Patriot, Chapter 1919
WWII, Pacific) Article January 1998
Harold was one of the last men wounded in
action in WWII, just before the Atomic Bombs dropped on Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. As a teenaged college student, he might not have had to serve at
all, had he not insisted that the draft board answer his questions about his
was born in 1926 in Clearfield, Iowa. He graduated from High School in
nearby Coggon in May 1943, and then attended Iowa State University for one
year. On a weekend visit home from college he met a local girl, Betty
Wenger, at a "skating party" for his cousin. During the Summer break from
college in 1944, Harold received his draft notice.
Harold was inducted into the Army at Fort
Snelling, Minnesota in October 1944. He spent 15 weeks in Infantry training
at Camp Hood, Texas, and then was sent to Fort Ord, California where he
shipped out in March 1945 on the troop ship, “General John Pope”.
Harold arrived in the Philippines on Luzon in late April 1945 and was
assigned as an individual replacement to Company G, 127th Infantry Regiment,
32nd Infantry Division. This was a Wisconsin-Michigan National Guard unit
that had already seen three years service in the Pacific.
The 32nd Infantry Division was in the
mountains of Luzon, in contact with the Japanese, pushing towards the town
of Santa Fe on what was called the “Villa Verde Trail”. Harold received his
Purple Heart after a fight that took place on July 22, 1945. On a very
narrow mountain path, Company G came up against a determined Japanese force
supported by Mortar fire, and Harold was wounded. The men put Harold and his
Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) on a stretcher and with great difficulty they
managed to carry him to safety back down the path. He spent 30 days in the
Field Hospital at Baguio, Summer Capitol of Luzon, before he was able to
rejoin his unit.
Harold recounts an earlier episode of his
service, “My first duty in Company G had been to help bury dead Japanese
and I remember watching a rifle squad member from Johnson City, Texas (I was
a naive 19-year old from Iowa), using his machete to obtain gold teeth.
About 15 years later, I saw this man running a gas station in Austin (he is
now deceased).” After the war ended the 32nd Infantry Division was
broken up and Harold was reassigned to a 5th Air Force unit that was doing
Occupation Duty at Itazuki Air Base near the city of Fukuoka. He remained at
Itazuki Air Base for the rest of his time in service. He was promoted to
Technical Sergeant and was serving as the Acting First Sergeant of his
Company when his turn came to be returned to the United States for his
discharge in November 1946.
Betty had finished one year at Iowa State
by the time Harold returned home after the war. They were married December
8, 1946 in Manchester, Iowa, and two weeks later they moved to Texas. Harold
obtained a Bachelor's Degree from Southwest Texas State University in San
Marcos in 1949, a Master's in 1950 from the University of Texas at Austin,
and had completed course work for a PhD at the University of Iowa by
During his career, Harold taught history
and government, and coached baseball, at several different high schools and
colleges; held executive positions in agencies of the Texas State and
Federal Governments, and at Southwest Texas State University, the University
of Texas, the Texas State University System; and finally retired as
Assistant to the Chancellor of the University of Texas System in 1982.
has always supported and continues to serve in civic,
public service, veterans, college alumni, and philanthropic groups too
numerous to list here.
Harold earned “grocery money” during his
early years in Texas as a pitcher for various Semi-Pro Baseball teams. He is
very proud of his career in Austin with the "7-UP BOTTLERS", a team
sponsored by Austin’s legendary Ed Knebel. Also at that time, Harold helped
Ed in chartering the "Knebel American Legion Post 83". At a game in
Beeville, Harold once pitched against Don Newcomb (the Brooklyn Dodgers'
ace). Harold is an inductee in the "South Texas Semi-Pro Baseball Hall of
Fame" in Hallettsville (Hall & Museum).
Harold and Betty Marburger
live in Austin, but travel extensively. They spend most of each summer in
Ruidoso, New Mexico, and then entertain several perennial "Winter Texans" in
season. Harold Marburger is a Charter Member of Chapter 1919,
Military Order of the Purple Heart and has served two terms as the Finance
Officer and three years as a Trustee.
BETTY (Wenger) MARBURGER
…had this to say…..
Betty's family in Iowa lived about 18 miles
from Harold's family, but the two didn't know each other until Harold
was in college. Betty still thinks it is amusing that 18-yr old Harold
wrote to his Draft Board in the Summer of 1944 telling them he intended
to return to Iowa State in the Fall if he didn't hear from them. The
Draft Board promptly sent him his draft notice. Betty and Harold wrote
one another while he was in the Army and she was at Iowa State. They
married when he came home from Japan in 1946. Later, Betty also earned a
Degree from Southwest Texas State University. Betty also retired when
Harold did (in 1982) after 20 years as a 6th Grade Teacher in Austin
Independent School District. They have recently celebrated their 51st