Hess had sterling military career

Published 2:46 am Saturday, February 23, 2019


Lt. Col. Glenn C. Hess was the husband of Helen Hess, a wonderful friend to everyone at the First United Methodist Church in Andalusia. “Hugging” Helen, as she is affectionately known by all of her fellow church members, celebrates her 104th birthday on Feb 26, 2019.

This tribute to Glenn Hess is written, both to honor his service to our country as a member of The Greatest Generation, as well as, to commemorate the life of his devoted wife, Helen.

THen 2nd Lt. Hess

Glenn Carroll Hess was born in Liberty, Iowa, on Feb 2, 1911. His parents were Al and Clara Hess of Liberty. After graduating from Liberty Center High School, Glenn attended Simpson College [a Methodist college] in Indianola, Iowa. He graduated and then married a fellow student, Helen Frances Fryer, who had attended Simpson College for one year. Helen was from Villisca, Iowa. Her parents were Fred and Elzene Fryer. Helen was born Feb 26, 1915 ,and was 18 years old when she and Glenn married on Sept. 30, 1933.

Glenn went to work for the State Welfare Dept. in Des Moines. In 1937, Glenn joined the Iowa National Guard. He trained with the Guard, part time, until 1941. In Glenn’s own words, “He sensed the inevitability of an approaching war and so he joined the Guard fulltime.” Glenn had been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant when he was mobilized on Feb 10, 1941, and sent to Camp Claiborne in Louisiana. Helen said, “I moved back to my hometown of Villisca, but I didn’t stay with my parents.”

Glenn underwent a year’s training as a part of the 168th Infantry with the 34th  Division in Louisiana. In April 1942, he was promoted to 1st Lt., and  was sent overseas . The 34th Division went to Scotland, Northern Ireland and England where they trained  in preparation for the invasion of N. Africa [Operation Torch].

During training aboard ship, Glenn suffered a broken back from a fall. He was sent to a Naval Hospital in Scotland for treatment and rehab. After that, he was sent to N. Africa and assigned to G-4 with the 34th, with responsibilities in logistics.

In April 1943, Glenn was promoted to Captain and loaned to II Corps and assigned to Gen. Omar Bradley’s staff. He also served on Gen. Patton’s staff.  II Corps was involved in seven total campaigns including Sicily, Anzio, Naples-Fogia, Rome-Arno, N. Appinine and Po Valley.

At the close of WWII, Glenn had been promoted to Major and was assigned to the Army of Occupation [part of the 7th Army Headquarters]  at Stuttgart, Germany. His responsibilities were Economics and Displaced persons as well as the Military Government in Stuttgart. Helen joined Glenn in 1946 and he was named Deputy Director of Economics for the Army of Occupation.

They  returned to the states in 1948 and Maj. Hess helped set up the ECA Program for Bi-Zonal Germany. He spent the next four years with the Plans Division Corps. While Glenn worked in Washington, DC , they lived close by in Virginia.

During the next several years, Glenn attended the Naval War College in Newport, RI where he was promoted to Lt. Col.; served on the faculty of the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Va.; and studied French at the Army Language School and attended the US Army Management School at Ft. Belvoir, Va.

From 1957-58, Glenn was assigned to the US Military Assistance Group to work with the French government in Cambodia. We don’t know his duties there but you can bet they were interesting.

In 1958, Glenn, Helen and the family moved to Huntsville, Ala.,  where he was assigned to Redstone Arsenal. In 1959, the family moved back to Virginia when Glenn became Commanding Officer of the Army Transportation Intelligence Agency.

In 1960, while still living in Virginia, Glenn was assigned to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters in Washington where he served until his retirement.

While with NASA, Glenn worked with the transportation division including setting up the transportation plans for the International Conference for Peaceful Uses of Outer space. He also worked on the project to maximize utilization of the US Scientific Effort.

Lt. Col. Glenn Hess retired Aug 1, 1962. He and Helen opened an art gallery in Alexandria, Va. After living there a few years, they moved to Falls Church, Va., and opened an art gallery and antique shop, Vickie Marie Imports, named after their daughter, Vickie.  Glenn made, among other things, custom chandeliers.

In 1970, they retired and moved to Front Royal, Va., where Glenn managed two apartment buildings. Glenn died in Front Royal, on Aug 18, 1994, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

It is worth noting that Lt. Col. Hess had visited over 35 countries and every state. He had written his resume [parts of which I used here]. He had received the following decorations: Two Bronze Stars, American Defense and American Campaign Medals, European and Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal [Germany], National Defense Service Medal, Eight overseas bars and the French Croix de Guerre, presented by French Pres. Charles de Gaulle.

In addition to his degree from Simpson College, Glenn Hess had an equivalent degree from the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas [1948]. He had also graduated from the  Army Transportation School, Ft. Eustice, Va. [1951]; the Naval War College, Newport, RI. [1953]; the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Va. [1954]; the Army Language school, Monterey, Ca. [1956]; and the US Army Management School, Ft. Belvoir,  Va. [1959.

After retirement, Glenn became a member of the Shriners and the American Legion.

On a departing note to his resume Lt. Col. Hess said, ”I’ve just attended Gen. Omar Bradley’s funeral. I always said that he was the ‘biggest’ man I ever met. That included King George IV, Queen Mary, Prince Umberto of Italy, Lord Mountbatten, Adm. Cunningham [UK], Gens. Smutts, Patton, Marshall, Eisenhower, and Pres. Kennedy.”

What an endorsement of Gen. Bradley, the man credited with being the architect of Gen.  Eisenhower’s plan for the conquest of Germany.  These words were spoken by a man who had “seen it all.”

Glenn and Helen had four children: Duane born in 1935, Marvin born in 1936, Patricia [Bettinger] born in 1937 and Vicki [Cryan] born in 1951.

Duane joined the Navy, served three years, then joined the Air Force where he would retire in 1985 as a Master Sergeant, having served for 23 years.

Marvin married Joy Clark, who was a native of Covington County, and they moved back here after he retired.

Marvin and Joy bought Helen a home in Andalusia and she moved here in 1996. Helen still resides there today at age 104. Her daughter, Vicki, lives with her.

Although this tribute was written for Glenn Hess, Helen’s husband of almost 61 years, it is, as much as anything, a tribute to a wonderful lady who is a loving fixture at the Methodist Church in Andalusia.

Author’s note: I would like to thank Jane Barber for her help in  gathering the information on Helen and her family.