Minnesota farm boy turned soldier I was born and raised in Minnesota, on a dairy farm. The Depression didn’t bother us much, because we raised so much of our own food. People in town had it tough, …
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Minnesota farm boy turned soldier
I was born and raised in Minnesota, on a dairy farm. The Depression didn’t bother us much, because we raised so much of our own food. People in town had it tough, though. It seemed like I saw everyone in town in the souplines.
I was drafted by the Army in 1944, for World War II. At first they weren’t taking farm boys, but by then they were so desperate for men that my number came up. I went to Camp Roberts, California, then they shipped us to the East Coast and put us on destroyers for France.
We landed in Marseilles, France, which was beautiful, but they sent us right to the front lines.
The Battle of the Bulge
I was a lieutenant colonel in the Battle of the Bulge, Germany’s last big offensive. I was 27 years old at the time. Only a few of our regiment survived. We went out and were bringing back the dead by the truckload.
They were everywhere. We stacked bodies seven or eight high. I had never been so cold — some men died from the cold.
After we beat the Nazis, they didn’t ship us to the Pacific. So many of our unit was killed they didn’t even bother to reorganize us.
After the war, I got a degree in dairy sciences on the GI Bill, but I never ended up going back to the farm. I was done with that life. I married a girl from high school, and we went out to California and I sold cars — there was so much pent-up demand after the war that they just flew off the lot.
My wife passed away, then I married again and she’s gone too now. After that I came out to Colorado, because I liked being near the mountains.
I’ve got a son and three daughters. Now I’m married to Nanette, and she takes good care of me.
‘Keep plugging ahead’
I’m lucky to be alive. I’m happy to turn 100. My stepdaughter Pam organized a big party, and she arranged for people to send me cards from around the country.
If I’ve got any advice for the younger generation, it’s to keep plugging ahead, but don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.
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