Pearl Harbor: December 7, 1941
"In 1941 the University of Florida was not coeducational. Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee was the State School for young ladies. Therefore, almost every weekend students at the University of Florida went somewhere. I usually went to Jacksonville for the weekends, because I knew and liked several young ladies there. On Sunday December 7, 1941, I was trying to hitch hike a ride back to Gainesville. I was pleased when a long black Buick stopped to pick me up. I sat up front with a young man who was driving the car. An older woman and a very attractive young woman were in the back seat. The older woman asked me if I had heard over the radio the unbelievable news that the Japanese had bombed our naval base at Pearl Harbor. She also said that the radio account of the bombing indicated that almost the entire Pacific Fleet was damaged. My first reaction to this news was the thought that it was unbelievable that Japan could do such a stupid thing. I perceived Japan as a tiny island, whose military strength could not begin to equal that of the United States. My only concern was that this war with Japan would not last long enough for me to take part in it. How wrong I was. The conversation in the car changed to other subjects. I found out that the older woman in the car was the madam of a house of prostitution in Jacksonville. The attractive young woman was one of her prostitutes. They were going to the University of Florida to distribute her business cards at the dorms and fraternity houses. What a day! Japan bombs Pearl Harbor and I find out about this from prostitutes!"

Officer's School
"For ninety days they put us through make believe combat situations. When I received my 2nd Lieutenant gold bars, after succesfully completing the course, I knew I had earned it. They told me that our ROTC class had set records, had higher scores and had performed better than any class competing the Officer Candidate School. We did not know if we would see combat in the South Pacific or in Europe but we were ready for action. When I received my orders, I was told to report to the 86th Division at Alexandria, Louisiana."

Bravest action of the war!
"One of the bravest actions I took during the entire war occured during the hedgerow combat. We were dug in behind the hedges surrounding a field that the Germans were pounding with mortar shells. I knew I had to get my platoon out of this field before we were all killed! I tried my best to convince the men to move but they were too scared to get out of their foxholes. Finally, I thought of somewhat stupid plan that just might work. I told my Platoon Sergeant that I was going into the middle of the field and urinate. That was not to hard to do, as I was about to wet my pants anyway, since I was as scared as my men. When this happened my Platoon Sergeant was to yell to the men: "Look at the Lieutenant urinating in the middle of the field. He's not scared! Come on, get out of your foxholes and let's get the hell out of this field". Believe it or not, the plan worked. It started with just a few men getting out of their foxholes and finally the entire platoon moved out of that field. I never understood why I did not receive a medal for this action. I guess it was because no one wanted to write a citation that would include this language: Over and beyond the call of duty and with complete disregard for the personal safety of an important part of his anatomy, Lieutenant Hury while under heavy mortar fire, urinated in an open field in order to save the lives of the men in his platoon."

Night Patrol
"One evening I received orders to report to the battalion command post. This was somewhat unusual and I hoped that it might mean that I was going to be transferred from my Infantry Company to the Heavy Weapons Company. When I reported to the Battalion Commanding Officer, he was studying a recent aerial photograph. His first words to me were: "Lieutenant, I want you to lead a night patrol and secure some information for me about the German positions in front of us." He then showed me the aerial photograph that indicated a maze of hedgerows and a dense forest in front of our position. He said: "I need to know if those hedgerows are defended by the Germans. Additionally, I want to know if the Germans defending those woods are equipped with machine gun and mortars. If possible try to capture a German soldier. We could learn some valuable information from him about his outfit. Any questions?". I thougth to myself, why me? Don't you realize that I was raised in a city? When I went somewhere at night there were streetlights and street signs. Do you know that my poorest grades at the Officers Training School were made in courses involving nighttime patrols? However I replied: "No questions, sir.". Then I saluted the battalion commander and returned to my platoon. I selected two squads leaders, who had lived on farms in Ohio, to accompany me on this nighttime patrol. We blackened our faces, taped our dog tags and removed any objects from our clothing that might rattle. I chose to carry only my .45 pistol and my squad leaders chose to carry carbines. I briefed my squad leaders about our assignment and explained my simple plan to accomplish our mission. My plan was simple because I could not think of any clever or tricky plan. We would move horizontally along each hedgerow until we found an opening to the field it enclosed. We would slowly move through the opening then cross the field to the next hedgerow and repeat this procedure. If we found any hedgerows defended by Germans, we would attempt to capture one and return with him to our platoon. Fortunately, the night was very dark. We passed through the openings of the first two hedgerows without any problems. However, as we approached the third hedgerow opening we could hear heavy breathing from the other side. I thought this would be a German sentry who had fallen asleep. Perfect, I was certain that we could capture a sleeping German. We moved through the opening very slowly and finally made out the silhouette from which we were hearing the heavy breathing. We sprang forward and captured a cow! Shrapnel had apparently wounded the poor cow. I was so relieved that I felt like giving the cow a hug. We moved on without finding any Germans and were now approaching the dense and dark wooded area. Once again we moved very, very slowly. I was in the lead and was about to enter the woods when a German sentry yelled something. I realized the Germans had discovered us! I followed my first reaction which was to fire my pistol in the direction of the sentry. I must have hit him, for he let out a yell. I turned around and said to my squad leaders: "Let's get out of here, fast!". We had run away from the woods for only a short distance before we heard the pop-pop sound of flares being shot overhead. We fell to the ground as a burst of light lit up the field as bright as a nighttime football stadium. During combat training, we had been told that the Germans did not fire at a target while the flare lit up an area. Instead, they would try to locate their target during that time and commence firing after the flare went out. Doing so, they hoped to hit their target when up and running. This is exactly what they did. Therefore, by only running after the Germans ceased fire and the extinction of a new flare, we were able to reach the safety of the hedgerow. After firing their machine gun, the Germans fired several rounds of mortar shells in our general direction. These mortar shells landed close enough to scare us but not close enough to inflict any damage. Now that we were out of harm's way, I hurriedly led us through the maze of hedgerows back toward our own troop. After several minutes, my squad leaders informed me that I was leading us right back towards the woods occupied by the Germans. After a very brief conference, I told my squad leaders to take the lead and follow them. I may have been a little confused but I was not stupid. I knew these farm boys could find the way back better than this city bred Lieutenant. We turned around and they led us in the exact opposite direction. Soon after this complete change in directions we reached the safety of our own troops. I realized the only smart thing about my simple plan was to pick two men to accompany me who were familiar with nighttime activity in open farmland. I reported to the battalion commander and he seemed very pleased. When I left I heard him saying to another officer: "Looks like we have found a good man to take charge of our nighttime patrol activities." I thought that if he's serious, this outfit is in real trouble!"

