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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm down in Alabama visiting with my wife's family. My wife's granddad is still kickin'. He's 94, and went on The Honor Flight last year (he's still talking about it and showing off all the acoutraments). He's a hero in more ways than just serving against The Hun. Before we married we came down, and I guess because I'm a veteran too he started talking about WWII. He had never talked about it before, but really opened up to me and started telling me all sorts of sea stories in front of the whole family, who all sat there silently with their mouths hanging open. That was eight years ago. Now we've recorded most if not all his stories, and he's embraced what time has made bearable. He was an FO. He got the Bronze Star at the Battle of The Bulge when he got overrun, captured, and promptly led about 20 guys in an escape back to friendly lines (great story).His shadow box is a little worse for wear, but I'm not going to point that out to him.He was always ahead of everyone else. The rear for him was our lines. He picked up 8 pistols off Germans surenduring to his three man team. When it was time to go home (after a year of being on the occupational force). Supply told him he could only take one pistol home (beats me why he believed them). The guys in his unit asked him what he was going to do with the other 7, and asked him to give the, the pistols. He invited them to the back of the camp to receive their gifts. He said he pulled them one at a time out of the sack and dropped them in the deepest latrine there was. "Now go get 'em, because that's exactly what I had to do to collect those pistols". If you met him you would see how perfect this is. This is the one he kept, "because it was small and sleek"...It's hasn't been fired since it was dropped.Earlier this year the Pensacola PBS affiliate interviewed him about the war. As the interview ended they asked him what his final thoughts were. He said, "I really enjoyed killing those Germans. I'd do it again if they asked me to."
 

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Great story! You have a rapt audience on the forum for this kind of history. I have never heard anything like the latrine story. I bet his buddies were not happy with his 'gift'. Makes you wonder what he dropped in. Does the gentleman have a photo album showing his time in Europe?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
He has scrapbooks, and allot of stuff collected off the Internet. There are a few pictures of him in Europe, but mostly durring his time on the occupation force. They didn't have a lot of time to stop and take photographs. He has quite a few interesting trophies, but most were aquired durring the occupation. On the march to Berlin there were more pressing matters to attend towards. The other pistols were Lugers and Mausers, which I think we're much more common than the Belgian 9mm Browning. He did mail a Kar 98 home by sawing it in half with a hack saw. It's on the rack in the picture. He also has all sorts of daggers and bayonetes, pretty much the stuff you see at gun shows as they were mass produced and common. The most interesting thing he has, to me, is a Nazi coffee table book about Hitler and The Party which is full of actual photographs inset into the pages with the little paper corners. The pictures can be removed and there are handwritten notes on the backs of them. It's numbered, and has to be frighteningly rare. He thinks they were probably presents from the party to people with very low Nazi Party numbers. They got a report that a general was hiding at his summerhouse, and he took a squad to investigate. They found and captured him, and the book was sitting on his nightstand. He said the general literally burst into tears when he came down carrying that book. He probably looked at it every night after the defeat pineing for what was and would never be. Seeing a young, steely eyed GI holding it must have brought it home... (I should have taken some pictures of the book, but we won't be at his house again this trip...next time). He really didn't (doesn't) like Germans. They killed many of his friends, he saw what they wrought, and he had no pity for them at all. He thought calling in strikes on them was just about the most fun you could have with your pants on, and it sounds like he was quite the tyrant durring the occupation. He saw too many terrible things to recount, and lives in a place where it almost never snows because he said he was frozen and miserable enough in Europe to last him several lifetimes. When he got back he promised himself he would never be cold again. He almost can't even stand AC. We just need to soak up as much time with him as we can. I am most grateful that my son will be able to remember him, unlike my dad and his father, who passed long before he was a twinkle. One of my Grandfathers had his Danish, meat packing company taken and was forced to supply the Wermacht, and the other was a rifleman fighting them. My father was drafted to Korea out of medical school and served in a MASH unit. I know they got shelled and hit quite a bit, because one of his buddies he practiced with had a prosthetic leg from one such episode, but he barely ever talked about it. It seemed like he considered it a nightmare that was better forgotten.B.Y. is a charecter. The way he tells the story about dropping those pistols into the filth one at a time is worth the trip. My son is named after him.
 

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Great story!I

If he'll LET you, fix the mans CIB and ribbons for him in his box. He probably doesn't want it touched and will rant alittle, but if he knows your admiration, i think hell bend.

Maybe get him a new box, if he'll take it, or get a professional you trust to fix up that one. But hell balk i think at someone else taking it other than family.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I agree. It looks like it might have fallen off the wall at some point. Thing is, he doesn't like anyone messing with his stuff. Even his little reading lamp is HIS. Figure the odds for a guy who would rather destroy his trophies than give them to someone he felt didn't earn them. Talking politics with him is a hoot. I don't think he even knows there IS such a thing as political correctness. When I was first married I offered to drive to AL, pick him up, and drive him to DC to see the WWII memorial. He demurred, and lamented he'd never get to see it. Funny, but when the Honor Flight people called he jumped at the chance. Each Honor Flight pasenger generates a short auto bio. I read all 80 or so from his manifest. Despite the fact that he condensed the whole war into three sentences, it was pretty clear that he'd seen the worst if it.
 

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As the son of a 92 year old WW2 vet who lives with me, I can relate to the love and pride you feel for your father-in-law. Their generation literally saved the world and we'd be much better off if more of them were still around today.
 

