Ray Arp served in Europe and North Africa in WWII
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
Lila Arp's family moved to Rossville, Georgia in the mid-1930's when she was six years old. Not long after that she met a boy named Ray.
"We all went to this little country church," Lila Arp said. "We got sitting together in church when I was about eleven or twelve years old, and then we sat together on the school bus."
They were sitting together in Ray's front yard on December 7, 1941 when they heard the radio reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"We were country people with no place to go," Lila said. "We'd sit out on the porch in the swing or out in the yard."
"Everything was stopped," Ray Arp said. "The next day everything was buzz, buzz."
Ray was still in high school then. He graduated in 1942. He was drafted the next year.
"I was training to be an artillery man, but when I got overseas I was a replacement," Ray Arp said.
He worked as field lineman in communications in the Army. He climbed poles and put up telephone lines.
"I didn't know how to climb a pole," Mr. Arp said. "I was shaking my legs when I was having to climb a pole, but I made it."
Those lines helped the Allied Forces communicate through Europe in World War II. Mr. Arp landed in North Africa first, then he went to Italy. He joined his unit on Christmas Eve in 1944.
"That night we went out there. The corporal said come on boy we gonna go get some experience," Mr. Arp said. "We got up there. It was dark, but we could hear those Germans lobbing those field artillery in there. We could hear it, and you didn't have to worry about the one you could hear. It's that one that you can't hear."
He climbed those poles as the German soldiers shot at him. He climbed them in Naples and Rome, then to France, and finally in Germany.
"I wrote to him every night those two years," Lila said.
Ray Arp came home from the war to Walker County in 1946.
Lila was a senior in High school. She graduated in June. They got married in August.
"He's been a good one," Lila Arp said. "A good fine Christian man."
They've been married for more than 71 years.