Heroes: the Army
"...He looked a lot like a fellow solder (of higher rank) and they went would trick each other's dates by stealing the date whenever the other stepped away. When the guy came back the date and Dad would be gone..."
Mervan "Jack" Foutz -- Formal Image.
Mervan J. Foutz
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Battery B., 516th Field Artillery Battalion, 1st & 9th U. S. Army
- Dates: Nov 1942 - Nov 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: PFC
- Birth Year: 1924
- Entered Service: Indianopolis, IN
Mervan Jack Foutz Images:
The following is a selection of images of Mervan "Jack" Foutz who served in Battery "B", 516th Field Artillery Battalion, 1st & 9th U. S. Army during World War II.
The selection of images were sent to us courtesy of Mervan's daughter, Ms. Oma Foutz Cummings.
Mervan Foutz is one of the men listed in the selection found on this web site entitled: History of the 516th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery "B" which can be read in it's entirity by clicking on the link above.
Should you have a former member of the 516th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery B as a family member and wish to share some information, please feel free to contact the web master of World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words at the link listed near the bottom of this page.
Recollections of Mervan "Jack" Foutz...
"...I hardly know where to start. There were so many stories and Dad was such a good story teller. I have more memories that are images in my mind rather than the actual words he said. Things about church steeples, a pal that looked like him and playing tricks on each other's girls, motorcycles, hikes in the Alps when the girls ended up helping them instead of vis versa, bars, hikes, quarantine in England, a short speech by a commander, a terrifying time in north Africa, and so many many other things. It would be nice to have someone help me fill in the blanks and the names..."
"... There is a cute story of Dad in Switzerland. He looked a lot like a fellow solder (of higher rank) and they went would trick each other's dates by stealing the date whenever the other stepped away. When the guy came back the date and Dad would be gone. They went on a double date with a couple of girls. They decided to go picnic in the mountains. Two tough soldiers shouldered the packs and hiked up the path with the girls. Sometime before getting to the picnic spot, the girls ended up shouldering the packs and helping two huffing and puffing soldier up the path. Seems the altitude got to them pretty good.
He went by the name "Jack," because he didn't like the name Mervan..."
Ms. Oma Foutz Cummings,
Daughter of PFC. Mervan "Jack" Foutz
From a message received on 21 December 2004
Memories of Mervan "Jack" Foutz.
"...When my father arrived in England, snow covered the ground. Enlisted men were quarantined while the officers were allowed to roam freely. This did not sit well with Dad so it wasn't long before he and few of his fellows decided the quarantine was just another way to keep them in line. Bored, far from home and curious they decided to break loose. A plan was made to vault over the fence and head to town. The one draw back was that they could not see what was on the other side of the fence. As darkness fell over the fence they went, straight into a pond. Wet and angry they hauled themselves out and headed down the road. They stopped at the first tavern and proceeded to drink. I can't remember what set them off but Dad ended up slamming his upside down shot glass down on the bar. This was the signal that he felt he was the baddest man in the joint. Of course the fight was on after that. I don't recall how they got back on the base. I can only imagine it wasn't the proper way.
What I do remember is his annoyance that they sent him to England in the middle of winter only to ship him out two weeks later to Africa. The Africa story is pretty awesome. When they got there he was part of a battalion. One night all hell broke loose. He never talked much about that night and what all went on. He only said that in the morning there were only 12 soldiers left. Three men were black, but after that night they were all white. Their hair, their skin, everything turned white. The night was so horrible that all the pigment left their hair and skin.
They started walking. Seemed they had been walking on the edges of a camouflaged supply route.
One of they guys fell in a hole that exposed a maze of enemy tunnels. The man's leg was broken and they could not get him out. I'm ashamed to day I cannot remember his name. They were all pretty shaken up from be the only survivors from their unit. I remember Dad saying that the man pulled the pin on a grenade and told them to run. He received two stars from the experienced and was told they were all told they could go home. Dad and a buddy both said that they hadn't come all that way not to see anything so they stayed on..."
Ms. Oma Foutz Cummings,
Daughter of PFC. Mervan "Jack" Foutz
Mervan Foutz and others has the inscription:
3 Pals. t/5 Carlisle - Ky-cook; PFC Posey - Tenn.-gunner; Pfc Foutz - Ind-driver.
Mervan Foutz-Switzerland has the following written on the back:
Jack and Bob Pals for a swell trip. 21207 Villars, Switzerland Hotel Belli-Veiw.
Mervan "Jack" Foutz -- Switzerland pass.
Mervan "Jack" Foutz -- Switzerland pass (reverse).
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
Harold J. Hedges, Capt., 516th FAB, Battery "B"
History of the 516th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery "B"
World War II Causality Search
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of Ms. Oma Foutz Cummings, daughter of PFC. Mervan Foutz. We wish to express a heartfelt "Thank You" for sharing some personal insight into the life and times of her father, PFC. Mervan Foutz and her family that had been forever touched by World War II and then by the Korean War.
Original Story submitted on 18 February 2004.
Story added to website on 15 March 2004.
September 5, 2002.
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Updated on 27 January 2012...1432:05 CST