Twin WWII veterans celebrate 100th birthday together
POCATELLO, Idaho — Ralph and Boyd Henderson went into the army together during World War II, but the war eventually separated them. Thursday they celebrated their 100th birthday together with family and friends.
One hundred is a big number, and a pretty big deal, unless you’re the one who’s managed to reach that age.
“It means you’re old,” Ralph Henderson said, his family laughing in the background.
His twin brother, Boyd Henderson, had a different take.
“It’s wonderful,” Boyd said. “I had a feeling we’d do it.”
While Boyd lives in Pocatello and Ralph lives in Provo, the two got together at a church in Pocatello Thursday to celebrate their big birthday. They’ve been through a lot together, including their service during World War II.
“Ralph went into the army before me,” Boyd said. “My mother was concerned, so she got me to join.”
The two brothers both left their young wives behind and trained together, but were later separated into different companies of the 805th Tank Destroyer Battalion. Both admit that their time on the battlefield was hard.
“Sometimes you had to shoot,” Ralph said. “Shoot all the time. Didn’t like it.”
“I know Ralph was worried about me and I worried about him,” Boyd added. “I was on several invasions.”
Boyd was injured in combat, earning him the Purple Heart. Ralph earned a Silver Star award for his efforts during an invasion. The two were later reunited when Ralph says another soldier called him by the wrong name.
“A fella’ called me Boyd, and I don’t know why he called me Boyd, but I wasn’t Boyd,” Ralph said, adding that he later found his brother in a nearby tent.
Many years later, both of them were grateful for their experiences during the war, even though many of them were difficult.
“We belong to the greatest organization on earth,” Boyd said. “The United States Army. Ain’t nothing better, nothing bigger.”