Sulphur Springs Health and Rehab held a Veterans Day celebration Tuesday with a special presentation for three-time Purple Heart recipient, World War II veteran and Sulphur Springs native Paul Rosamond.
Rosamond, 91, currently lives at SSHR, was shot three separate times in the line of duty during World War II, including a head shot that pierced his helmet.
Rosamond's son, Larry Rosamond, was the honored speaker after he spent a great deal of his time collecting the details of his father’s heroic service during the war.
“In 1941, my father was going to college at Texas A&M University. He graduated high school at age 16 as valedictorian; and at 18, he was set to graduate college in three years,” said Larry. “My dad was in the Reserve Officer Training Corps at that time. Then, in December of 1941, he got to present his father, my grandfather, with a Purple Heart for his service in World War I.”
Larry explained that after World War I ended in 1918 it took years in some cases for all the Purple Hearts to be distributed to all the men who served in the four-year war. By 1941, Paul’s father received notification that he would be given the Purple Heart for being shot in the line of duty.
“The country was not at war yet, but Texas A&M was already getting men ready to serve at that time,” said Larry. “As the ceremony commenced on the parade field, sirens came over the loud speakers at the university. According to my father, it was Dec. 7, 1941, and it was announced during the ceremony that Japan had just attacked Pearl Harbor.”
In the next several months, Rosamond’s ROTC group became active and was sent to Europe after basic training. Rosamond entered the armed forces as a second lieutenant, but was not injured in the line on duty until several months before the end of the war. Larry’s presentation skipped to the end of World War II.
Rosamond was in a surprise attack by Germany to recapture the harbor of the Antwerp in Belgium. This attack would later be named the Battle of the Bulge in which United States forces incurred the highest number of casualties from any operation during the war.
“At the Battle of Bulge, under the authority of Gen. Patton, my father’s platoon was over-ran by German forces. My father remembered being shot in the head. The bullet went through the front of the helment and out the back and cut open his scalp and skull,” said Larry. “
He awoke to find the Germans shooting the American survivors as they advanced the line. He knew his only hope was to close his eyes and hold is breath long enough for the Germans to walk over him.”
German soldiers saw the bullet wound through his helmet and after poking him repetitively with their bayonets, the soldiers kept walking. That night, Rosamond crawled on his stomach back to the United States line; there, he was medically looked after in camp.
“After doctoring his head, they sent him back to battle in just two weeks,” said Larry. “A few weeks, later a rifle bullet went through his arm, from his shoulder to elbow. Once again, he crawled back and had to recover from the injury before going back into battle. He was willing to go and the military needed every man while they were in Germany.”
As United States forces marched closer to Berlin, Rosamond got his third and fourth injuries around the same time. A hand grenade when off and Rosamond lost two fingers trying to toss the grenade away from his fellow troops.
“The fourth time, he was shot by a machine gun across the front of his stomach. They took him to the nearest base and flew him home to a Fort Worth hospital around the time the war ended,” said Larry. “After two years in the hospital recuperating from all his injuries, he received three Purple Hearts for his service.”