Buffalo Soldier honored after 66 years
November 10, 2010
FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Friends and family members watched as 89-nine-year-old Cleveland Glover rose slowly to his feet to receive the World War II Prisoner of War Medal from Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division deputy commanding general-rear, at the Veterans Affairs Primary Care Clinic in Savannah, Nov. 3.
Glover grew up in Savannah before leaving to serve his country in 1942 with the segregated, black Soldiers of the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy. It was the only black unit to serve on the front line of combat and many, including then-Sgt. Glover, received wounds for their service. On Oct. 16, 1944, Glover and other Soldiers in the unit were captured by the Germans and sent to the prisoner-of-war camp, Stalag VII A in Moosburg, Germany, for five months. They faced interrogations, extreme cold, deplorable conditions and survived on daily rations of little more than "watery soup" before their release, May 8, 1945.
"These Soldiers lived and served during a time of great trials," said Phillips. "There was fear in the land but there was also a resolution to meet whatever perils lay before them."
Glover remembers those perils and the victories, such as the surrender of the small German town with white sheets streaming from the town's flag pole, church steeple and windows. Besides those war memories 66 years ago, Glover said the award ceremony takes him back a time following the war when the military promised to mail him the medals he earned during his service. But he never received them.
When Jerry Walker, his friend and the Military Order of the Purple Heart chapter commander, heard that Glover has never received those medals, he decided to help him get the recognition he deserved, including the Purple Heart. According to Walker, Glover truly deserves the Purple Heart after being injured in the neck by shrapnel during his first combat experience. He said, hopefully, that medal will be approved and sent to Glover in the near future.
Besides receiving the Prisoner of War Medal at his award ceremony, Glover also was given a Letter of Proclamation for his service from Chatham County Commissioner Chairman Pete Liakakis; a Congressional Letter of Honor from Representative John Barrow, as well as a Letter of Accommodation from Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue. Lastly, Dr. Harry Robinson, M.D., the VA Clinic director, presented Sgt. Glover with a framed American flag that had flown above the clinic.
"It's time he got this recognition," said Phillips. "He returned from the war to segregation and another fight for freedom, but he survived. He's part of our heritage. He built the legwork on which we stand today and on which our next generation will stand. He's truly an American hero and we honor him today."