WEST MANCHESTER — American Legion Post 665 in West Manchester celebrated World War II Veteran Glenn Eley on Friday, June 22.
Eley turned 98-years old on June 21 and the post came together to honor his service, life and to say thank you.
Eley was drafted into the Army in October of 1942 at the age of 22. He was part of the last group that left Darke County. In November of 1942, the draft age was lowered to 18 and increased to 37, with the United States now an active participant in World War II.
“A lot of it I remember and a lot of it I don’t,” Eley said referring to his memories of the war.
He served from 1942-1946, providing many stories that, according to his son, he wasn’t willing to talk about until recently.
One story he told was set on Easter Sunday in 1945.
“I was in the scouting section and every third day there was never anybody in front of my buddy and I. I think it was Easter in 1945, we got pinned down by a sniper,” Eley said. “We didn’t know where it was coming from and we had four fellows who got killed right there because of the sniper.
“We come up and ran over the left rear corner of my jeep, bashed my radio, broke my left rear wheel off and I got two guys who were hurt on that, drove it a mile on three wheels — that is where the front wheel drives comes in. We got them out of there.”
He also remembers seeing his brother in his outfit.
“He came over after [me] and he still beat me home,” he said.
Eley returned to the area in April of 1946, where he worked in Verona. Since, he has never stopped working or slowed down. He is a self proclaimed “Jack of All Trades” who says working all these years is what has kept him going.
During the celebration, Commander Rocky Farmer said, “We’re here to celebrate one of the greatest generations. It is an honor to celebrate this gentleman here tonight.”
Chase Reed — an Eaton local with an affinity for WWII and history in general — was welcomed to the microphone to say a few words about Eley.
“Glenn is now 98-years old. Ninety-eight years on this planet is surely something to celebrate,” Reed said. “Not only has he lived a long life, but he has taken part in some of the biggest events in history. One of the events is WWII — a war that would send young Americans to different parts of the world and would send Glenn to Europe.
“He left his family and friends and did his job the best he could and he came back a hero. I was honored to give him a ride in a jeep similar to the one he drove 74 years ago. I am very thankful to have met you Mr. Eley and I hope that you enjoy your birthday.
“Thank you for your service once again and most importantly, thank you for being our friend.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH