I’m 90-years-old and living up on Maple Grove Road, in Duluth Heights. I now make under-the-couch tables made out of Ash wood. I lost my wife eight years ago an am living all alone. So far I’ve made 90 under-the-couch tables. In the winter time I make bird houses and bird feeders. I put pride in my work. They aren’t made in China. I met my wife in school, and we were married for more than 60 years. She was quite a woman. During the war she came to see my mom and dad, and I knew her brother.
I was in the Battle of the Buldge in Belgium in 1945. Out of 12 of us comrades, only two of us are living. We were with the third Army, with old General George S. Patton Jr. – old ‘blood and guts’ was his nickname. He was quite a general, when he said he was going to get something done he got it done.
At the Battle of the Buldge, we were standing in snow four feet deep. We were given orders not to move, don’t move one bit. We had orders to shoot anything that was moving that night, because everyone was supposed to be still. I stuck my head up one instance. I had my pack on, and I got hit through my helmet. The bullet went around the liner in the helmet, and gave out. It went through my mess gear in blankets. Somebody was with me because if I would have been another two inches higher I wouldn’t be here. We made it through that night, and pretty soon we heard from President Roosevelt that they dropped a bomb over in Japan. Right after the Battle of the Buldge we were training to go over to Japan to fight that war. Wen Roosevelt said, the war is over, Japan surrendered. That was the best thing we ever heard.
I was in the second wave to storm Omaha Beach in France during the Invasion of Normandy, and only 19-years-old in around 1943. There was the first landing, and I was in the second landing. Well, pretty soon you are in water up to your neck, and we just barely made it ashore. I did not lose any comrades in Normandy. I wouldn’t want to see it again. They say, well why don’t you go back over there. Seeing it once was enough. I don’t want any more memories of that. The memories come back sometimes, once in a while.
We left England and were there for six months. We were there as replacements. We didn’t have any unit then. If somebody needed 15, 20 or 100 soldiers they got them and we didn’t know what we were going to be. Most of us ended up in the infantry. I’ve been in Paris, riding in a troop train to our outfit. We went through France, and south from there, and I can’t remember the other places. We didn’t join the regular army until two weeks later. I was in the infantry’s 80th Division around 1944.
I am very proud to have served my country. As far as I’m concerned, every teenager should have army training. That’ll make something out of them.