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Albert Roe

Albert Roe
2020 May Banner Location - North Center

11th Airborne Division

511th Parachute Infantry Regiment – H Company

March1943 – March1946
Pacific Theatre

Al Roe enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1943. Al was ordered to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. This Army base was for basic training as combat engineers to build bridges, temporary roads, pontoon bridges for tanks, etc. He also had basic training on Explosives. Al was given orders to go to Fort Jay, NY which was located on an island off the foot of New York City. Al was transferred to the US Army Transportation Unit. He arrived to his barracks late at night and he remembers waking up and looking out the window to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. This unit was established in 1942, its mission was to control all traffic coming and going from lower New York City, as they anticipated bombing/shelling from the numerous Nazi submarines off the coast.
In Jan/Feb 1944 the US Army recruited candidates to become pilots in the Air Force. Al passed all the aptitude and physical tests and about a month later found out he qualified. He was immediately shipped out to Brooklyn Army base to await his orders. When the orders finally came in, he was so excited he tried to jump over a roped area and broke his hand. The doctors casted his hand and he was granted a deferral. At the end of the deferral the doctor removed the cast only to find they had not set the bones correctly. It had to be re-broke, set and put in another cast. The Air Force was advised another Deferral wasn’t granted leaving him in no Man’s land.
Al was assigned to a troop transport ship “U.S.A.T. Imperial” that transported (700-1000) servicemen and participated in landings. They traveled from New York to Norfolk, VA to the Panama Canal. From there they crossed the equator and traveled to New Caledonia, and New Guinea, then back to Seattle.
After a trip to Hawaii and back to Seattle Al found out the Army was looking for Paratroopers. He applied, tested and was ordered to Fort Benning GA for training. He had to re-take basic training, then Paratrooper training, and then advanced training which included day and night drops from as low as 1200 feet to 600 feet. Al graduated in April 1945.
At this time Franklin D. Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, GA and his unit served as honor guards and transported the president’s body to the train station in Warm Springs GA. Al considered this a great honor.
Upon return to Fort Benning and the war in Europe over, Al was ordered to Manila. While there, they heard about the A-Bomb being dropped on the Japan mainland. He moved on to Yokohama Japan and on the formal surrender day he sat on the shore of Japan to see the Battleship US Missouri in Tokyo Bay where they signed the surrender agreement on September 2, 1945.
Al said “Thank God for Harry Truman having the courage to drop the bomb to end the war”
Al who is 95, moved to Farmington on July 4th 1974 and was married to his wife Dorothy for 69 years. He has 3 sons who live in Michigan.
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