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of Spearheaders.

This one inspired me to start this page. It is a typical attitude of a true SPEARHEADER.

It could never be stated any better. Thanks to Ms. Betty Ball.

Mr. Corbin:

My name is Betty Ball. My father, Oliver Burt, served under Colonel Lovelady during the war. Back in the 80's, I had the pleasure of meeting the Colonel at a Reunion in Denver. We became fast friends and corresponded until he passed away. My father raised me from a little girl on his knee, with stories about the Great Third Armored Division. He drove a tank and was in Company B, Battalion B. The Battle of the Bulge, Cologne, St. Lo, the death of Maj. General Rose, I grew up on it all and loved it. Colonel Lovelady found it astounding that a female could actually talk in detail about the European campaign and actually ENJOYED talking about it!I believe my father's stories about the Great War it is the reason why history became my favorite subject in high school and later in college. The reason I am writing is because my father is terminally ill. As he gets weaker every day, he somehow finds the strength to gaze at the huge map on his den wall that is a map of the Third Armored Division's European campaign. (Colonel Lovelady gave it to me and I had it framed for my father for his birthday one year.) He can still find the strength to repeat one more story to me or even a visitor he might have. I will miss those stories when he is gone but I consider them a treasure from him that is mine and mine alone. If you knew my father, or know any of the guys who did, maybe you all could write me back and I will print them out and read them to him.He doesn't have a whole lot of time but I know it would make his last fight easier and allow him to rest. He's often said that the time he spent in The Third Armored was just about the most important thing he ever did. I know he sure is proud of it. Thank you in advance for your time and may God bless you and all of the guys of The Third Armored Division.

Betty Ball


back in June I wrote you about my dad, Oliver Burt, who had been diagnosed terminal. You were kind enough to contact Aurio Pierre, who served with my dad and who dad thought so highly of.I just wanted you to know that dad passed away on September 18th at home in Arlington, TN and is no longer suffering. The last few weeks of his life were horrendous agony for him and for us. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Eula Burt.He had a military funeral, as he had always requested, and the soldiers from Ft. Campbell, KY, did him proud. It was a lovely service. The large map of the outfit's engagements in Europe, which was displayed at the funeral, was a source of much awe and admiration by young and old alike.Please pass this on so his death can be listed in your newsletter. Thank you again for your kind words and thoughts. My dad, until his dying day, said serving in The Third Armored was the most important and admirable thing he ever did in his life. It was a source of pride to him that no one could ever take away.

Betty B. Ball

My name is Adam Kelley. My grandfather was in the 36th AIR Co. F. He passed away about 10 years ago, when I was still in High School. I am now 27 years old, and have recently become interested in modern history, especially W.W.II.
I am writing this letter just to let all veterans know that I owe you much thanks for everything you have done for our country. I'm afraid that some of you may think that you have been forgotten. But let me just tell you that I have not forgotten, and promise to do my best to keep the history strong. I want to personally thank all veterans for their service to our country. I am the lucky one to have such a wonderful generation before me. If it were not for good men and women like you, this world would not be the same. I could NEVER thank you enough. My grandfather did not talk about his experiences in the war, therefore I don't have much information about him, but during research I have read many stories about young men, fighting for our country, and it is truly inspiring. Veterans have made the world a better place. I have an extremely tough time trying to explain my feelings regarding this matter, but I hope you can understand what I am trying to say. Again, thank you for everything. I will never forget it, and truly appreciate the wonderful life that you helped give me.

Adam L. Kelley


To: "''"
Subject: My Grandfather
Joseph W. Ellis of theF/36th AIR!
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 09:35:36 -0500
I know my grandpa Joe doesn't have alot of access to email, so I thought I could be a go between for the Association and him. I am very interested in preserving my family military history in detail. I am a Staff Seargent in the Minnesota Air National Guard and have been in for just under 10 years now. I know how important "Our greatest generation" has played in our good fortune as a country and am glad to continue the great sevice that is needed in every generation. We need to recognize this last fact and a necessity to insure that we remain the "Land of the free". My father Dave S. Himmer has been in military service for 25 years and is a Senior MAster seargent in the MN Air National Guard. He has been in Vietnam in the 1/28th Ist Infantry Division for July 1968-July1969. They have both served so proudly and I am proud of them both. Thanks!

