SUN CITY CENTER — Harold Heil spent more than 11 months in combat as an Army sergeant during World War II.
The Sun City Center resident fought during the Battle of the Bulge where he witnessed 13 of the 15 men in his squadron die during the Germans' last major offensive of the war.
Between the conflicts, Heil found time for rare positive memories that included building bridges across many rivers, tasting the Salvation Army's doughnuts and coffee, and taking in a live United Service Organizations show featuring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
Heil will once again have the opportunity to share in those recollections today, the 70th anniversary of the D-day invasion, as one of five local residents being honored for their WWII service during a 6:30 p. m. USO-styled show at the United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1210 Del Webb Blvd. W.
"I really feel very lucky to have gotten through everything and to remember so much," said Heil, 91.
A Bob Hope impersonator will host the 90-minute show, which is scheduled to include other imitation performances by Abbott & Costello, the Andrews Sisters, Betty Hutton and Jerry Colonna. Heil will be honored alongside church members Ken Barringer, Ed Stewart (who guarded Japanese prisoners in the Philippines), Zane Grey (the nephew of the famed Western author of the same name) and Bob Kaufman (who earned the Combat Infantry Badge).
Church member Glenn Appleyard of Apollo Beach, who wrote and produced the show, said the Andrews Sisters performers are professionals and the rest are actors or aspiring actors who work for Disney and know his sons, Christopher and Erik, who have ties to Disney.
Tickets are $15. For more information, call (813) 634-2539 or visit umcscc.org.
Eric Vician, Times correspondent