The Loafer’s Veteran of the Week is Lewis E. Booher. Mr. Booher was born on January 12, 1919 in Washington County, VA to Mike and Lola Booher. He was working in Radford, VA where he was a foreman for the Hercules Powder Co. when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He returned home and was drafted within a couple of months.
Lewis was working in Radford, VA where he was foreman for the Hercules Powder Company when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He returned home and was drafted within a couple of months. Lewis was inducted into the Army in September of 1942 and entered Boot Camp in Texas on October 13, 1942. Soon after, he found himself on a ship headed to Europe and combat in World War II. Lewis was in recon—as he put it—a wartime “game of hide and seek.” Lewis and his company went ahead of their outfit, sometimes into enemy territory in Germany. There were even times when he was on reconnaissance by himself. Their job was to gather information and relay back enemy position, size, and readiness. There were usually two or three of them on this patrol. Sometimes the Germans were even camouflaged, and they would realize they were within a few feet of them; their next move was to get back to the outfit and relay information.
Understandably, Lewis does not like to talk about the times he was actually involved in gunfire exchange. He would just as soon forget it but, as all veterans would tell you, it is embedded in his memories. Lewis fought with his company in Normandy and Northern France. He was also in Central Europe, Ardennes, and Rhineland. In March of 1945, they were part of Operation Varsity/Operation Plunder on the banks of the Rhine River. They pushed the Germans back into retreat. Shortly after, Nazi Germany surrendered on May 8, but it was not completely over until August. Lewis was honorably discharged December 5, 1945.
Lewis was honored to meet two special generals while in service. He met Dwight David Eisenhower, a five-star general and supreme commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, who exchanged salutes with Lewis and even broke into a smile. Lewis also had the privilege of saluting General George Patton who led the U S Third Army in France and Germany in the aftermath of the Allies invasion of Normandy.
When asked about fellow service personnel, Lewis said that, “there were so many who gave the ultimate sacrifice—that of their lives, that we (Americans) can live in a free country.” He does not display metals or accolades from service—he gives the glory to those who did not make it “home” like he did.