SSgt Mark D. Himmer
Minnesota Air National Guard
133rd Security Forces Squadron
Combat Arms & Security Specialist/ AGR
(612) 713-2001
DSN 783-2001

Mr. Corbin:

My name is Ralph DeMassa, Jr.I wanted to e-mail you and ask a favor. I read your posted letter from Ms Ball about her father and I have to admit that it struck a cord. I was hoping you might be able to forward this e-mail to her as I didn't see a point of contact for her. My dad, Ralph DeMassa, was in the 486th Anti Aircraft Battalion, his time in Europe in defense of his country was also one of the most important times in his life. I would like her to know that there are other men out there who feel as her father does. My dad thought it was a great adventure and speaks of it as my brothers and I do of our College days. I can remember being terribly frightened as he told us some of the stories as a kid. He described the Battle of the Bulge in all it's frigid horror and laughed out loud when he told us of some of the pranks he played on his fellow squad members. He tells one story during the bulge when their halftrack slipped a tread as their column went forward they were left to repair it. on the side of a road. They sent out scouts to watch for enemy troops. It was cold, snowing and a little foggy. One of the guys in the squad scouting the road ran back telling of a German column coming their way. The plan was to turn the AA guns on the 3 approaching trucks filed with Germans. As the truck got closer, my dad pulled the pins on a couple of grenades and waited. The trucks approached...and the guy in the turret froze. The others screaming at him to fire. He froze and the German column drove right by just thinking they were another piece of damaged equipment on the side of the road. My Dad told us he could have reached out and touched the truck.That story scares me more than the actual fighting stories. He told us the guys use to play poker all the time day and night keeping him awake. For fun (can you believe it) took the fuse out of a grenade and the powder. He went into the room in a house they occupied and began tossing the grenade in the air, the others getting more nervous told him to stop. He sat down next to them and continued to toss the grenade in the air, they yelled at him to stop. He did, he pulled the pin. They screamed at him to put it back in. he pretended to try and released the handle arming the grenade. He laughs hysterically over half a century later as he recalls them running over each other to get out of that room. Dark humor. I love it best. My Dad is 79, he's slowing down quite a bit but if you want to perk him up let him get into the stories. I probably tell them better than he does but I can listen for hours. The daring and sacrifice of that generation is evident, as a group these men endured the depression, enemy's on multiple fronts who looked to once and for all extinguish the lamp of freedom from the world. They never had a chance American soldiers from the Third Armored Division like my Dad, her Dad and you were on the job! In light of September 11th, I know we are about to see that same courage as American forces from this generation rise to meet the next enemy of this country.
I hope you can get this to Ms. Ball and I hope her Dad is doing better. Thank you for getting this to her. God Bless you and God Bless America!

Ralph DeMassa, Jr.

