| Sgt. Noble
Belgium, Holland, Germany
3rd Amored Division
My father, Sgt. Noble C. May, "
Butch" was a tank and truck mechanic in the
3rd Armored Division in World War II. No, he was
not classed as a combat soldier because he was not an infantryman,
a tanker or an artilleryman, but he was awarded the Silver Star
medal which is given only for outstanding bravery. He was definately
in harms way. With his weapon, a Thompson machine gun, he
joined with the combat infantrymen, artillerymen and tankers where
he fought side by side with truck drivers, mechanics, cooks and
wounded to stop the German offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, which
had swept through our lines.
Anyone who could handle a gun had to join in to
stop the German's unexpected counter offensive. He seldom talked
of the most horrible part of his duties which was going out to retrieve
diabled tanks which often contained body parts. He very rarely
spoke of having to remove those parts before he could do his work.
My mother spoke of how the war changed him and that I can easily
understand. His duty as a mechanic involved working on tanks while
they were under fire.
He told me that he was in 2 tanks when they were
hit by enemy artillery. Such work as that may have, in a specific
instance, earned him the Silver Star. He never talked about what
earned him the medal. It must have been too painful to think of
it. In addition to the Silver Star, he was awarded 5 bronze
battle stars for serving in the 5 different battle zones covered
by the 3rd Armored. He asked not to be put in for a
Purple Heart because the bullet only burned a path across his skin.
He did not talk much of his service, but I feel that he served his
country well and am very proud of him. He has passed on now.
Noble C. May Jr.
Shoulderpatch of the 3rd Armored Division.
Sergeant Noble C. May at work.
Another river crossing.