FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WDVM) — It’s rare that fathers and sons serve in the same military unit in different wars, but William Wood served in the same unit that his father served in during World War One.

“My father was a cook in Headquarters Company, 318th Regiment of the 80th Infantry Division, the so-called ‘Blue Ridge Division,’ because of its roots in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia,” Wood said.

Wood was a T-5 — a Technician 5th Grade — in Company C, an armored infantry unit.

After graduation from Luray High School, Wood went to work at American Viscose Corporation in Front Royal, the largest supplier of rayon that was used to make civilian and military tires. A deferment kept him out of the Army for six months. When Wood’s deferment wasn’t renewed, he and a buddy went down to the local draft board and asked to be sent to Europe on the first available ship. Uncle Sam honored their wishes.

Wood trained in Texas as a gunner on a Quad-Fifty [heavy machinegun] mounted on a half-track before shipping out for Europe. When he arrived in France, he was told the Army didn’t need anti-aircraft gunners any longer because the U.S. had achieved air superiority over the Luftwaffe.

Wood spent an additional eight weeks training to be a basic infantryman.

“I was sent to the front lines as a replacement for soldiers killed during the Battle of the Bulge,” said Wood.

The winter of 1944 was the worst in European history. Temperatures were so low they couldn’t be measured by meteorologists, but Wood says he was able to stay warm.

“We built campfires and had warm clothing to wear; a wool overcoat and four-buckle overshoes to keep our feet dry,” said Wood.

Wood probably could have used a set of snowshoes to wade through deep snow in the Ardennes, a heavily-forested area on the German-Belgium border, because he said his galoshes were hard to run in, especially in snow or mud. Although Adolph Hitler’s “Go-For-Broke” offensive through the Ardennes in late December of 1944 and early January of 1945 failed, the fighting was far from over.

William Wood was wounded by a sniper in Kassel, Germany a few weeks before the war ended in May. Wood is reminded of what happened to him every time he rolls out of bed and stands up. The sniper’s bullet shattered the femur in his right leg, but that didn’t stop Wood from having a full and rewarding life.