Member Stories: Will Jean Harney, WWII Army Veteran and Lifelong Army Reserve Member

Will Jean Harney, Army, during his service in Europe WWII

Jean Harney Jones, of Morehead, Kentucky, wrote us this week to honor the story of her late father, Will Jean Harney, who served in the Army during WWII and spent his entire life as a service member in the Army Reserve 810 Convalescent Unit.

“My father’s entire life centered around his service in the Army. It was where he made his best friends, bonded with his older brothers, and found a rewarding, lifelong career,” Jean told us.

Will Jean Harney volunteered to fight in WWII on March 1st, 1941, when he was 24 years old. He joined up with his 3 older brothers - they all felt that it was their duty not only to defend the liberty of America but also to stop Hitler and the fundamentalist ideals of the Axis of Evil. Will completed Army Boot Camp, and was stationed in Algeria, French Morocco. He would serve in Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, Southern France, and Germany during his 4 years of active duty. 

“He told me stories about his service often,” Jean says. “He was injured badly once during the war and had to spend some time in the hospital recovering. The government tried to send him home. He refused, saying he was rejoining his unit, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. That was just his character.”

Will also told his daughter stories about bonding with his brothers while overseas. 

“He would be walking down the street and another soldier would stop him and ask him if he had a brother. My father would say “Yes!” and they’d tell him they had just seen someone who looked identical to him nearby!” says Jean. “He saw his 3 older brothers a lot over there when he was in Spain and Southern France. They all captured German soldiers.”

Will’s service did not end when he was discharged in 1945. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve for over 40 years and went on to work in the Lexington, Kentucky VA Medical Center until he retired. 

“I remember him going away for Army Reserve training every summer. He would go to bases in Virginia or Texas - all over - and for him, it was like adult summer camp! He loved it, and that’s where he met many of his lifelong friends,” Jean says. 

Will was an active member of The American Legion and many other veterans groups and participated in community parades honoring military service until he passed away in 1998.
 
“My father was a good man who loved the Army and his country, and I think it’s great that Veterans Advantage is helping to honor everyday heroes like him. He didn’t receive any impressive medals, but he dedicated his entire life to service to others,” Jean told us.

Have you or your loved one served our country, either through military service or community service with military, vets, and their families? We would love to hear your story and share it with our audience on our blog, The Service, or through our Community Awards.

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