Congressman Michael C. Burgess honored Trophy Club resident and U.S Army Veteran Bill Splichal at the November 11, 2014 “Salute Our Veterans” Luncheon. Mr Splichal was one of five individuals receiving the 26th Congressional District Veteran Commendation. He was also the 2014 Trophy Club July 4th Parade of Patriots Grand Marshal and recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
The Town of Trophy Club is proud to have Veterans such as Mr. Splichal as members of the community, and we are grateful for the sacrifices these brave men and women made for our country. Thank you Veterans!
Below is Bill Splichal’s commendation nomination summary:
Mr. William "Bill" Splichal of Trophy Club, TX served in the United States Armed Forces for over 27 dedicated years during World War II and the Korean War. Mr. Splichal grew up in a musical family and played several instruments, which carried over into his military service. During war time when American soldiers saw many casualties, endured personal suffering and witnessed pervasive sadness, Bill helped ease the pain by providing meaningful music that helped motivate, lift spirits and improve mental clarity for his fellow soldiers.
Mr. Splichal was drafted in 1943 at age 18 and and served in World War II from March 20, 1943 to January 26, 1946. As a Private at Camp Butner, NC, Company I, 311th Infantry of the 78th Infantry Division for Basic Training, he received training on the M1 Rifle, machine gun, 60MM Mortar, bayonet and hand grenades; and was made active Corporal due to his excellence in weapons training. Every morning Bill watched the band march down the street and decided to inquire about joining the band, which eventually came to fruition and Bill was assigned to the 78th Infantry Division Band.
The 78th Band left New York in October of 1944 from Camp Kilmer, NJ on the USS George O. Squier in a ship convoy flanked by destroyers and battleships on the seas and US Aircraft and British Air Force cover in the skies. The troop ships landed at Plymouth, England, where all musical instruments were stored during the war. From there Splichal's division travelled across the English Channel to Le Havre, France, where war had demolished the area.
The troops moved forward into combat at Aachen, Germany, which had just fallen to the Americans. After many stops, the troops set up Division Headquarters in Roetgen, Germany, which is located on the north side of the Battle of the Bulge. During combat the 78th Infantry Division Band served as guards in the forward and rear echelon of Division Headquarters and part of Bill's job was to guard the Division Commander, Major General Edwin P. Parker, Jr. He also guarded the road past a field hospital, which was converted from an old school building.
While stationed in Germany Bill recalled hearing guns and V2 (Buzz Bombs) flying over head and witnessing some close calls. A German plane flew over every day shooting at the American troops along the road and German artillery came in all the time. German tanks moved in during the Battle of the Bulge (the last great German offensive of the war) and Bill watched many Air Force dog fights above. Bill's unit moved forward to several other German cities and once they reached the Rhine River was the first infantry division to cross the Remagen Bridge, which the Germans were dive bombing.
World War II ended in May 1945 and Splichal's unit was stationed in eight cities across Europe (Germany, France and England) during the occupation. On December 21, 1945 the 78th Infantry Division Band played for General George Patton's funeral in Heidelberg, Germany. Splichal and his division boarded the ship George Washington on January 1, 1946 for the trip home.
Bill was discharged form the Army in January of 1946 and attended the University of Nebraska until 1950, receiving a Bachelor of Music in Education and a Masters of Music. Bill was in the Nebraska National Guard from May 1948 to September 1971, where he served as bandmaster for 23 years providing entertainment to troops. He was activated for the Korean War in September 1950, right after completing his Master's degree. At the time Bill's rank was Warrant Officer in the 43rd Army Band. The band was transferred to Fort Richardson, Alaska as the Alaska Command Band and played many soldier shows, parades, concerts, dances and USO shows. The band performed with many celebrities, including Anne Blythe, Buddy Hackett and Ray Milland. Bill returned to Nebraska in September 1952 and stayed with the 43rd Army Band until September 1971 with a rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.
Bill Splichal spent forty years working for State Farm Insurance, from 1956 to 1996. Bill and his wife Swanee moved to Trophy Club, Texas in 2000 after retirement. Once relocated, Bill began teaching trumpet lessons at a music store, his home and at Medlin Middle School. In 2014 Bill was the Honorary Veteran and Grand Marshal of the July 4, 2014 Parade of Patriots in Trophy Club. He recently celebrated his 90th birthday with many family, friends and neighbors in attendance.