Leon Kent, Who Stopped Line of Tanks at Battle of the Bulge, Dies at 99
World War II Battle of the Bulge Leon Kent Dies 99. In the first desperate hours of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, a young Army lieutenant was given an order that seemed impossible: stop a fast-moving column of German tanks from advancing.
“Anti-aircraft gunners, who stayed behind when the infantry withdrew, played a vital role in preventing a major German breakthrough in Belgium. … One battery, commanded by Lt. Leon Kent of Los Angeles, knocked out five tanks, including one King Tiger tank, in two hours.”
Our WWII veterans are dying at a rate of more than 600 a day.
Leon Kent was one such WWII veteran.
The three soldiers received Silver Stars for bravery. Kent, who stayed beside his men during the fight, was meritoriously promoted to captain. He was supposed to receive a Silver Star, but the paperwork was lost. In 1998, at the nudging of a congressman, the oversight was corrected and the award bestowed.
Kent, who returned to a career as a lawyer and bowling alley owner after the war, died Feb. 12 in Beverly Hills, his home for several decades. He was 99 and had pneumonia, his family said.
He always downplayed any sense that he had acted bravely during that attack. But he never dismissed the danger that his soldiers faced from German tanks.
Leon Kent, Who Stopped Line of Tanks at Battle of Bulge, Dies at 99 | Military.com
"If they got one shot at us, we were dead," he told the Los Angeles Times in 2011. "I remember thinking: Do the shells go through you or do you go up in pieces?" By stopping the German column, Allied troops who had retreated were able to regroup and begin countermeasures.
In Paris, he met a young French woman, Simone. They were married, also in Paris, in 1945. Resuming his law practice after the war, Kent was involved in tax cases and entertainment and copyright law. His clients included Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger; Lou Costello of the comedy team Abbott and Costello; and Pilar Wayne, wife of John Wayne. He successfully represented American playwright and screenwriter Emmet Lavery in a copyright case in a court in Paris. Back in Southern California, he became an attorney for the Grandview Building Co. and Budget Rent-a-Car.Leon
In the 1960s, Kent worked with the dean of the UCLA Law School to help admit more minority students. He was chairman of the Lawyers and Civil Rights Committee of the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
In addition to his wife, also known as Monette, Kent is survived by daughter Lynette Kent of Huntington Beach, Calif.; son Paul Richard Kent of Edmonds, Wash.; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
About that day he was given a suicidal-sounding order to stop the enemy, Kent was blunt:
"We stopped them cold."
Article Provided by: Military Times