Allen W. Rucker
Allen Willis Rucker, Jr. moved with his parents to Lexington, MA as a young boy. In 1938, he was enrolled in the 8th grade at Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, PA. He went to Valley Forge for the five remaining years of his secondary education, becoming an outstanding cadet, and graduated in June of 1943. He enrolled at Harverd Univeristy, but enlisted in the U.S. Army, entering service after he graduated from high school.
While at Valley Forge, Allen Jr. was an average student but excelled in debate, sports and music, winning several awards in these areas. He planned to continue his education at Harvard and Harvard Business School, joining his father in the The Eddy-Rucker-Nickels Company. Because of the war, he entered the Army and was inducted 27 May 1943 in Philadelphia, PA before his graduation. He reported for active duty 28 June 1943 at Fort Devens, MA and was made a corporal. Allen Jr. selected to go to Officers Candidate School and was sent to Fort Benning, GA. He decided he should go overseas instead. He resigned OCS and was sent to Florida and Texas for training in armored infantry.
Allen Jr. was sent to France in 1944 from Scotland. He fought in the front lines from the beginning, going from France into Luxembourg , Belgium and Germany. He was wounded during the Battle of Bastogne (the “Bulge”), but returned to active duty in two months. He promoted to Staff Sergeant and assigned to the 50th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division, 3rd Army. Allen J, received the Combat Infantry Badge and Purple Heart, and was the, awarded the Bronze Star Medal in December 1944 for Heroism in battle.
He entered Germany in February 1945, being the leader of a group of armored half-track vehicles. On 7 April 1945, his unit was assigned to repulse a counterattack by German armored units on the town of Wachstedt. Allen led his men to attack, clearing the town of the enemy, and then pursued the German forces as they retreated, he being in the lead armored half-track. A German self-propelled cannon was fired directly at his vehicle, with the shell exploding in the vehicle, killing his driver and Allen Jr. He was buried at Margraten Cemetery in Holland, only 20 years old, having been killed a month before Germany surrendered. His body was re-interred at Arlington National Cemetery in 1949.
For gallantry in action, Allen Jr., was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal. The award reads in part: “Armed only with a sub-machine gun, Staff Sergeant Rucker fearlessly charged an enemy machine gun position, after first getting his squad under cover. He then led his men in clearing the town and in the pursuit of enemy infantry and self- propelled guns through a woods beyond...His personal courage and conspicuous gallantry, at the cost of his own life, was an inspiration to his men.
In honor of his son, Allen Rucker gave a building, Rucker Hall, to Valley Forge Military Academy. Allen Jr.'s portrait and his military awards and medals are located in this building. He also gave a stained glass window in the Academy Chapel, the window being dedicated to Allen Jr. Each window in this beautiful chapel has a historic theme, with Allen Jr.'s appropriately being the ride of Paul Revere.
In Holland at the Margraten Cemetery, it became the custom of the local girls to "adopt" a grave of a soldier. Allen Jr.'s grave was picked by Gertrude de Faber, also 20 years old. "Gerry" placed flowers on his grave every two weeks, riding her bicycle from where she lived, 18 miles away. In 1947, Gerry came to the U.S. at the invitation of Allen and Elise Rucker, and spent three months with them, seeing a lot of the U.S., and getting to know her foster parents. Allen Rucker and Allen Rucker Jr. are both at Arlington National Cemetery, in graves side by side. Both men were credits to their country and to the Rucker family.
Source: The Rucker Family Society Newsletter: number 2, volume 12 (June 2001)
22 Apr 1945, Sun • Page 5