Biography of John L. Hand

Soldier, 113th Infantry Combat Team & Unknown Unit, KIA, USA

     Two of the closest friends I had while in the Service were John L Hand from Heflin, Alabama and Henry Percival from Fort Thomas Kentucky. The characteristics of these two men were as completely opposite as any could be. John was nicknamed "Happy" Happy was rather slender farm boy that walked in a slouched position. He could laugh with no provocation whatsoever, he always wore half a grin. He could be talked into doing almost anything just to please the crowd. Henry was called Hank. He was very short in stature, about 5'5" tall. But he was built like a block of granite. In Hanks mind, being selected to serve as a Corpsman in the Army Medical Corps was the most insulting decision the Army ever made. He was there to Fight Germans. Not to wrap bandages. He longed to go over there and win the War single Handedly. Every chance he got, he tried to get Happy to join him in requesting a transfer to a Infantry regiment that was slated to go to the E.T.O. (European Theatre. of Operations) I was forever trying to talk some sense into them. Thank God you are fighting the War in Delaware. Not in Belgique (Belgium) For over a year, I managed to persuade both of them to stay where they were and forget the Transfers. If The Army wants you over there- You will go. I was given a Medical Discharge the end March 1944 - with in 90 days Hank was able to talk Happy into transferring to a Infantry regiment stationed in the Port Of Embarkation in New York. They arrived in France in October 1944- By Christmas, they were both buried in Belgium. I have always felt that I could have saved their lives if only I was permitted to do so.

     John was the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Hand of Heflin, Alabama. John Hand joined the Army in Anniston Alabama, on November 23, 1942. He served at Fort Dix, Fort Meade and then with the 113th Infantry, as a member of the medical detachment, served at Georgetown, Delaware. There he met and married Miss Betts, daughter of Joseph E. Betts of Milford, Delaware, and who at the time lived in Baltimore. Happy's wife was named Cindy. The wedding was in November of 1943.  John Hand had two brothers who served in the war as well, S/Sgt Luke G. Hand and 1st/Sgt Aaron Hand, both of whom were in the South Pacific at the time of his death.

----- Ed Braun

          unkled@iquest.net

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