Hometown Patriot - June 19, 2013 - Thilman Richard

Hometown Patriot - June 26, 2013

A Ville Platte native who served as a combat engineer in World War II is this week's Hometown Patriot.

Thilman Richard joined the Army in 1941 and ended up in Europe, building roads and bridges for the Allies. He served in England, France and Germany and still has flashbacks from what he saw while in combat.

Richard said in many cases, he was told to keep moving and not to worry about those soldiers falling down beside him.

"You couldn't help them. If you see your buddy was dying right next to you, you had to leave them," said Richard. "You couldn't help them. Because it was every man to himself. The only friend you had was your rifle and your bullet."

229 men went overseas in Richard's unit. At the end of the war, only nine remained.

"People that went in war on the front line, they don't like to talk about it. The more you stay away from it, the better you feel," he said.

After the war, Richard returned to Southwest Louisiana and settled in Lake Charles, working in the construction industry.

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