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Flag of my Father

January 25, 2011 | Lieutenant Colonel William Hogan

When I was growing up I often heard about how my dad flew a small lone star flag from his command Jeep and Sherman tank during the war. My dad was a 28 year old tank battalion commander during WWII. His unit, part of the 3rd Armored Division, saw heavy action from the breakout of the Normandy beachhead to the Elbe link-up with the Soviets. Somehow, the little flag survived all of that combat. It even survived the 30-mile, Christmas Eve forced march through German lines when my dad’s task force was cut off by a German Panzer Division during the Battle of the Bulge. After my father passed away in 2005 this flag was a link to his military career. During my deployment to eastern Afghanistan last year, my brother mailed me the flag. I was honored to fly the flag from an antenna on one of our MRAPs and was thrilled to share this on video with my nephew’s middle school class on Veteran’s Day 2009. By linking how Army service transcended several generations in my family I feel I was able to share the Army story with the public.

1 Comment

  • John Ley
    1/27/2014 10:02 AM
    MAJ Hogan,

    This may sound strange, but I met your father back in 1978. I was a cadet at West Point and was visiting my family, my father (the late COL (Ret) Robert Ley, USMA 1954), was the Military Attache' for Ecuador at the time, and had made friends with your father. I'm not sure how they met, but I know why they got along; both were old Soldiers that experienced combat (yours WW II; mine Vietnam), loved Soldiers and Soldiering, and were about as easy going and loving life as any people I have ever known. I didn't know your father that well. I met him and was quite impressed by his knowledge, will, and overall presence. I never knew why someone of his background and education would be in the middle of Ecuador, to be honest, until I read the Memorial Article you and your sister wrote for him for the Association Of Graduates. It is both touching and revealing. I'm in the process of doing the same for my father now; thus the reason for the research and the "reach-out." I ask for nothing here, just acknowledgement that your father impressed me quite a bit as a young cadet. I had no idea that he had such extensive experience in WW II, either. I never got to that when I saw him that day. I will say, though, that I NEVER forgot him! He impressed me as a man of conviction and strength - just as you described him in your article. Anyway, I felt obligated to share with you what I remember of your father and the link between them - being the bond between two Old Soldiers. Thank you and your family for sharing in such an eloquent way.


    John Ley
    COL (Ret) USMA 1980

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