Tec 5 Edwin L Genthner Name : Edwin L Genthner
Rank : Technician 5th Class
Battalion : 18th Armored Inf. Batt.
Division : 16th Armored Division
Entered Service from : Rochester, NY
Date of Birth : 11 April 1920
Place of Birth : Rochester, NY
Awards : Bronze Star
NY State Consp.Serv.Cr.
Combat Infantry Badge
Presidential Citation

Ed Genthner's story told by Ed himself ...

I was the youngest of six children in my family. I was born and raised during the late 20's and early thirties. The years of the Great Depression. I grew up in a family with four brothers and one sister. One of my brothers, Carl, sadly is on this website as well. Carl was killed in the Malmédy Massacre on December 17, 1944. You can find his story in the "Buried at Henri-Chapelle" section.


my brother Carl & his final resting place
Carl found his final resting place at Henri-Chapelle, Belgium

I grew up a town called Rochester, NY. Like so many of the teenagers of those years, I found whatever work was available to help maintain the family. At the age of eighteen, I went to work at the Bausch & Lomb Optical Company as an Optical Inspector. I eventually was promoted to Supervisor in the department in which I worked.


the Bausch & Lomb Optical Company in Rochester, NY
pictures from 1923

On March 2, 1942, after three years of courtship, I married the girl of my dreams whose name was Grace Hutchinson. We had three wonderful children together. After 57 years of marriage filled with great memories, Grace passed away October 13th, 1999. I have never regretted a day spent with her.

Ed and the girl of his dreams, Grace ...
picture from March 7th, 1992 - the 50th Wedding Anniversary

I was drafted in the Army in 1944, was trained at Camp Croft, SC abd Camp Chaffee, Ark, where I was trained as a Tank Driver. Early in May, the 16th Armored Division, sailed for Europe aboard the USS Hermitage. It was the Flagship in the convoy. Fourteen days later, we disembarked at Le Havre, France. Our tanks were ready, and waiting in a nearby depot, from where we departed. .


Marching in Camp Croft & the USS Hermitage

Before going across the Big Pond, I was home on furlough for a couple of days ... After that it was off to Europe ...


Home on furlough & On the road in France

I was a part of the 18th Armored Infantry Battalion, which was primarily a support unit. We were on the move most of the time, going to where we were needed.Some of the towns I recall from my travels, in France, Gourney, Reims, Verdun & Metz. In Belgium, Dinant & Namur. In Germany Aachen, Kaiserslautern, and Nürnberg, and on to Pilsen in Czechoslovakia.


My tank with one of the crew members & Passing through Dinant (B)

During WWII I was a Tank Driver in the 16th Armored Division in General George Patton's Third Army. Much of my time spent in the military, would not make the best of reading, and is better left unsaid, with one exception. On may 6th, 1945, I was among the first troops, to enter, and liberate, the Town of Pilsen Czechoslovakia. Surprisingly, there was limited resistance. They had been occupied by, and under the control, of German troops for nine years. The reception by the town citizens is, to this day, unforgettable.

Entering Pilsen, May 6th, 1945

As we were going in on one of the main streets, I noticed a group of civilians chasing a man down the street. They caught this person, and was beating him to death thereon. I couldn't figure out what was happening at that time. I found out later, that the individual had been collaborating with the German troops that had occupied the town for nine years. They were getting their revenge ...

on a little R&R in Czechoslovakia

As we entered the town, the resistance was light, by comparison. The civilians were coming out of the walls, so to speak. Their elation, and exuberance, at being liberated, was a joy to behold. They were literally throwing all sorts of "Goodies" Lilacs, anc wine, to the American troops. When I reached the town square, my tank looked like a traveling garbage heap.

Next to my tank in Pilsen, after the liberation

Later that day of May 6th, the Colonel of our Division, met with the German General that was in charge of the occupation forces, in the town hall, to sign the surrender. The German General appeared with his wife and an aide. Immediately upon signing the surrender, the German General, withdrew his side arm and committed suicide, then, and there. The aide did the same, the next day ...

other US Army units in Pilsen, May, 1945

As you may know, two days later, on May 8th, the war ended. Many of us were sent to Marienbad to prepare for discharge to the States. I eventually went to Hamburg Germany and sailed from there to home. I was discharged in June of 1945.

the Kreuzbrunnen-Colonade in Mariënbad

After serving my time during WWII, I was employed by the Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation. I was a Field Technician in the Electric Substation Department. I retired after working there 35 years.

a Bond certificate from the Rochester Gas & Electric Corp.

Having three children, and being interested in their future, I became active in Parent Teacher work in the school system. I served as President of the local Group, and eventually was appointed to the State Board. My one son, who passed away in 1994, was a paraplegic. With being as such, I became active in coaching wheelchair sports. I made up, and coached a team, of local physical disabled youngsters. We attended many National meets, and took many medals. I eventually became a member of the National Wheelchair Athletic Association. I traveled to many countries in the late 60's and early 70's with the USA team for competition.

"I became active in coaching wheelchair sports"

The fact that the gratitude still lives in Pilsen is shown by this example ... Each year, for three days, the town still celebrates it's liberation by the 16th Armored Division. In 2003, with my daughter, I went back to their annual event. We were treated like Royalty.


Annual Liberation celibrations in Pilsen ...

These days Ed Genthner lives in his home in Rochester, NY. The same house has been his home for the past 48 years ... It holds a lot of beautiful memories for a man who made (and still makes) an impact by living his life, not only on the people near him, but also for the people in Europe by answering their call when help was needed ...


Ed attended the dedication of the National WWII Memorial Monument ...

Special thanks to Ed Genthner
© www.In-Honored-Glory.info
published January 2, 2007