WWII vet James Krebs to speak at Myers Inn
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
World War II veteran James Krebs, who still fits into his original uniform complete with Pfc. Stripes, will speak to members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 11, at Myers Inn about his war experiences.
Born in southern Columbus, Krebs went to Corpus Christi Catholic Grade School and then Columbus St. Mary’s High School. He was only 15 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed and he wanted to enlist right away.
James’ two older brothers, Bob and Al, had already enlisted so his mother talked the twins James and Jack into waiting and finishing high school. Eventually Uncle Sam drafted the twins when they were 17.
James and Jack were inducted into the service at Ft. Hayes in Columbus, trained in Infantry and moved up in Patton’s 3rd Army during the Liberation of France. Because the Germans were pushing into the country in the north, their infantry unit was trucked 300 miles through rain and snow to get to the front.
James and Jack’s unit fought through the Siegfried Line into Germany, and fought for 42 days in the Battle of the Bulge as members of a bazooka team, earning both brothers Silver Stars for their bravery.
In February of 1945 they were ordered to cross an open field when Jack was shot and wounded. James ran to his brother’s side and was also wounded when he knelt beside his brother.
James picked up his brother and ran to the aid station with him.
“I felt blessed because I had a few minutes to say a prayer with my twin brother before he died,” James said. “I continued on to the aid station still carrying my brother. At the aid station they discovered I was shot in the leg and had 18 pieces of shrapnel in my back.”
James recovered and spent the remainder of his military service as a member of the 1135th Combat Engineer Group (CEG). When the army needed to move, his unit opened the way for them. The 1135th CEG cleared the way for Patton to cross the Rhine.
Following the war, James and his two older brothers returned to Columbus. James married, they had a daughter, and, after 13 years in Columbus, he and his wife found land in Sunbury where he built the house in which they have lived for 40 years.
Krebs worked for WCOL Radio as an engineer, retiring after 40 years. He worked for WTVN Channel 6 for another 10 years, retired again; took a job with North American Aviation and retired again. Krebs also drove a school bus and served as a greeter at Meijer’s.
During his lifetime, James Krebs has retired six times.
Over the years, Krebs has spoken to many school classes and other groups.
“I have my diaries I kept during the service which remind me of the things I saw and did,” Krebs said. “I never wanted to talk about it with my wife, daughter and friends, but now I realize I can help people understand this time in history.”
The Myers Inn Museum is located at 45 South Columbus Street in Sunbury. Members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society meet on the second Tuesday of each month at the Myers Inn Museum Meeting Room.