Although, I have been involved in hundreds of productions during the past four decades I rarely had the opportunity to become involved in stories about war. But for some reason, deep down inside, there has always been an attraction and distinct connection to WWII.
Perhaps this dates back to the Naval Air Station where I was born, and a father who served in the Navy as an Instructor in Aerial Gunnery. My wife's father also served in WWII flying 32 missions for the 384th Bomb Group, where he received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Perhaps our over-laden bookshelves of WWII history are examples of this kinship to our father's pasts.
But my inherent interest about the war didn't peak until I met a man who served in the ground forces in Europe, in a little known Division made-up of National Guard troops. As I interviewed this stately gentlemen and heroic soldier - I found his stories to be both compelling and almost unbelievable. But what I discovered later was even more compelling.
This almost obscure Division known as Old Hickory - not only participated in some of the most pivotal battles in the European Theatre of Operation but at wars end, was evaluated as the number one division of the ETO. Even more amazing was that Eisenhower's staff had recommended the division to receive one of the highest military honors - the Presidential Unit Citation.
As I came to know this energetic and yet humble gentlemen, his face would often sadden as he recalled how the honor has been denied the men for almost 65 years. Denied... after a recommendation by Eisenhower's own staff...how could this happen?
For me a film maker and storyteller - armed with such intriguing information began one of the most daunting journeys of my long career - carrying me thousands of miles to record and meet hundreds of these men across the US and Europe.
Heroes of Old Hickory will amaze you, sadden you, make you angry, joyous, lift your spirits, and make you cry. It will enlighten you to what actually happened during the ground war in Europe as told by the men themselves as they return to the towns and villages they liberated and share some of their most harrowing memories of war.
As much as it has been a journey for me... it will also be a journey for you.
Heroes of Old Hickory, is perhaps the last untold story of the war in Europe. When the last frame fades-to-black, the viewer will fully appreciate the significant and crucial role this little-known Division played in WWII, as well as the thousands of Europeans who have never forgotten the brave "Americans" who restored their freedom.
- Lew Adams