Over 150 members of the Battle of the Bulge Association (BOBA), including 10 Bulge veterans, visited Gettysburg recently for a weekend of fun, reunion, and education.
The Battle of the Bulge, fought in 1944 and 1945, was the last major German offensive campaign during World War II.
The veterans represented a wide range of Bulge experiences and, for men in their mid-90s and up, were surprisingly spry. After arrival, check-in and a reception on Friday, the visitors boarded buses on Saturday for tours of two of Gettysburg’s prominent WWII sites: the Eisenhower Farm and the brand new World War II American Experience. “We always enjoy hosting veterans,” said the museum’s Director of Outreach, Jodi Wilson, “but this was a particular honor for us. These guys are real heroes.”
Several veterans expressed particular admiration for “Ike,” their old commander, and expressed joy at seeing vehicles they had used during the war. After a brief stop to lay a wreath at the Meade statue, a hearty dinner at General Pickett’s, and a good night’s sleep, they reboarded the buses for a battlefield tour. Besides telling the story of the battle, tour guides also pointed out some World War II sites: the German POW camp (just south of Pickett’s Buffet), the old armory (where the POWs stayed while building the camp, and the Louisiana and Mississippi monuments (carved by Don DeLue, who also created “American Youth Rising from the Waves,” the central sculpture at the Omaha Beach American Cemetery in Normandy).
Andy Waskie, who led one of the battlefield tours, commented, “Our veterans appreciated more than most visitors the incredible sacrifices of the soldiers who fought here.”
John Mohor, president of the association, said “It’s always been an honor attending Battle of the Bulge Association (BOBA) Reunions. We started attending reunions while my dad, Arthur B. Mohor Jr. was still living. He died October 2015, a couple months shy of turning 92.”
He was pleased with the outcome of the conference. “When we were planning the Reunion, Andy Waskie, VP of Chapters, and I thought we’d have a good reunion if 60 registered. We ended up with I believe 172. The Town of Gettysburg treated our organization great. We certainly enjoyed the tour locations, hotels, and eating establishments.”
Image Credits: Group photo at the Copse of Trees [Mary Ann Smith]. Bulge veterans at statue [Betsy Rose].
Leon Reed, freelance reporter, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.