Almost AWOL
"During this trip (through Bretagne), we bivouacked one night in a forest area. After we had eaten, two of my squad leaders discovered that there was a small village nearby. They heard the sounds of music and singing coming from the village. Apparently these people were celebrating the withdrawal of the Germans. They asked me for permission to visit this village. I not only gave them permission but I was also going with them! It was dark by the time we reached the center of the village. When the people of this village saw three armed soldiers approaching, the celebration abruptly stopped. When they realized that we were American, they surrounded us and the celebration started again. We were the first American soldiers they had seen. The presence of three American soldiers made the celebration even more festive. We were toasted with wine and champagne. We were hugged and kissed by women, young and old. We danced and tried to sing some songs with them. I must admit I was really enjoying this hero stuff even though I did not believe I was one. When we returned to our area in the wee hours of the morning, we discovered that our unit had already left. In fact, there was nobody left in our area except for my jeep driver. If he had not waited for us, I guess we would have been AWOL (=Absent WhithOut Leave)"

Direct orders from the Supreme Commander
"During this period (holding positions along Moselle river in Luxembourg), our mortar sections were rotated weekly between the front lines and a rest and training area. There was very little action on the front lines. Actually, the mortar sections on the front lines got more rest than the sections in the rest area because of all the training. My mortar section seldom complained about any decisions; however, training during a rest period was the exception. These were experienced combat soldiers and they resented having to train like new replacements. I could not argue with them. In fact, I agreed with them. In order to make the training more acceptable, I arranged competition between the other mortar sections in our company. I also told my section it was making me a better observer. Nothing really worked, for they continued to complain about training so much. In May 2000, I read Stephen Ambrose's book 'D-Day'. In this book, General Eisenhower is quoted: "From now on I am going to make it a fixed rule that no unit, from the time it reaches this theater until the war is won, will ever stop training." I wish my mortar section would had know that their training was a direct order from General Eisenhower. If so, I do not think they would have complained."

Radio operator
"Since we were always together during combat, I felt a closer relationship with my radio operator than anyone else. He was just a little older than I was and had completed two years of college before being drafted. He was very popular with the men and provided me with a lot of insight into their individual strong points and weaknesses. His father had not been a very healthy individual. During World War One, his father had been under constant German Artillery shelling which resulted in his being shell-shocked. His never completely recovered from this condition. My radio operator often expressed his fear that the same thing would happen to him in this war.
(At Hurtgen Forest) It was during this time, that I was informed by our Platoon Sergeant that my radio operator was AWOL. Taking advantage of our movement toward the front lines, he deserted by joining some units of the 4th Infantry Division, as they were being relieved. Several weeks later, I learned that he had been arrested by the MP's. When he was on trial, I was called on to testify as to his previous performance. During this trial I was able to explain about his fear of becoming shell-shocked in this war, like his father in the previous one. As a result of my testimony he was not charged with desertion. Instead he was sent to a military center for psychiatric treatment. When the war was about over, he was pronounced mentally ready to return to active duty. He requested to be reassigned to his former outfit. Since he missed all the furious fighting and because the radio operator who had taken his place was KIA, I refused.