Charles “Red” Whittington, honored by the French government as one of the original U.S. Army 95th Division members known as the Men of Metz, died Monday night while in hospice in Columbus. He was 98.
“He was a hero,” his daughter Jane Harvey, Monticello, said Tuesday afternoon in a telephone interview. “He was a hero of World War II and a hero of our lives.”
Harvey said “Red” was always a good friend to everyone who crossed his path, and particularly a hero to all of his family, who looked to him as a mentor. “He believed in us,” his daughter said.
Whittington taught his children and grandchildren the value of hard work and Harvey described him as a great parent.
“The thing I will miss about him is I could always depend on him to be a good listener,” his daughter said. “We always knew he would be our best advocate.”
Whittington served in France in late 1944 as a member of the 377th Infantry Regiment, 95th Infantry Division. Renowned for fighting back fierce German counterattacks, Whittington’s division earned the nickname “Iron Men of Metz” for fighting to liberate and defend the town of Metz.
Against heavy resistance, the 95th captured the forts surrounding Metz and captured the city by Nov. 22, 1944. Metz is less than 30 miles from the German border.
Whittington later was wounded in Boulay, France, even closer to the German border as Patton’s forces drove closer to their wartime goal.
For more on this story, see Wednesday’s Republic.