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My mom lived for almost 94 1/2 years during which her first husband, Bob, who enlisted but rose to the rank of 2nd LT was killed in action February 7, 1945 or shortly after "The Battle of the Bulge". Three months later Germany capitulated. Bob's parents wanted closure and wrote to the Army asking for information that had not been supplied previously. Captain Roy G. Mosher of the 357th Infantry wrote:

"Your son lost his life during the fighting which followed the penetration of the Siegfried Line defenses of Western Germany. He was a platoon leader and led his men in an attack of commanding high ground overlooking the town of Habscheid, Germany. He was directing his men in preparation of a defensive position to guard against an expected counter-attack when the enemy placed a heavy mortar barrage on the hill. One of the shells exploded near him, and the scrapnel from the burst killed him instantly.

Shortly thereafter, his body was taken to United States Military Cemetery "1, Fey, Belgium. Interment took place following a service held by a chaplain."

Understand that my mother had only been married a few short months prior to her husband's deployment though they had been sweethearts for years and this loss permanently scarred and altered her life. She never would talk about her loss nor the war. Yes, she remarried, but to her dying day the one love of her life was killed back in 1945. Bob's family and I are extremely close and his brother Harold, a decorated Army officer in the same war, had always treated me as if I were his nephew though I was not a product of his brother's marriage. I hold a tremendous respect for the Greatest Generation, as a military veteran and for the sacrifice my family and other families made.

Harold is 97 now and in poor health but I call every other week to tell his son to pass my love on to his dad and siblings.

Why do I share this? Because I have the utmost respect for what your wife's granddad sacrificed for the sake of his family, his God and his Country. To me there will be no greater generation then those brave men that stormed the beaches and overcame what was arguably the most evil dictatorship on the European Continent and perhaps in all of the history of mankind for the atrocities it wrought on a religious and cultural people. God Bless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think it goes without saying that God has blessed him. Here's my retelling of the action for which he received his star:Durring the beginning of the BOB the Gremans overtook our forward elements fast. He realized our lines were collapsing, and literally had his driver aim the Jeep the wrong way, and he and the radioman were calling for fire sitting backwards. There were three batteries at his disposal, and he stayed in rifle range trying to cover the retreating forces, but the line wasn't even like on a map, and while he was trying to cover a company's retreat and retard the advancing Germans they got flanked. A squad of riflemen popped out of the woods to close to do anything but raise their hands. They pushed his Jeep off the road, and frog marched them East to the nearest crossroads. The whole time he was looking at his wristwatch. Since he was the only FO left in that sector he knew that if 15 minutes went by without an fire mission all three batteries would commence harassment fire at the several crossroads now behind enemy lines. He heard the first salvo strike the crossroads about a mile away, and marked it knowing where they were being held was next. There were three captured squads, or what remained of several, all waiting for hopefully a truck to come for them. I say hopefully, because we know they were advancing so quickly that the Germans executed allot of newly minted POWs for logistical reasons. He whispered to them all that in exactly seven minutes three batteries were going to rain hell on their position, the Germans would all hit the deck, and they were going to run to a tree line about 75 yds distant to the West, and just keep running like hell till you run past retreating Americans, get shot, or recaptured by more Germans.Right on cue the shells started comming in. Right on cue the Germans hit the deck, and right in cue all of them took off running. They made the trees and even cleared the other side of them and into the next field before the last shell landed. Murphy must have been asleep, and the batteries timing off to get that kind of light and sustained barrage that allowed them their flawless escape. They were ready to split up at the first sign of contact, but luck was with them again, and they made it back to the receding friendly line as a group.In an hour B.Y. and his team were directing fire again. The whole capture and escape interlude only took an afternoon (doesn't seem so cruel to execute prisoners on the battlefield in light of this anecdote). They were in a comendered Jeep with a borrowed radio, and when we turned it around and started pushing in the right direction again they went to the sight of the ambush and recovered their Jeep and radio.They wanted their Jeep back because the driver (can't remember his name, but they were friends till his death) had made some up-armored mods the floor with several inches of clay they had found which dried bone hard, and they were afraid of mines and hoped it would make a difference. They never tripped one, and after VE Day when they went to turn in the Jeep the Seargent at the motor pool tool the driver he would not accept it, and that he had to clean it up first. He came back asking for help to remove the clay. B.Y. asked, "Are you planning to stay in the Army?"..."No"..."Then who cares? Drive it right up to that Seargent, get out, and walk away!" That's what he did, and they laughed about it for another 50 years!
 

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I really enjoyed reading about your wife's Grandfather's Service. Should you be in touch with him again soon, please give him a message for me. Tell him THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE FROM THIS OLD VIETNAM VETERAN. I wish him well and send along a
Proud HAND SALUTE. God Bless him.
The stories were great and the pictures are priceless. Best Regard's John.
 

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My hat is off to you and your wife's Grandfather, Oz! Your re-telling of his story is what will keep breathing a fresh breath of reality into our slowly decaying society. My own father passed in 1997 at age 72. He, too, served as an Infantryman during the Bulge with the 424th Infantry Regiment, 106th Division. Dad has the same awards as your Grandfather, including the Bronze Star and CIB. He even "liberated" a Walther P-38 in a German bunker, but, alas, someone in turn "liberated" it from him. I have since passed Dad's priceless heirlooms to my own son, an Iraqi Campaign combat paratrooper with the 505th PIR, 82d Airborne Division. Reading your Grandfather-in-law's story brought back precious memories of Dad and tears to my own eyes. I salute him! Thank you, Oz, for a soldier's story well-told!
 

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My father's MOS was light machine gunner with the 82nd Airborne in WW II. He served in both Italy and France, including the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhineland campaign. He died much too young, but I will always recall the pride I felt whenever I looked at his uniform hanging in the upstairs closet. As a kid I mistakenly thought that the "AA" on his patch stood for army airborne. He didn't talk much about the war, but he did tell me of his fondness for his Thompson. They truly were the greatest generation.
 
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