Michael J. Fuhr
Biography: Michael Joseph Fuhr was born on March 22, 1910, in St. Marys, Kansas. He was one of four sons and two daughters born to Michael Fuhr and Anna Homan. He attended elementary school through the 5th grade and later worked on the farm, at the Jesuit Priest Seminary, in St. Marys prior to entering the military. His Draft Card, dated October 16, 1940, shows he was working for the City of St. Marys. A military record indicates his civilian occupation as tractor driver.
Service Time: Michael entered the Army on March 16, 1942, at Fort Leavenworth, KS. He completed his basic training, with Battery C, 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, on May 23, 1942, at the Field Artillery Replacement Training Center, Camp Roberts, California. At some point, he was assigned to Company C of the 807th Tank Destroyer Battalion. The unit trained at a number of facilities within the U.S., including Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, for advanced training. From Camp Gruber they were sent to participate in the Louisiana maneuvers at Camp Polk, Louisiana, in September of 1943.
The 807th was then sent to the Desert Training Center and later to Fort Dix, New Jersey, for final preparations for shipment overseas. The unit shipped out from the New York port on August 11, 1944, arriving in Liverpool, England, on August 23, 1944. Less than a month later, they boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach on September 18th, equipped with towed 3″ anti-tank guns.
The 807th fought in the Metz, France, sector from September to November and attacked toward Saarlautern, Germany, in November and December. On November 20th, Michael was serving as a half-track driver with a gun crew. During the attack against Fort Julian, a road the infantry was trying to advance forward on was under heavy enemy fire from the fort. Michael and his comrades moved one of their anti-tank guns to an exposed knoll overlooking the fort and shelled the enemy position, reopening the road for the infantry. All of the gun crewmen were awarded Bronze Stars for their actions.
They battled the German Nordwind offensive in January, 1945, and then shifted north for offensive actions to the Rhine River in March. The unit defended the Rhine bridges in April and converted to M18 tank destroyers in time to join the drive through Bavaria late in the month. They finally reached the vicinity of Salzburg, Austria, in early May. Michael left the service at the rank of Technician 4th Grade on September 27, 1945, at Camp Hood, Texas. In addition to the Bronze Star, he was awarded the EAME, with credit for the campaigns of Rhineland and Central Europe, the Good Conduct, American Defense Service and WWII Victory medals.
He returned to St. Marys and his job with the City Street Department as a heavy equipment operator. He also served as a City Marshall for a period. Michael was in the Honor Guard on Memorial Day for as long as his health allowed and was an active member of the American Legion. He was active in his Church Parish and directed the parking for the Annual Immaculate Conception Church Picnic for 40 years. Michael loved spending time with his nieces/nephews, great nieces/nephews, playing the accordion, hunting squirrels and mushrooms and country music.
Michael passed away on March 18, 2000, and was buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery, St. Marys, Kansas. Thank you to his Great-niece, Teresa Rezac, for providing the photos and information used in this tribute.