By Shari Stern
When Woodrow Wilson High School graduate Mike Looney received his mom’s call that she could not wake his dad, he rushed over to their house. There he found pictures, notes, journals and magazines about World War II, which his 79-year-old father had apparently been looking through while in bed the night before. “I didn’t know he had all that stuff. He surrounded himself with his life,” Looney said.

What Looney learned from all the documents was that a mistake had been made when another soldier in the 196th FAB field artillery battalion received recognition that should have gone to his dad. “Someone got a medal for a false report,” Looney explained.

A couple of weeks after his death, a book came to Looney’s father in the mail from a man named Zinngrabe. Known as “Z,” the author, who served in the war with Looney, had written the book on the history of the 196th FAB field artillery battalion in 1944 during the “Battle of the Bulge.” Looney’s curiosity was peaked when he found, among his dad’s items, the names and addresses of those with whom the veteran, George Washington Looney, had served.

He knew he had to rectify the mistake that had been made. “Those names became the beginning of my research, once I realized that my dad’s story clarified what had actually happened at the Battle of the Bulge,” Looney said. “I took off on a journey, traveling the country and Germany, looking for all those soldiers in my dad’s address book.”

The results of Looney’s travels became the basis of his book, “The Battle of the Bulge: The Untold Story of Hofen.”

A ’67 Woodrow graduate, Looney grew up in the Lakewood area with two brothers, both of whom also attended Woodrow. He and his wife, Sandra, have three daughters, all Woodrow graduates.

His book has been acclaimed by many, leading to requests for Looney to speak to groups and audiences about the story. Some of his appearances have been at Churchill Estates, the Frontiers of Flight Museum, the Dallas WWII Round Table, Park Cities Lions Club and the Grand Prairie Metro Rotary Club. An upcoming appearance is scheduled for January 27, 11:00 a.m. at the Highlands Springs Retirement Community.

U.S. Congressman, Pete Sessions, presented a medal to G.W. Looney posthumously at the downtown Rotary Club, which was accepted by Mrs. Looney. Sessions said the following in a speech honoring the hero:“From combat to business to family, George Washington Looney distinguished himself as a great American who understood how to operate from a position of strength. I am honored to have delivered his military Silver Star medal — a fitting symbol of a great man’s lasting legacy. Now through Mike Looney’s book in moving tribute to his father’s life, more Americans will know the inspiration, strength of character, and principled responsibility that encompasses George Looney’s journey as a member of America’s Greatest Generation.”

For more information about “The Battle of the Bulge: The Untold Story of Hofen,” visit mikelooney.com.

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