Dear Mr. Corbin -

Thank you for the website you have developed. I recently happened on an article as I was researching my Dad's war experiences, and through an article written by Orv Iverson, I came to learn that this website existed. Mr. Iverson wrote of his experiences at the Buchenwald liberation, and in his recollections he mentions an event I feel certain my father was a part of. It was one of the few stories Dad shared with me. When I wrote Mr. Iverson he informed me of this site.
My father, Glenn W. Adkisson, served in the Third Armored Division, as a tank commander throughout the war. I thank God daily, that he was one of the boys to return home, to have and raise a family. Being the last of six children, I am especially thankful...had it not been his will to survive, I would never have made it into this world. I have always been extremely proud of Dad's service to his country. When I learned in 1982 that he had never received the Silver Star medal he had been awarded, I secretly obtained it for him and had it presented to him on my parents 40th wedding anniversary by our local congressman at the American Legion Club in our community. I will never forget my father's face that evening. Despite the age lines that filled his face, a glow came over him and he was transcended back to that young man that faced danger squarely in the eyes for the sake others. It was after this that he shared a couple of his stories - but other than those brief exchanges, he never spoke of his war experiences. I am saddened now, as I read his war letters home, wherein he tells his baby sister to ask all the questions she wants... that he wanted to get "it" out. I wish I had asked more...yet when I did I could see the pain surface in his face as he remembered. I thank all of you veterans who served this nation. You were all boys in those days... boys or very young men. Full of innocence and ideals of a better world. And you made a better world for us all. So many of you died. All of you lost your innocence. But none of you forgot why you were there, and why you were fighting. My only regret is that in the years that followed, more of us - your decendents, didn't remember to say thank you daily. It was through your sacrifice that we were all able to be the "free Americans" that we were and are. On September 11th of this year, I was glad both of my parents were not here to see the events that happened that day. For all you that fought so hard to protect this nation and principles upon which it was founded, I am sorry you had to witness this attack on our blessed nation. For those of you who still survive, I am certain it was a slap in the face. Your own efforts to keep our nation free, unfortunately allowed many of us Americans to grow complacent about the liberties we enjoy - 9/11 changed that for everyone. To those of you from WWII who still are with us - I salute you each, I bless you with all my heart and soul, and I thank you from depth of my very being - for without your efforts none of us would be here as the free Americans we are. If there is anyone there who would like to correspond with an old army brat - I'd love to hear from them. I am still hoping there might be someone out there who remembers Dad, and who might be able to share some other stories from those periods of his life. God bless you all, and again....
Thank you for keeping this nation free.
With great respect and admiration,

Susan L. Adkisson-Clary

Dear Charles,

I Thank you for forwarding to me the obituary of MG Walter B. Richardson and the E mail letter from his son Walter, Jr. It may have been God's blessing that my old 3rd. Battalion commander's life ended last December 8h., but it is still sad news to learn of his passing. I keep thinking about him, marveling at his career, and feeling a need to respond to your messages. I only knew MG Richardson as Lt. Col. Richardson during the time I was in I Company from March, 1944 to January, 1945. I now know that he was only 33 years old when we first met shortly after I joined I Company in England as a buck private. He was already a legend to the men in his battalions a perfectionist and a strict disciplinarian. I was cautioned to keep on my toes. Maybe we didn't appreciated his "no nonsense" approach while we were still in England, but he was training and preparing us for the tough days that were to come. During the battles in the Normandy hedgerows, at the Falaise Gap, and across northern France, Lt. Col. Richardson won our respect for his unwavering leadership and courage. During one of the battles to close the Falaise Gap, I Company tanks were a part of Task Force Richardson. One day, as our tank was slowly moving forward into battle, I look out of my hatch to see Col. Richardson walking along beside us, holding his bleeding arm and directing the movement of our tanks. I will forever remember that man on that day. I was never in on the meetings between Col. Richardson and my tank commander, Lafayette Pool. These meetings always seemed to end with the decision that Pool's tank would lead Col. Richardson's task force over the roads of northern France, Belgium and into Germany. Col. Richardson was loyal to the men who earned his trust. After Sgt. Pool was badly wounded near Stolberg, Germany, upon the recommendation of Col. Richardson, Pool was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Several years later, a new training building at For Knox, "Pool Hall," was named after him. I believe Lt.Col/MG Richardson never forgot Pool and he must have been instrumental in honoring his old "Texas Tanker." I am pleased to have learned of the achievements of MG Richardson during his Military career and in his retirement. My memories can't add anything to his record, but I just wanted to share with you my respect and admiration for Col. Richardson, commander of 3rd Battalion, 32nd Armored Regiment, during some of his finest hours. His obituary and his son's letter will become a part of my memoirs.
My best wishes for the new year to you and Margaret.

Bert Close

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