“Survivor of the Battle of the Bulge”
Lincoln Leung was born March 2, 1926 in San Francisco, California. His parents were Sui Pan and Ho Shan Leung. Sui Pan and Ho Shan came to the United States in 1914 from Canton, China (Guangzhou). They had five children. Laura died at the age of 102, Florence died at the age of 94, Victoria is 94-years old and Lincoln and George are 93 and 91-years old respectfully. The children were given first names after famous historical characters of the western world.
At the age of 18-years old, Lincoln was drafted into the U.S. Army and was sent to Camp Roberts, California for basic and replacement training. After completion of training, he was qualified as an infantry rifleman and was shipped overseas on the Queen Mary Ocean Liner that had been retrofitted to carry American troops to the European World War II Theater.
He was still 18-years old when he was assigned to a front-line unit of General George S. Patton’s Third Army in a battle that became one of the most famous battles in World War II, the “Battle of the Bulge”.
The battle took place in the Belgian City of Bastogne. In September 1944 Bastogne was attacked by German forces as a start of a counter-offensive against American and British troops. Hitler’s idea was to regain control of the Ardennes, splitting British from American forces, then advance to and occupy the strategic port of Antwerp and cut off the key Allied supply line. On 16 December, German artillery initiated the Battle of the Bulge, attacking the American divisions deployed sparsely around Bastogne. A few days later, the 101st Airborne Division, along with elements of the 10th Armored Division and the 82nd Airborne Division arrived to counterattack the Germans, but after heavy fighting, became encircled within the town.
On 22 December, German emissaries asked the Americans to surrender, to which General McAuliffe answered tersely, “Nuts!”.
On 26 December Patton’s Third Army arrived and broke the siege.
As the Third Army moved towards Bastogne, Lincoln and five other soldiers were ordered to advance on a schoolhouse to determine if it was occupied by the enemy. Only Lincoln survived the heavy fighting that occurred in the schoolhouse and he was able to return to his unit after the Germans retreated.
The official end of the Battle of Bastogne occurred three weeks later, when all fighting in the area ceased. The Battle was the bloodiest battle for Americans in World War II. Americans’ suffered some 75,000 casualties, the British 1,400 and the German casualties were estimated between 80,000 to 100,000.
After 110 days on the frontline, of the original 40 Riflemen in Lincoln’s platoon, only 8 men survived the fighting. He remembers crossing the Rhine River three times as heavy fighting ensued back and forth. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for heroism in these battles.
After the Battle of the Bulge ended, Patton’s Army, which included Lincoln’s reinforced unit, traveled over 500 miles as they raced from Bastogne to inside the border of Czechoslovakia, destroying the German Army on the way. On April 18, 1945, Lincoln’s unit was the first to enter Czechoslovakia.
Lincoln remembers meeting up with Russian troops in Czechoslovakia to celebrate the end of the fighting.
Final Victory in Europe (VE-Day) was declared on May 6, 1945.
Lincoln was then assigned to the U.S. Military Government office in Waldmunchen, Germany. He was one of a couple of soldiers that knew how to type in his unit. He was assigned as a clerk typist to make out reports of arrests of pro-Nazi civilian personnel.
From November 15, 1945 until June 30, 1946 he was assigned to the 1st Division, 26th Infantry Regiment, Headquarter Company as a clerk typist for the International Military Tribunal, “The Nuremburg War-Crimes Trials”. The Trials took place in the Palace of Justice in Nuremburg, Germany. Twenty-one of the top Nazi hierarchy, including Hermann Goering, were charged with war crimes. Goering, a World War I, German Air Force hero, was second in command of the German government to Adolf Hitler.
Arrogant and very obese, Goering chose not to be hanged as his death penalty required and committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide pill three hours before his scheduled execution.
Lincoln was finally mustered out of the Army on August 2, 1946 after 23 months of service in the Armed Forces and after 110 days of combat on the front lines.
Lincoln eventually went to work for Standard Oil of California as a mechanical design engineer. He remained there for sixteen years. He then left Standard Oil to become Vice President of Asia Pacific Development Company, building office buildings in Oakland’s China town.
After seventeen years, he left Asia Pacific Development Company to work at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompac, California on a special space project from 1984 until 1988. He was a design engineer for four years at their South Launch Complex #6 where they were developing a launch pad for a rocket for space exploration. He designed miles and miles of pipping below the launch pad. The space project was cancelled when the Space Shuttle Challenger, carrying American teacher Christa McAuliffe, and six other crew members broke apart after 73 seconds into its flight. With the cancelling of the project Lincoln left to join Bechtel Corporation International Engineering Company in San Francisco, where he was a design engineer on many projects, from 1988 until 2004 when he retired.
Lincoln’s wife Nancy died in 1979 from cancer at the young age of 54. They have three children, Brian, JoAnn and Candace.
“When Lincoln was a child growing up in San Francisco, he was told by his parents that he couldn’t go down to market street in San Francisco, because the people there didn’t like Chinese people. He obeyed his parents!”
Today, Lincoln considers himself an American Patriot. He is quoted as saying that “I was one of the most fortunate front-line riflemen. I was Blessed and Every Day Alive is a Gift and Counting for me at the age of 93.”