During Willow’s eight months of combat, he served with F Company of the 22nd Infantry Regiment of the 4th Infantry Division. As a platoon leader and eventually as a company commander, he fought at famous battles at SST. To, the Siegfried Line, Hurting Forest, and the Battle tooth Bulge. Throughout his missions in Northwestern Europe, he tells his story by including endless accounts of heroism, weakness, and stupidity, revealed by all byes of soldiers he encountered. Despite his ever-changing surroundings, Wilson was still able to always place the session first, never accept defeat, and never leave a fallen comrade.
At some point in the Hurting Poorest, Wilson was separated from one of his platoon leaders and riflemen. This predicament resulted in his decision to run across a field with a handful of his men into a tree line where he thought his platoon leader might be. After taking heavy fire from enemy cannons crossing the field, they finally reached the tree line. NO sign Of his platoon leader or riflemen, instead there was several German soldiers digging a Tiger tank about fifty yards below their position. Instead Of assaulting the vulnerable German oldie’s, Wilson decided to stick to the mission of finding his own men. Very slowly we backed Off. We didn’t have a bazooka, and we couldn’t be distracted from our main purpose of finding the only riflemen we had” (pig 178). Months leading up to the battle of the bulge, in the winter of 1945, his company suffered greatly from cold weather injuries. Willow’s was the worst. ‘Probably the most vulnerable man in the entire company was me; I’d only recovered from frostbite a few days before…. I was damned if I was going to set this example as a way to get out the fighting” (pig 206).
After he mentioned this, even the idea of accepting defeat was non-existent, even if it was from the elements and not the enemy. The leadership which is illustrated in Willow’s personal account of WI gives any service member a hero to look at. A replacement infantry officer who worked his way up from a platoon leader to company commander and collected two Bronze Stars, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart in 8 months of combat duty is unheard of in modern war _ However, the heroism and leadership he displayed will act a role model for all current and future service members.