100-Year-Old WWII U.S. Army Veteran fought in Battle of the Bulge

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, November 9, 2023
100-Year-Old WWII U.S. Army Veteran fought in Battle of the Bulge
World War II veteran Ben Berry hit a milestone birthday this year and is one of the few survivors of a battle that changed the tide of the war.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- You can see U.S. Army Veteran Benjamin Berry's life in pictures on the walls of his residence at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley in Germantown.

Berry says he graduated high school in June of 1943, after being drafted in January and receiving a deferment. He was then inducted into the United States Army in July of that year.

He recently celebrated his 100th birthday and was thrown a party at his senior living community.

"It gave a chance for his neighbors to come out and celebrate him also," says Amy van Brug, Therapeutic Recreational Director at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley.

The secret to his longevity?

"Some of it's genes, but most of it's God himself," says Berry.

He credits God and the power of prayer with bringing him home safely from World War II, calling God his "guiding angel." He married his wife, Lois, in 1945 and together they raised four children.

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His oldest daughter, Linda Berry Wheatt, calls him "a wonderful person."

"He's very service oriented. It's very apropos the unit in the military that he was in, was service," says Wheatt.

Berry served in the 863rd Quartermaster Fumigation and Bath Company. He says their job, as part of the Quartermasters, was "service and supplies for the Army, whether it was food, water, ammunition."

"You're not going to find what he knows in some of the history books at all," says Fred Wheatt, Berry's son-in-law.

"We weren't actually in the war until the Battle of the Bulge. We were always eight miles behind the front lines," says Berry.

He says they carried rifles, but never had ammunition.

"During the Battle of the Bulge, they gave us ammunition. They say, 'go out and defend your country,'" he says.

Berry's son-in-law says that "without the history, the real history, it would be lost."

Berry says some memories are still vivid. He has a framed map that shows the route they took through Europe.

He says they went to the concentration camps and saw how the prisoners there were mistreated and malnourished.

"It's a horrible sight," says Berry.

He's earned many awards for his service and received a recent letter from PA Governor Josh Shapiro.

"We're just real proud of him," says Wheatt, his daughter.

For more information on senior living communities, visit: Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley

Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley
6300 Greene Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144