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Senate honors Tacoma veteran who fought in Battle of the Bulge

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on March 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm with No Comments »
March 9, 2012 1:28 pm

At 91, Tacoma veteran Douglas Elms is picking up ribbons for his heroism on the battlefields of France 67 years ago.
The former firefighter this week received a Senate resolution recognizing his service in the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1945. In December, he received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor from the French government.
“He’s been so overwhelmed,” said his daughter, Liz Erb of University Place.
The latest honor came Tuesday when the senate passed a resolution sponsored by state Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, to thank Elms for his contributions to the Battle of the Bulge.
“This gentleman battled relentlessly,” Carrell said. “Douglas Elms fought with his company for almost 40 consecutive days without enough food, minimal shelter and a severe lack of manpower to defend against the encroaching Nazi forces.”
Elms served in an anti-tank company within the 424th Infantry Regiment. He enlisted in the Army at age 17 in 1938 and was discharged as a corporal in October 1945.
He built a life in Tacoma and served as a firefighter at Puget Sound air fields, such as Seat-Tac International Airport and McChord Air Field, his daughter said.
Erb said her father often told stories about the war, so much so that her mother would say, “Not that one again.”
“I would never tire” of the stories, Erb said.
Lately, Erb has been helping her father receive service medals he has earned because of his service in the European Theater. He has gained a Bronze Star from the Army, and a Belgian Fourragere shoulder cord.
“He deserves it,” she said. World War II veterans “never see themselves as heroes. They’re so humble.”

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