Voices of the Battle of the Bulge: 'I didn't want them to worry'
By Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 12, 2015
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second installment of a 10-part series about asking the same five questions to 10 World War II veterans who served during the Battle of the Bulge Dec. 16, 1944, through Jan. 25, 1945. The veterans returned to Europe for 70th anniversary observances of the battle in Belgium and Luxembourg, Dec. 9-18, 2014.
Carl Wiggs, Sr.
6th Armored Division, 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, Company A
Where were you during the Battle of the Bulge?
I remember we went through a small town named Longvilly. Several years ago, I re-visited Belgium and went back to that city. There was a bridge I remembered because as we were crossing it, we encountered German tanks. We also went through Luxembourg to where the Airmen were encircled in Bastogne.
How does it feel to be back 70 years later?
It felt good being able to go back and see places and things that I saw 70 years ago.
Wiggs served as a rifleman in Patton's Third Army as a member of Company A of the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1925, he was sworn into military service at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, in 1944. Shipping overseas on Jan. 1, 1945, aboard the Queen Mary from New York harbor, he experienced his first combat soon after in the vicinity of Bastogne, Belgium, followed by action in Luxembourg during the Allied reduction of the Bulge. He finished the war in Tauton, England, finally returning to the U.S. in 1947. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medal for his actions during World War II. After the war, Wiggs took advantage of the G.I. Bill, eventually retiring to Montgomery, Alabama, where he currently resides.
What was the proudest moment of your military career?
The proudest moment was when I was awarded the Purple Heart medal. I received this after I had been discharged. There was some question as to whether or not the fact that my feet having been frozen qualified me for receipt of this medal. It was determined that it did! I am proud of my service to my country and proud that I was finally recognized for my sacrifice.
What got you through some of the toughest of times?
Thinking of my family. I didn't receive any letters for a long time, but was very thankful when they finally caught up with me. When I wrote my family, I would always tell them I was all right because I didn't want them to worry.
What advice do you have for the men and women in Uniform today?
I enjoyed the Army. If I had it to do over, I probably would have stayed in and made it a career. Servicemen/women today need to try to look at the good points of service and not the bad.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Wiggs' biography provided by the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. Special thanks to Chip Wiggs and the Wiggs family for the interview.
Photos by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden