Clarence Blasier had graduated from Louisville High School in 1942 and spent a year at Ashland College after he enlisted in the Army reserves. They sent us 500 miles without stopping to Bastogne,” said Blasier, who now lives in Plain Township, “into the Battle of the Bulge.”
“There was a pocket of Germans in southern France at St. Nazair. We were supposed to clean out that pocket,” said Clarence Blasier, a sergeant in the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion, the 11th Armored Division.
“Instead, we were directed to a more urgent military effort. They sent us 500 miles without stopping to Bastogne,” said Blasier, who now lives in Plain Township, “into the Battle of the Bulge.”
INTO THE WAR
Blasier had graduated from Louisville High School in 1942 and spent a year at Ashland College after he enlisted in the Army reserves.
“They didn’t call me, so I wrote to them and told them I wanted to go on active duty,” he recalled. “It didn’t take long to hear from them.”
After basic training and a stint in the Army Specialized Training Program, he joined the 11th Armored Division and shipped out to England. He was stationed about 80 miles from London. From England, he was sent to France as a foot soldier transported to battle by half-track vehicles.
“When we crossed the (English) Channel to France, we went overnight and had breakfast on the ship,” he remembered with a smile. “What we had was fried onions and stale toast — that’s it. ... It was an English ship and I’ve always been sort of suspect of English food since then.”
Combat began immediately when the troops reached Bastogne, and it was continuous. Friends and comrades were killed.
“John Peterson of Rochester, Minn., he was killed right next to me with a machine gun bullet. We were crouched down beside our half-track. We were sprayed with machine gun bullets and one of them caught him in the chest. That happened quite a bit.”
Indeed, “there were many times I probably should have been killed, but I wasn’t,” he said.
“I attribute all of that to my mother’s prayers and the prayers of others,” he said. “I can remember very distinctly sitting in a foxhole in the horrible weather with mortar shells and artillery shells hitting and actually feeling my mother’s prayers.”
Blasier was wounded “slightly,” he said, when he was hit by shrapnel in January 1945.
“When I was taken back to the aid station, they found I had frozen feet. I was in the hospital for several weeks and then rejoined the unit.”
Gen. George Patton’s newly formed Third Army, including Blasier’s armored unit, then swept into and through France, Germany and Austria, playing its part in the Allied victory in Europe.
“You were scared. You couldn’t help but be scared. It’s not the normal lifestyle. But, I got through it,” Blasier said. “God has a purpose for our lives. Maybe God had a purpose for me that didn’t stop there.”
Page 2 of 2 - BACK HOME
Blasier’s purpose, in part, was in helping to raise a blended family of five children — Mark Blasier, Randy Blasier, Jerry Takis, Mike Takis and Sandi Durieux — with his wife, Nina, to whom he was married 42 years before her death five years ago.
Blasier worked for 17 years for Damon Chemical Co. of Alliance, then was involved in several business enterprises, including working as an insurance agent.
A charter member of The Chapel in North Canton, in 1994, Blasier started Bethesda Outreach Ministries, which helps low-income families.
Over the years, Blasier has written a dozen Christian books, including “Bible Answers for Every Need” and “What to Believe and Why.”
Recently, Blasier participated in an Honor Flight from Akron-Canton Airport, which took World War II veterans to see the memorials in Washington, D.C.
Blasier’s trip to Washington brought back memories of his war service. But, he recalls his time in World War II not as a singular effort or experience.
“It’s nice for people to appreciate our service,” Blasier said. “But it was the thing to do. I remember it as a united country working together for a united cause.”