Today is “Thank a Veteran Day” in Big Spring and in honor of that KBest Media would like to recognize and thank Earnest Leon Sproles, a 21-month Army Veteran, who served on the front line as a Sergeant out of his company in Heartbreak Ridge during the Korean War.
A native from Lubbock, Texas, Sproles was 20 years old and newly married when he was drafted into the military. One of the most memorable experiences that he recalls was on a night when the temperature was 40 degrees below zero and he and his squadron were met with a confrontation from Chinese soldiers. When it came time to return fire, their weapons were frozen solid.
"They started firing at us and we tried to start firing back, but we couldn't fire. Our weapons wouldn't fire. They wouldn't fire at all...not even my pistol, that's how cold it was," said Sproles.
"So, I said let's get outta here," he continued. "I don't care what the company man said it's about 200 of them and about 9 or 10 of us, well 11 counting the radio man."
After that incident, Sproles stated that his legs became so swollen that a doctor recommended that they be amputated, but Sproles refused. Although he now uses a wheelchair for mobility, he still has his legs.
After being discharged from the Army, Sproles stated that he returned home to his wife in Lubbock, raised a family, and worked as a barber for 30 years.
Even though Sproles stated that he had been drafted into the military, he’s still proud to have fulfilled his duty to his country.