Private Roy John Spencer

PVT Spencer

World War II

US Army
507th Parachute Infantry Regiment
Service Number: 37706873
Born: about 1918
Killed in action January 12, 1945 near Flamizoulle, Belgium
Buried: Luxembourg American Cemetery, Plot I, Row 8, Grave 22, Luxembourg

Silver Star, Purple Heart

Son of Mrs. Everett Koger. Husband of Anna Queen Spencer.

ABMC Photograph
Luxembourg American Cemetery

Akron News - Reporter February 15, 1945

Young Cope Soldier Is Killed In Action

Roy Spencer, son of Mrs. Everett Koger of the Arickaree community, was killed in action in Belgium on Jan. 12.

Roy was a paratrooper and had been overseas since last fall.

He was the son of the late Frank Spencer and Mrs. Spencer, now Mrs. Koger. Roy was 26 years old and was one of a family of 10 children, born and raised at Cope.

He is survived by the following relatives: his wife, Mrs. Anna Spencer; mother; sisters, Mrs. Clifford Edwards, Mrs. Charley Colpitts, Mrs. Wayne Moss, Mrs. Dale Mack, Mrs. Bill Koger, Gladys, Norma Jean and brothers Clifford Spencer and Robert Spencer, who is also in the European theater of war.

Akron News - Reporter October 25, 1945

Posthumous Award is Made Former Cope Boy
Pvt. Roy Spencer Paid With Life for Outstanding Gallantry in Action Against Germans.

Posthumous awarding of the Silver Star to the late Pvt. Roy J. Spencer of Cope was recently announced by the Seventh Service Command of the United States Army. Pvt. Spencer, a member of the paratroop infantry, was killed in action Jan. 12, 1945, near Flamizoulle, Belgium, while attempting to halt a German tank counter-attack with a bazooka anti-tank gun, which was known to be faulty.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Anna Queen Spencer and his mother, Mrs. Everett Koger, both of the Cope community.

Below is the Silver Star citation which accompanied Pvt. Spencer's posthumous award and which tells the story of the Washington county boy's heroism officially:

Silver Star

"For gallantry in action against the enemy near Flamizoulle, Belgium, on Jan. 12, 1945. Private Spencer was a member of a bazooka team which was in a company attack in a woods outside of a Belgium town.

"As Private Spencer advanced, his bazooka was struck by pieces of flying shrapnel that tore holes in the tube. At this point German tanks started counter-attacking. Both Private Spencer and his teammate knew that the tanks must be stopped. They also knew that their weapon might blow up in their faces, due to the holes torn in it.

"Nevertheless, without thought for personal safety, they fired in an attempt to stop the tanks. The weapon blew up and both were instantly killed.

"This gallantry inspired their company successfully to repulse the German counter-attack.

"The military service ranks the gallantry of Private Spencer among its proudest traditions."

Gold Star Member Certificate

Gold Star Membership

From the Otis Telegraph of September 22, 2010

Roy Spencer and Anna Queen grew up in Cope, Colorado.  The two were married at a young age.  Roy, shortly after, served in the Army during World War II.  On January 12, 1945, Roy was killed in Famizoulle, Belgium, after shrapnel ripped his bazooka.  When the German tanks appeared, Roy and his teammate fired, exploding the ripped bazooka and killing both of the men.  Roy was twenty-six at the time of his death.  Anna was not notified of Roy's death for several weeks, but said she felt something was wrong when her letters were returned undeliverable.

A year after Roy's death, Anna met Wesley Heirrich for a second time.  She had met him at a rodeo at the age of 12.  She didn't remember Wesley, but he remembered her and he said the memory of her stayed with him while he fought in the battles overseas during WWII when Wes was serving as a Marine.  Anna and Wesley were later married.

Anna Heinrich is now 83 and Wes is 86 years old.

On Tuesday, September 14, 2010, sixty-five years after Roy's death, Anna Heinrich, accompanied by family members, flew to Washington, D.C. to proudly receive Roy's medals, which included a Silver Star, and Purple Heart, and others.  A combat Army officer presented her with the medals on the Speaker's Balcony of the U.S. Capitol.

"We are so proud, our generation, of the sacrifices you all have made," said Timothy McGuire.

McGuire previously had commanded a brigade combat team in the 82nd Airborne Division.  Spencer, when he died, was a member of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the original 82nd Airborne.

At the conclusion of the medal presentation ceremony, McGuire leaned over to shake Wes' hand and lowered his voice to convey an intimate message to Anna;  behind them in the distance rose the World War II Memorial.  It was sixty-five years coming, but worth every minute of the wait.


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