May 23, 2013
Tank Command Just Part Of A Lifetime Of Service
By Derek Maul
The Bridges retirement community resident Clyde Piercy has been married to his bride, Margaret, for 71 years (and counting). Looking back over seven decades, Piercy’s most difficult moment may have been the day in 1944 when he left his wife behind, along with their two-year-old son, to begin his military service.
Piercy, 94, was one of six brothers to take the oath and wear a military uniform. Two served in the Army, two signed on with the Navy, and two were in the National Guard. His brother Earl paid the ultimate price, killed in action in Germany just a few days before the war ended in 1945.
“Earl took the place of a friend and volunteered for patrol the night he was killed,” Piercy said. “That’s the kind of man he was.”
Working for two years as a tank commander in the 742nd Amphibian Tank Battalion, Piercy had a reputation as “the best of the best” for his skill in maneuvering the behemoth apparatus.
“They were cumbersome in the water,” he said. “I can’t say I enjoyed it, but the job needed to be done and so I did my best.”
The response highlights a consistent value evident in the stories that come from veterans of Piercy’s era; one that shows up throughout the balance of their lives. They didn’t pick and choose what they spent their time doing based on if they thought they’d enjoy it or not; instead, they did what they did out of a sense of duty and because it needed to be done.
After he returned home in 1946, Piercy worked with the Sanford (Florida) Post office until his retirement.
According to Piercy’s daughter, Susan Warren, he was offered the postmaster job on more than one occasion, but always turned it down because the position was, “too political.”
A man of deep personal faith, Piercy served many years as a deacon at the Sanford Baptist Church. One of his favorite duties was counting the offering, and in the unusual event of a discrepancy between the deposit slip and the bank, “Mr. Piercy” was the only person the bank ever deferred to.