THE RARE BREED |
Recognizing Area Veterans Of World War II
Searcy Standley spent Christmas 1944 as POW
Searcy Standley, circa 1941 photo
For Searcy Standley, who will be 83 years young this Thursday, June 20th, Christmas of 1944 was not a pleasant time. He was a prisoner of the Germans. And he would be for four months and 11 days.
"I was captured Dec. 18 during the Belgium Bulge, not far from the German border," says Standley, who was in Company A, 23rd Infantry, 2nd Division.
"We had our communications cut off as we were trying to hold a small Belgium town. We were surrounded and captured," he recalls.
"We were moved to Hammelburg by marching and by truck. After about two months, the Germans moved us to Nuremberg and then to Mooseburg. It was at Mooseburg that an armored division of the U. S. Army liberated us, on April 29, 1945."
Standley was born in Waller County on June 20, 1919 to C. L. and Flo Ida Standley and had moved to Palacios with his parents, brother and sister in 1926. To avoid being drafted, he enlisted in the Army on Jan. 8, 1941 at Houston. At first, he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio.
Standley recalls that he was standing in the chow line at Camp Bullis (north of San Antonio) when he first heard of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
Later, he volunteered for the Military Police, where he was promoted to Private First Class. After being posted at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, for ski training; Standley went to Ireland then on to England for final training before landing on Omaha Beach and about 5 1/2 months of front line fighting before his capture.
Standley participated in the European-African-Middle Eastern (EAME), Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland Ardennes and GO33-WD45 campaigns.
Shortly after being rescued from the German POW camp and the end of the war in Europe, Standley returned to the United States. He left the Army on Sept. 10, 1945 at Fort Sam Houston, with the rank of Technical Sergeant.
For his service, Standley was awarded the EAME Campaign Medal with four Bronze Stars; the Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, the POW Medal. He had also served time as a member of the Rangers.
Christmas 1945 was much more enjoyable than the previous year. Two days after the holiday, he married Oretha Tankersley in Lake Charles, La. They had met a bus that July after he had returned from Europe and was enroute to visit a sister in Port Arthur.
Standley brought his bride to Palacios and their home has been on East Bayshore Drive ever since.
Searcy and Oretha have two daughters, Patricia Ellis, assistant principal at Palacios Junior High School; and Alta Barnett, a system engineer at the South Texas Project. They also have four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Oretha and Searcy Standley met on a bus in 1945 as Searcy was going to Port Arthur to visit a sister. They married about 5 months later.
Mr. Standley died in February 2003 at the age of 83.
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