W. King Pound

[ Age 82 ] Decorated World War II tank commander fought under Patton, founded an ad agency in Washington.

"I don't believe that hero stuff," said Mr. Pound, who received several decorations for his war service.

May 16, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,sun reporter

William King Pound, a decorated World War II tank commander who fought at the Battle of the Bulge and later established an advertising agency, died of primary lateral sclerosis May 8 at his Catonsville home. He was 82.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Ten Hills neighborhood, Mr. Pound was a 1942 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School. After briefly attending Loyola College, he enlisted in the Army in 1943.

He was a gunner on an M5 light tank assigned to the 4th Armored Division of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.'s 3rd Army when he landed on Utah Beach in June 1944, two weeks after the D-Day Normandy invasion.

That September, Mr. Pound was sent to a military hospital in Cherbourg, France, where he spent the next three months recovering from an infected flesh wound.

He rejoined his unit as the Germans began their final offensive in the Ardennes - the Battle of the Bulge - that raged from Dec. 16, 1944, to the end of January 1945.

In a 2002 interview with David A. Lande, author of I Was With Patton, Mr. Pound recounted seeing "Old Blood and Guts," as Patton was referred to by his troops.

"The most memorable time I saw Patton was when we were driving to Bastogne," Mr. Pound was quoted as saying in the book. "We were all buttoned up in our tank because of the heavy artillery fire coming down on our position and I looked up through the periscope and saw him driving through the snow, standing upright in his jeep, and assessing our position. Crazy bastard. But inspiring."

On Christmas Eve, Mr. Pound's platoon of five tanks was ordered to make a night attack on Warnach, a small Belgian farming village near Bastogne.

"As we approached the village, we set fire to the straw thatched roofs of the farm houses so as to illuminate the scene," Mr. Pound wrote in an unpublished memoir. "Unfortunately, the fires silhouetted our tanks, and within a minute, all five tanks were destroyed."

Concentrating on firing his .30-caliber machine guns, Mr. Pound failed to realize that his tank had been hit by enemy tanks hidden near the village. But his concentration was broken, Mr. Pound recalled, when his tank commander hollered down, "Get the hell out - we've been hit!"

He got out but returned to the damaged tank to rescue a wounded soldier who had been mistakenly left behind.

"So I ran back to the tank, centered the turret and [the soldier] started climbing out - his foot had been hit by the shell and he couldn't walk," Mr. Pound wrote. "I got him piggyback on my back and we started scurrying to get back to our lines, probably a mile or so."

Mr. Pound got medical help for the soldier but never saw him again. Mr. Pound's heroism that night earned him the Bronze Star for the rescue amid "intense enemy action and small arms fire," said the decoration's citation.

"They would have done the same for thing for me if I'd been in the same situation," Mr. Pound said in a 1997 interview with the Catonsville Times. "I don't believe that hero stuff."

His war decorations included two Purple Hearts, five Bronze Service Stars and the Distinguished Unit Badge.

After being discharged as a sergeant in 1945, he returned to Loyola College and earned his bachelor's degree in 1949.

He went to work that year in the advertising department of The Catholic Review, and two years later was asked by the Archdiocese of Washington to help establish the Catholic Standard.

Mr. Pound became the paper's advertising manager and later general manager, until resigning in 1983 to establish King Pound Advertising in Washington.

He also founded the now-defunct Catholic Markets Newspaper Association, whose purpose was to help Catholic newspapers obtain national advertising, and in 1993 he established KPA Media Network Inc. - which trades as Catholic Advertising Media and represents 157 Catholic newspapers. In 2002, he sold both King Pound Advertising and KPA Media Network to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

In 1994, he traveled alone to Belgium to participate in the 50th anniversary ceremonies commemorating the Battle of the Bulge.

Before going abroad, he submitted to a Luxembourg newspaper a picture he had taken 50 years earlier of a small child whose family had hidden Mr. Pound and his men from the enemy that Christmas Eve.

Arriving in Menufontaine, a farming village near Warnach, Mr. Pound was reunited with the little boy, Lucien Dauby, then 56, and his brother and five sisters.

Mr. Dauby and his brother, Jean Pierre Dauby, came to Catonsville for the 50th wedding anniversary of Mr. Pound and his wife, the former Patricia McDonald.

Mr. Pound was a longtime communicant of St. William of York Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore.

A memorial service was held yesterday for Mr. Pound, and interment is set for 3 p.m. July 3 at Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Pound is survived by two sons, William K. Pound Jr. of Arnold and Michael C. Pound of Catonsville; two daughters, Debbie P. Derwart of Ellicott City and Christine Green of West River; 10 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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