GREENSBORO, N.C. -- World War II Veteran, William "Doc" Long, served under one of the most feared and respected commanders, General George Patton.
"The news back home was that there was an unidentified division that was a spur in the German's saddle. While it didn't say it was the 79th, we knew personally who they were talking about," said Doc Long, WWII Veteran.
Long served in the 79th Infantry, in General Patton's Third Army. He fought on the front lines, close enough to look his enemy in the eyes.
"We learned that you suffered less casualties if you were very aggressive, which we were," said Long.
He added, "On one occasion, our division traveled 180 miles in 72 hours. It was the fastest supposed march of any infantry division in the history of warfare."
No doubt tough - Long says he was strengthened and protected by faith.
After three months pushing the Germans back across France, Long was seriously wounded not once, but twice.
"When I was first hit, without even a thought of controlling my voice when I hit the ground, I knew I was seriously wounded, and I said, 'God have Mercy.'"
Long carried the Bible his aunt gave him before the war in a pocket over his heart. She told him that was where he needed to keep it. He listened.
"While I was laying out there, I got wounded a second time. And I had a little Bible in my pocket, and it got struck, and the steel went through," said Long.
The shrapnel went all the way to Revelation but the backing of the Bible prevented it from piercing his heart.
"I thought it saved my life."
From the front lines, to a first aid station, to different hospitals, fellow soldiers made sure to grab Long's Bible and that piece of shrapnel. He now keeps them in his office, as a daily reminder of how so many, sacrificed so much.
"I never will forget that and I am thankful that I was able to help in a small way."
Long has two Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars. He says his most prized medal is the Combat Infantry Badge because he was proud to serve the United States of America on the front lines.
He is one of 128 World War II Veterans going on the D-Day Honor Trip to Bedford, Virginia on Friday, June 6.
To welcome him and the other veterans home, come to the Welcome Home Celebration at Hanes Mall. More information is available in this story.
On Friday, June 6, WFMY News 2 is hosting a welcome home celebration for the WWII veterans going on the D-Day Honor trip.