40 Days of Honor: The Ballad of Bodeen Green

By Kevin Wood/NEMS Daily Journal

Bodeen Green grew up on a farm halfway between the Bigbee and Cason communities in Monroe County. When he was 17 years old, he went to the Army enlistment office in Amory, lied about his age, and signed up. In less than six months, he was on a ship headed to Europe as a part of the 30th Infantry Division. A short time later he was at Omaha Beach in the second wave of attacks on Normandy. His division was engaged in combat for a total of 282 days, but Bodeen Green only saw a part of that.

Bodeen Green was a part of a large group of American soldiers cutoff from the main segment of the Army by the Nazis in the summer of 1944. He was taken prisoner in France. It was the beginning of a treacherous 9 month ordeal involving forced marches, rides on cramped boxcars, and finally unloading at one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious prisoner camps, Stalag 7A. In Bodeen Green’s nine months as a POW, he saw plenty of horrific acts. He saw men executed and he himself was beaten numerous times. All the men were starved as the camp’s population swelled. By the time his prison camp was liberated on April 29, 1945, there were nearly 80,000 prisoners living there. Bodeen weighed barely 95 pounds.

Bodeen Green eventually made his way back home to their farm in Monroe County. No one knew he was on his way. On the day he arrived, he found his father plowing a cornfield. Bodeen hid in the bushes out of sight as his father turned to do another row. He walked up from behind and startled his father by saying, “Do you know how to plow?” His father immediately turned and hugged his son, crying uncontrollably together in the field.

Read the rest of Bodeen Green’s story at www.40DaysofHonor.com