Freedom Fighters: J.C. Balch - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Freedom Fighters: J.C. Balch

(Source: KLTV staff) (Source: KLTV staff)
JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) -

J.C. Balch and Thelma were married September 6, 1942.

"I got my draft notice just soon after I got married."

Balch never dreamed that it would be four long years before he would see his wife again. Or that the Army Air Corps would keep him on the ground instead of up in an airplane, just because he answered his captain's one key question.

"He says we understand you know how to operate a PBX switchboard? Yes, sir, I do."

Because of that experience, Balch was put in charge of a communication squad, whom he says, knew much more about communications than he did.

"They had been to school and I was just a raw recruit."

Almost before he knew what was happening, Balch and his communications men were on their way to Europe on the Queen Mary, a luxury liner that had been commandeered to transport troops.

"All I had backing me was I knew how to operate a PBX switchboard."

Balch doesn't remember the names of the various bases in England where he was stationed, but he does remember the air raids.

"I know when they had Axis fighter planes from Germany come over just about three or four times a week."

Balch also remembers on June 6, 1944, seeing top secret preparations for the Normandy invasion.

"I just thought about it all and wondered all those G.I.'s that I had seen coming out of the woods, a lot of them would never get back home again."

Balch didn't have long to wonder before he and his men were sent over to France as well.

"We finally go on into Germany."

When the war ended J.C. sent back home to be met in Texas by his father-in-law, wife and little girl, who had been born while he was in Europe.

"I remember her standing behind her grandad in the front seat, "daddy who's that man sitting in the back seat with my mama?"

Balch says it almost broke his heart, but that too is among the many wounds of war.

Copyright 2018 KLTV. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Voices of East Texas hold forum on prostitution in East Texas

    Voices of East Texas hold forum on prostitution in East Texas

    Monday, July 23 2018 6:35 AM EDT2018-07-23 10:35:52 GMT
    (Source: KLTV staff)(Source: KLTV staff)

    The Voices of East Texas hosted a community forum where law enforcement, community members, and local college students gathered to discuss the reality of prostitution in East Texas. 

    More >>

    The Voices of East Texas hosted a community forum where law enforcement, community members, and local college students gathered to discuss the reality of prostitution in East Texas. 

    More >>
  • More frozen custard, juicy burgers coming to Tyler Monday

    More frozen custard, juicy burgers coming to Tyler Monday

    Sunday, July 22 2018 9:36 PM EDT2018-07-23 01:36:39 GMT
    (Source: Freddy's Frozen Custard on Facebook)(Source: Freddy's Frozen Custard on Facebook)

    In this hot, humid weather, there just can't be enough ways to cool off, and frozen custard is one of our favorite ways to do so. 

    More >>

    In this hot, humid weather, there just can't be enough ways to cool off, and frozen custard is one of our favorite ways to do so. 

    More >>
  • Separated sisters were reunited in Longview after more than 50 years

    Separated sisters were reunited in Longview after more than 50 years

    Sunday, July 22 2018 7:00 PM EDT2018-07-22 23:00:48 GMT
    An unforgettable East Texas reunion as two sisters see each other again after more than 50 years apart. Charlie Mae Johnson and Dorothy Mae Davis have not seen each other in 55 years until their family reunion at Longview's Stamper park over the weekend. "We've been separated a long time. I know we were supposed to be having a reunion but I didn't know we were going to have my sister and her family here," Charlie Mae says. Through family circumstances, they were separated...More >>
    An unforgettable East Texas reunion as two sisters see each other again after more than 50 years apart. Charlie Mae Johnson and Dorothy Mae Davis have not seen each other in 55 years until their family reunion at Longview's Stamper park over the weekend. "We've been separated a long time. I know we were supposed to be having a reunion but I didn't know we were going to have my sister and her family here," Charlie Mae says. Through family circumstances, they were separated...More >>
Powered by Frankly