Local resident, and Silver Star recipient, Walt Azar is totally committed to serving his country. Although he’s retired, at the age of 82, he is still serving his country. He is a member of the Indiana Guard Division for retired military personnel. Their motto is, “We serve again.” He began his military career in the Army’s 8th Infantry Division and went on to serve in the Field Artillery, a reconnaissance company, the 893rd Tank Destroyer, (then the 605th) Battalion during WWII and the Korean War. Walt, better known by his former military title of Commander Sergeant Major Azar, resides with his wife of 52 years, on the south side of Fort Wayne.
When I asked if he could describe war for me or if he had ever killed anyone, he replied, “The hardest thing in the world is to kill. Every man is shaken by this. We were well trained and we did our job. We learned to survive or we would have been killed.” He not only told about disarming bombs, explosives, and mines but about saving lives as well.
“Real history is different from the movies,” he said. It’s a lot different when you are actually in that kind of circumstance. I’d have to yell at those guys, “FIRE YOUR RIFLE; FIRE YOUR RIFLE.” It doesn’t matter how tough you say you are. Those young soldiers out there find out real quick that it is a lot different facing the enemy. As the days went by we all got smarter; we all got tougher.”
On October, 25, 1945, Corporal Walt Azar was awarded our nation’s 3rd highest medal, the Silver Star. He earned it for gallantry in action. Corporal Azar on May 2, 1945 rescued two infantrymen from an area in Loosen, Germany that was under heavy enemy fire. He carried them to safety and administered first aid. While acting as ‘Point’ after rejoining his unit he spotted a German supply column. With his companion, he opened fire, dispensing the column and rendered their vehicles unfit for further use. They captured 15 prisoners. Mr. Azar’s initiative, personal courage, and aggressiveness earned the medal for him.
Mr. Azar said, “The most important thing to those serving overseas were the letters from home. Every letter was read and reread many times over”.