Czech Republic / Story
Ken Jones grew up in Baltimore and served in the European Campaign as part of the U.S. 16th Armoured Division where he ultimately rose the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He was part of the unit that liberated the Pilsen brewery complex.
Below is Ken Jones’ recollection about his time in Pilsen and participation in the liberation of the brewery complex:
“My military duties with the 16th Armored Division, U.S. Army, were to serve as Division Information Officer, an important educative responsibility while in training in America, but now functioning as a sort of in-house or staff journalist. Officially, I was a part of the Headquarters Company, but no one seemed to care what I was doing.
When I identified the unit which had been instructed to liberate the brewery, I thought that would be news-worthy and attached myself to that unit. This entitled me to claim for posterity that I had helped to liberate the brewery. The German soldiers we found in the brewery complex were eager to surrender so it was almost a "non event. […]
My first impression of the Czech Republic was that I was gazing upon the most beautiful, believable countryside I had ever seen. The rolling hills topped by evergreen forests provided a backdrop for fields of waving grain, as men and women harvested the winter wheat and stacked it onto hay wagons drawn by horses. It was like a painting by an 18th century master. If that were not enough, the frequent dark gray granite outcroppings among the wheat were like after-thoughts by an artist to improve on perfection…”
After the war, he graduated from American University and Yale Divinity School. Thanks to the support of the City of Pilsen, Ken returned to visit five times: 1995, 2000, 2002, 2005, and 2010.