PATTON, MO (KFVS) - Just make it home, this week's Heartland Hero said his goal was that simple.
"I know I would have liked to have been in something other than the infantry but I was put there and I did what I had to do to stay alive," W.C. Hogland, a WWII veteran, said. "I can still remember. I will never forget for a guy to have a pistol in your face, you think you are gone."
Hogland was given orders to search Japanese shacks as he called them. They were basically elevated hideouts. Hogland's unit started shooting once they got close and after the firing stopped, commanders ordered Hogland and other soldier to do a final search the shacks just to make sure no Japanese soldiers remained.
"I had a pistol in my face like this and this kid said look out. I just turned around and there that pistol was in my face and I just pulled my trigger and blew him to pieces," Hogland said.
An image still to this day that he can't forget.
"I was lucky," Hogland said. "The good Lord was with me. I know my momma was praying."
Those prayers were answered a second time, a time when Hogland was awarded a silver star for bravery.
Hogland said the Japanese machine guns were spraying over his head so we was able to crawl up underneath it and shoot the Japanese soldier.
"And I'm not sorry about it because that way it could have saved some lives in our unit," Hogland said. "They named me a hero, I'm not a hero. I just did what I had to do to stay alive."