Leroy "Bud" Clair Herdman

Army Badge
  • Name: Leroy "Bud" Clair Herdman
  • Location of Birth: Almora, Minnesota
  • Date of Birth: February 8, 1923
  • Date of Death: December 3, 2005 (82 years old)
  • Parents: Robert J. Herdman and Ada Blanche (Wilson) Herdman
  • High School and Class: 1941 - Greenway High School, Coleraine, Minnesota
  • College:
  • Highest Rank: CORP (Corporal)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch:
  • Date Sworn In: May 5, 1943
  • Place Sworn In: Fort Snelling, Minnesota
  • Date of Discharge: January 30, 1946
  • Place of Discharge: Camp McCoy, Wisconsin
  • Military Awards:
    Good Conduct Medal
    Bronze Service Arrowhead
    European African Middle Eastern Theater Service Ribbon

  • Military Highlights:
    Information submitted by Robert J. Herdman II, Leroy's nephew

    Leroy C. Herdman served with the 456th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion, which was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division.
    Leroy parachuted into France during the Battle of the Bulge. Some friendly French farmers hid him in their barn for ten days. He participated in the Rome-Arno Campaign, Southern France Campaign, Ardennes Campaign, the Rhineland Campaign and the Central Europe Campaign.

    At one point he was allowed to visit his brother, Lloyd D. Herdman, who was wounded and hospitalized.

