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Dorcy L. H. Watler, Sr.


Dorcy L. H. Watler was born in Port Arthur, Texas on October 6, 1922, son of Dorcy Leith Watler and Eulalie Coe Watler.

In March 1943, he was sworn into the Army at Camp Wolters, near Mineral Wells, Texas. In September 1944 Watler received his commission as a second lieutenant. The U.S. Signal Corps made a newsreel of his class graduation ceremony including the commencement address by Major General Fred L. Walker, Commandant of the Infantry School.Walker had earned quite a reputation as the Commanding General of the 36th Infantry Division during the Italian Campaign.It was Walker who, in fact, handed out the commissions.

On November 25, 1944, Watler sailed from New York and first set foot on European soil in Marseilles, France on December 8, 1944.Watler first saw combat in France on Christmas Eve as the leader of the 232nd Infantry Regiment of the 42nd "Rainbow" Division.

On Easter Sunday, 1945, Watler was injured in combat in the little village of Breitenbrunn, Germany. Although wounded, he refused medical attention until his more seriously wounded men were rescued and evacuated. The actions earned him the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster for Valor, a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge. After his hospital stay, he returned to duty in postwar occupation in Bruck, Austria, where his unit was stationed. The Battalion Command Post was established in Fischorn Castle, a modern 20th century structure built on the site of an ancient castle dating to medieval times.All of the officers of the Battalion and HQ Company were billeted in the castle and had their own mess hall in the building's dining room. Watler served as an assistant to Captain Alpert, the BN S1.In this position, he became the Battalion Special Service Officer, Athletic Officer, Billeting Officer, etc.

There was a small private chapel on the upper floor of the Fischhorn Castle, filled with works of art that had been stolen by the Nazis and used as a depository.The room was kept locked and placed under permanent armed guard.Watler had the opportunity to spend time in the chapel with Monuments officer Morrie S. Grinbarg, who had been dispatched from Supreme Allied headquarters in Paris to inventory all stolen objects inside the castle.This included works looted by the Nazis from the Polish National Art Collection.

Watler served in Germany and Austria until May 1946. He was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant in June 1946. He served in the Army Reserve until 1972, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war, Watler earned a degree in architecture from Texas A&M in 1948 and began a 39-year-long architectural career in Beaumont. He later married Pauline "Polly" Collins.

After his wife's death in 2006, Watler moved to Dallas, where he served as President of the Residents' Council, a Trustee of the Charitable Foundation, and a reporter for the newspaper at Presbyterian Village North. Watler had been a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church in Dallas for seven years. He passed away in 2014.

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