Arthur ‘Buddy’ Green of Mount Sterling: proud to serve the country he loves

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Arthur “Buddy” Green is 85 years old, but still lives in his little home in Mount Sterling. The walls are filled with photos and memories of his beloved wife, Olive; and children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

But perhaps the most precious space on the walls of his home are reserved for the medals he earned and photos he collected while serving with the U.S. Army during World War II – an adventure that began when he was just 17 years old.

Buddy Green was born and raised on Plum Creek, one of 12 children – six girls and six boys – born to Andrew and Sadie Green. He was born on September 6th, 1924; and remembers growing up poor, but happy. He attended Common School on Plum Creek, but rather than attend high school, he chose to enter the military when he was just 17 years old, just as World War II was starting.

“I went to basic training at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in Arkansas,” Buddy Green remembers. “There were several of us from here that all went at the same time. Norman Earls, Donald Scott, Ernie Woodruff, Paul Martin, and others all went down and enlisted and went to basic at the same time.”

Once finished with basic training, Buddy Green says that all of the Switzerland County boys got split up ands sent in different directions, with Buddy going into a heavy artillery unit, being shipped overseas.

“During the breakthrough in Belgium, they saw that I have infantry training,” Buddy Green said. “So they didn’t ask me, they just put me in the infantry, and I went to the 3rd Infantry Division. I stayed in there until I got wounded.”

Buddy Green was serving with the infantry in France when he says he “got unlucky”.

“I remember I was in a squad platoon, and I was the first scout out in front of everybody,” Buddy Green says. “And the Germans saw me and zeroed in on me with mortars, and everytime I’d hear one come in whistling I would hit the ground. I don’t know how many they throwed around me, but I finally got hit.”

Buddy Green was hit with a piece of shrapnel in his chest, and was taken to a field hospital to recuperate and recover. The valor earned him the Purple Heart, but always the soldier, as soon as he was released from the hospital, he went right back to the 3rd Infantry Division, where he stayed fighting the German army in the European Theater until the end of the war.

“It’s just what you did,” Buddy Green says of his return to combat. “You got better and you went back to the fight.”

Buddy Green said that he served more than two years in the Army, and regrets that all of the boys from Switzerland County were split up at basic training.

“They split us all up,” Buddy Green remembers. “We all went different ways to different outfits. We would have like to have stayed together, but we didn’t have no choice in the matter.”

For his service and bravery in serving his country, Buddy Green earned several medals and commendations, many of which are displayed in a case that adorns his living room wall.

“You just did what you needed to do,” Buddy says of his time in the service. “I love this country.”

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For Buddy Green, as more and more of his World War II veteran buddies pass away, Memorial Day continues to take on a special meaning. He’s one of a few remaining World War II veterans living here in Switzerland County, and he hopes to be at the Memorial Day services this Monday to pay honor to those who have gone on before him – and to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

“It means a lot to me, it really does,” Buddy Green says of Memorial Day. “What we did was important, and what the soldiers are doing today is important. I was just an old country boy, a farm boy – but I went and I served. People should be proud to serve.”

Buddy Green remembers a time when there was a parade in Vevay to mark Memorial Day, and he really enjoys going down to the Switzerland County Courthouse for the observance. Recent health problems have set him back a bit, but he’s hoping to be there this year as in past years.

“Everybody ought to come out and pay their respects,” he says.

After leaving the Army, Buddy Green returned to Switzerland County, farming for several years and working construction. He also worked at Jefferson Proving Grounds for awhile.

His beloved wife, Olive, passed away a little over four years ago; and the couple had three children: son Larry lives near Madison; son Rick lives in Kentucky but spends some weekends here with his dad; and daughter Kathy Burton lives on Smith Ridge.

Buddy’s sisters Catherine McManus and Alberta Reed both live in Vevay; while sister Linda Poling lives in Quercus Grove and sister Lucille Phillips lives on Popcorn Ridge.

Brother Galen Green lives on Tapps Ridge; another brother, Charles, lives in Center Square; and brother Ivan lives in Patriot.

“We grew up poor and didn’t have a lot, but we had each other,” Buddy Green says. “When you were a poor old country boy, there came a time to enlist into the Army, so that’s what I did. I made some wonderful friends.”

- Pat Lanman