Journalist Tom Brokaw coined the phrase “The Greatest Generation.” One of the members of “The Greatest Generation” is Creighton, Pa. native and Clinton, resident Charles Andrews.
Andrews is an 88-year old World War II veteran who served from 1943-1946. He has the unique distinction of being one of the few remaining WWII Buffalo Soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers were the African American regiments of the U.S. Army that served before the integration of the armed services. According to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the Buffalo Soldier nickname was created in 1867 by the Cheyenne. Recent movies like, “Miracle at Saint Anna,” popularized the service and contribution of the Buffalo Soldiers during WWII.
Andrews was drafted by the Army during WWII, in 1943, at 19 years of age while in his hometown of Creighton. Shortly thereafter, due to his various aptitudes, he was identified and selected to serve in an Army specialized training program. After the program, he was sent to the Mediterranean theater as a part of the 92nd Infantry Division’s 365th Infantry Regiment to function as a cannoneer, operating the legendary 105 mm howitzer in Italy. The 105 mm howitzer was utilized all throughout the European and Pacific theaters during WWII.
When reflecting on his WWII experiences, Andrews said, “It was a troubled time in a troubled country but the people of this country were so appreciative of our service, and it made the risks and time worthwhile. This made us wonder about the appreciation in our homeland.”
For his service and sacrifice during the war, he received the following honors: The Bronze Star, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Europe-African-Middle East Campaign Medal with two Bronze Medal Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Honorable Service Lapel Medal, Sharpshooter Badge with Carbine and Rifle Bar.
Andrews , those who know him say, possesses the vigor of men many years his junior. He still speaks some Italian and is computer savvy. Currently, he owns a laptop computer, iPad, iPhone, and is an avid Facebook user. He has been married to Clinton native, Mary Strickland Andrews for 63 years.
The Andrews have 2 children and 2 grandchildren. They attend First Baptist Church 900 College Street, Clinton.