HomeNewsBig honor for 2 World War II veterans

Big honor for 2 World War II veterans

Jake Ruser
Ben Berry

The Philadelphia Veterans Parade & Festival will honor two local veterans who each served in D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

Cpl. Benjamin Berry, 100 years old, and PFC Jacob Ruser, 98 years old, have been named grand marshals of the ninth annual Philadelphia Veterans Parade & Festival, which will take place on Sunday, Nov. 5, at noon and televised on Channel 6. The festival will go from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Market Street, from 3rd Street to 5th Street.

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Both are members of American Legion Post 405 and Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge, Delaware Valley Chapter at the Chapel of the 4 Chaplains. Of the 16.5 million men and women who served in the war, only about 240,000 are still living, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Berry, of the 3rd U.S. Army (ETO) Quartermaster Corps, served from 1943 to 1945. He landed in Normandy on Omaha Beach on D+22, on July 28, 1944. Berry served through France and into Belgium and Luxembourg for the Battle of the Bulge. He served in Germany to liberate the Dachau Concentration Camp. Born on Sept. 16, 1923, Berry grew up in Willow Grove. Drafted at 19, Berry served in the 863rd Quartermaster Fumigation and Bath Company. At the conclusion of the war in Europe, Berry and his unit were ordered to Japan to support another war. The unit was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean when the war in Japan ended. Berry married Lois Miller Graves shortly after being discharged. The couple raised four children in Germantown. Berry has received numerous honors and accolades, including Quartermaster Corps Hall of Fame and Knight of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Ruser served as a combat medic in the Second Battalion, medical detachment of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. Ruser landed in Normandy with his unit at Utah Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as a combat medic. Ruser and fellow medics are credited with saving hundreds of lives during the deadly assault. His duty was to treat and evacuate the wounded as fast as possible to get them to a hospital where they could get full medical treatment. Ruser served in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest from September to December 1944, during one of the bloodiest battles during World War II. He has explained how, during the battle, the Americans and Germans would call a truce to gather their dead. Ruser has received numerous accolades, including the Combat Medical Badge, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, The Chevalier-French Legion of Honor Medal and the Normandy Jubilee of Liberty Medal. Ruser served in the military for 26 months and continued his service as a Department of Defense civilian for 32 more years.

“The Grand Marshal of the Philadelphia Veterans Parade and Festival is a veteran who answered the call to service and continues to inspire others while contributing to their community and, most importantly, helping other veterans,” said Anthony Murphy, president of the Philadelphia Veterans Parade. “Cpj. Berry and PFC Ruser continue to inspire and lead by example. We are honored to have these men as Grand Marshals of the parade and festival and to share and honor their stories of service and bravery.”

For more information, visit http://www.phillyveteransparade.org/ or go to the parade’s pages on Facebook and Instagram. ••

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