ALFRED EDWIN BLOCK

Alfred Edwin Block, 93, of Hillman, died Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at Hillman’s Haven.

Alfred was born Oct. 1, 1924, in Saginaw to Frederick and Emma (Schmittgen) Block. He began his military service in June of 1944 as a Private First Class in the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division. He specialized as a heavy machine gunner and was part of the Rhineland and Ardennes Campaigns. During the December 1944 Nazi Operation “Christ Rose,” three German armies numbering a quarter of a million, attacked the Allied line in the Ardennes, where the undermanned 4th Division was recuperating in a quiet section of Luxemburg. At 5 a.m. on Dec. 16, the Nazi’s began their surprise blitzkrieg by crossing the Sauer River and attacking Alfred Block’s Regiment. One of the defending points for the Allied forces was Berdorf, Luxembourg, where Block helped to hold the line against the largest German counter offensive attack of the war. This was Germany’s last major offensive, and if lost would have split the Ally forces in two as they moved into Germany, thus destroying their ability to supply themselves. On Jan. 21, 1945, five days before the end of what would later be called the Battle of the Bulge, Alfred was wounded along with seven of his soldiers after a Mark VI Tiger Tank destroyed his gun with a shelling. Alfred was rendered unconscious as a result of the attack. Because of his injuries, Alfred was honorably discharged from the Army in August of 1945. For his bravery and service, he was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, two Bronze Battle Stars, a Combat Infantry Badge, the Commemorative War Cross for outstanding service by Yugoslavia, the Grand Cross of the Homage from the Military Order of the Ardennes, as well as a Purple Heart. His unit was also given the French De Guerrer for their part of liberating France as a result of the Battle of the Bulge. Alfred was a member of the Purple Hearts in Cheboygan and Agent Orange Riders Chapter #1 in Alpena. A very special thank you to the Agent Orange Riders and the great staff at Hillman’s Haven who became part of Alfred’s “adopted family.”

Surviving is a son, Dennis, two granddaughters; Jennifer Durr and Melissa Block and two great-grandchildren, Miles and Ezra Durr. He was preceded in death by his wife, Iris and a son, Dale.

Alfred Block is at McWilliams Funeral Home where friends may call on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, from 12 Noon until the time of the funeral service at 1 p.m. with VFW Post #2496 officiating and providing military honors in conjunction with the Agent Orange Riders. Interment will be at Burt Mullett Cemetery in Topinebee, Mich. Online condolences may be registered at www.mcwilliamsfh.com.