Ask a Veteran
These Museum staffers and volunteers once served their country in the armed forces. Now they serve in a different way.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, November 10, 2011
When the members of E Company, 28th Division arrived in Belgium in 1944, they were just in time for the Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Offensive. “The Germans attacked because they had excellent meteorology information,” says Howard Roseman, a former member of the 28th Division. “They knew there would be a very short period of about a week or ten days when the weather would be terrible, and that the Air Force could not support the Allies. So they attacked, and they were right: It rained, there was bad weather, and they planned to push all the way from Germany toward the Atlantic Ocean at Antwerp. Well, they never reached Antwerp. The Allies threw everything they had at them. They threw all the 18-year-olds at the Germans like they were sandbags, and I was one of those sandbags.”
Roseman received a Bronze Star for his part in the battle, and another for his fighting in the Battle of Germany. “We were one of the last companies to cross the Rhine river on the Remagen Bridge,” he says. Roseman was awarded five other medals before being returned to Seattle, Washington, where he expected to be shipped to the Pacific to fight against Japan. The Japanese surrendered before he could be shipped out.
Roseman was discharged from active service in July 1946, and immediately volunteered for the Army Reserves, where he served until July 1949. “It’s funny,” he says. “The Army was reorganized at that time, so even though I was discharged as a sergeant from the 28th Infantry, I was separated from the reserves as a corporal.”
In the 1960s, Roseman had been working for General Electric at the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, on the Apollo moon program when NASA hired him to work in Washington, D.C. Roseman would eventually become the agency's space shuttle integration manager. He stayed for almost 35 years before retiring in 1997.
In 1998 he applied to be a docent at the Museum, and he has volunteered every other Saturday since. “It’s a perfect match for me,” he explains, “and it’s been wonderful. I love it.”
Howard Roseman stands near the Apollo Lunar Module, which is on display in the Lunar Exploration Vehicles exhibition at the National Mall building.