    Information from Ancestry.com, draft registration:
    Leroy was 19 when he registered for the draft on February 16, 1942, he was listed at 5'8", weighed 145 pounds, had brown eyes, brown hair, and had a light complexion.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    News article written by Willow Sedore, Herald-Review Staff Writer (no date--sometime in 2004):
    "Remembering D-Day
    Sunday, June 6 marks the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, a day in which 150,000 American and British troops stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.
    President Dwight D. Eisenhower said that 10 percent of the soldiers who fought in this battle would never come back. He was wrong-9,387 died, the rest survived and lived to tell. Howard Landey was one of them.
    According to some historians more Americans fought in WWII than any other conflict in the 20th century. More than 500,000 American soldiers died in World War II. But some say that fewer than 1 million of the 16 million who served saw any serious military conflicts.
    Bud Herman did not fight in D-Day, but was involved in a second major battle later that summer on the south of France.
    He said, "How many millions of us were in this war? They were all heroes. Just because they were or weren't in combat they were all heroes."
    "I am not a hero," said Herdman, who managed to last the war unscathed. "All I came back with was my hide. I was just a survivor. The ones that died they are the heroes the ones that came back, they are the survivors."
    Howard Landey who now lives in Grand Rapids was one of the men who survived the battle on the beach 60 years ago.
    He was a technician Fifth Grade with the Engineers. Not an infantryman, the engineers built and destroyed things. He joined the Army at the age of 23 in 1941 when the war hadn't even started yet. He returned home in November of 1945. Landey who grew up near Cohasset said that he wanted to see a few more states and knew that he would likely be drafted anyway.
    But Landey drove things. He transported loads of gasoline to supply the tanks in a GMC 2 and a half ton.
    "There was no way to get gas in there until we cleared the beach," he said.
    He still has a United States Flag sticker that was put on his truck at 1:15 p.m. June 6, 1944 before he headed out into the water. Directions on the back of the flag succinctly say, "Clear the beach."
    But it wasn't so simple.
    The beach was laced with obstacles, land mines, barbed wire and iron railroad ties crossed against one another. The tanks would bulldoze the beach, clear the mines and the troops and supply lines would follow.
    Before the invasion the company prepared the trucks and equipment for the water. The invasion barges landed way off course. As Landey tried to make it to shore he said the enemy was shooting at him "like ducks."
    "I was doing OK," he said. "Maybe the water was up to the running boards, but see then the shells started hitting and then I was up to my waist. But I made it OK."
    He was on his own for a full two days before he ran into this company again.
    "It was such a mess. You couldn't find anything. It was such a terrible mess," he said.
    During the operation Landey received four major battle stars, the meritorious service medal and the good conduct medal and he was never seriously injured.
    "You keep going or you get killed," he said, "and you might as well get killed moving than standing still."
    Landey never stood still however, he drove 55,000 miles on his truck in one year. He said most of the miles were put on after the war was over when he would take soldiers who were on leave to Paris. But he made many runs from the beach into Germany during the war, much of it in the dark without the use of headlights.
    "Out there is was just like you were in a cave," he said.
    Although many men were lost during the war, Landey believed that Hitler needed to be taken care of.
    "I felt that we had to do something. Where would we be today if the Germans took over our country? We would either be dead or speaking the German language is the way I Look at it."
    After pushing the Germans back on the beach, Landey's company later fought in the Battle of the Bulge and liberated Dachau.
    He said he saw the concentration camps and the mass graves of the Jews.
    "When you see all the children and all the people dug up into mass graves covered up with a bulldozer, well it's enough to...." he trails off unable to finish the sentence.
    The experience changed his life.
    He said, "I feel today that we need to love one another, not hate...but you have to forgive those people. I understand how Hitler brainwashed those people."
    Landey retired from working for U.S. Steel for 30 years in 1981. He has returned to Normandy twice with his wife of 54 years, Donnabelle. He visited the beach and the graves of his fellow soldiers and brought back not just a handful of memories and photographs but bags of shrapnel washed up on the beach.
    Every year land mines still can be found on the beach along with memorials to those who fought.
    Landey, now 85, still gets together with about six veterans of D-Day from around the area every year. He said it is hard to believe that it has been 60 years since that fateful day.
    In May there were approximately 4 million United States veterans of World War II still living, but statistics say that 1,100 of those WWII veterans die every day.
    Although he was "baptized in battle" south of Rome Italy on D-Day, Bud Herdman was in the battle of southern France in what is often referred to as the Second D-Day.
    Bud Herdman received five battle stars for fighting in Rome, Southern France, Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe.
    Herdman was drafted into the Army at 20 years old in 1943, but volunteered to become a paratrooper. Herdman who completed 19 jumps finished his service as a corporal in the 517 Parachute Combat Team in 1946.
    "I wanted to get in the middle of it, in the thick of it," said Herdman who also noted that paratroopers received $ 50 extra a month for hazard pay because of the danger involved.
    Early morning on August 15 Herdman was not only in the thick of it, but above it, lost in a blanket of dense fog.
    When paratroopers were dropped above the Mediterranean sea they missed the drop zone by what Herdman estimates to be 20 miles. So the men walked and when a convoy of vehicles came they would lay in ambush.
    "We didn't know what the outcome was going to be," said Herdman. "It was us against them."
    After taking southern France, Herdman and his company fought in the Battle of the Bulge.
    "That was one of the worse battles ever," said Herdman. "It was six weeks of mud and rain."
    But the Allied Forces pushed the Germans all the way back to Berlin. Later he fought in Ardennes, Rhineland and Southern Europe. When the war was finally declared officially over, Herdman stayed in Germany as an occupation officer with the 82nd Airborne.
    Herdman, who graduated from Greenway High School in 1941 returned to the area in 1956 and worked in construction until he retired in 1985.
    He said, "It took about a year to get back to civilian life, because when we were over there, we didn't realize what our freedom really was until you come back and seen what they had and what we have."
    Fighting for these freedoms, said Herdman, who suffered a mild stroke in 2000, is what makes the wars necessary and worth fighting.
    He said, "Thank the Lord that we have freedom and that's the reason why we have these wars-to keep our freedom."
    Landey agrees with Herdman when he said, "We can't, even today; we can't be stepped on. We have got to defend ourselves is what we have got to do."

    Leroy's cremains are buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Coleraine, Minnesota.

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):