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Please bear with me for these few minutes as I try to do justice to the tale of my Uncle Olaf.

Dad's baby brother got drafted in late 1943 into the Army, along with his sister in laws younger brother. Together they went through basic training and while there heard a fantastic tale which might keep them out of harm's way.

It seems that early in the war, if a person joined the Paratroopers, yet failed, for whatever reason, to complete Jump School, that individual was transfered to a hash & trash outfit, such as supply or even the MP's. Uncle Olaf and Allen neither were cowards, they just didn't see any future in being cannon fodder.

Off to Jump School they go.

The day of thier first jump, they put their plan into operation. Chuted up and headed to the aircraft. They just could not gather the nerve to climb in and jump. So, happily, the Army transfered them out of the Paratroopers into other units. Never really got all the information on what happened to Allen, but he is still alive and kicking.

Uncle Olaf on the other hand found himself on the way to England and into the replacement pool. On 6 June 1944, he went ashore in the Second Wave assualt on Omaha Beach with the Big Red One as an Infantryman. So much for grand schemes.

Seems the Army had caught onto this scheme for getting out of the Infantry and Uncle Olaf got caught.

Dad was drafted while working as a construction worker building Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and had been in the Pacific Theater since late 1942. After several island hops, he ended up going ashore in the Philipines with the 11th Airborne.

So Uncle Olaf toured Europe in the mud. From the beaches on Normandy to later cross the Rhine into Germany. And the truly amazing thing is that he never got a scratch on him. To make this tale even stranger, neither did my Father. Both survived those years without being wounded.

About 14 years ago, Dad brought Uncle Olaf over to the house. We own two house next to each other. Dad had told Olaf I had an M1 Garand. I proudly opened the safe, pulled the Garand out, locked the action to the rear and handed it too him. His eyes kinda misted over as he hefted it in his hands. He never shouldered the rifle, just held it.

As he handed it back to me, I heard him say the only curse words I can ever remember hearing him utter. "The Son of a Bitch is just as heavy as I remember it." Then he thanked me and left without another word.

My Father passed away on 15 April 1998. Quietly in his sleep. I miss his humor and wisdom so much.

We laid Uncle Olaf to rest this morning at the age of 81. As kind and gentle man as you would ever meet. And like all the men of my Father's family, a man with a wicked sense of humor and a practical joker.

Allen was there for his last visit with him. Frail, and nearly blind, he was visibly weakened with the passing of his friend. And this was certainly not the time to ask about his time in the Army.

So this in some ways was the tale of 3 soldiers. Dad, Uncle Olaf, and Allen. Kind and gentle men who in their time faced evil and survived the experience. Because in War, there are no winners. Only Survivers.

Rest in Peace Uncle Olaf.
 

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The WWII generation are passing too quickly. They truly were 'The Greatest Generation,' and this country needs more men and women like them. When I think about them and the sacrifices they made I often wonder if America could fight - and WIN - another WWII.

My condolences to you and your family.
 

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Poignant and moving, Mortis...

I send my condolences for you and your family's loss. As life progresses, our memories keep us strong as we continue on. Keep the faith.
-Howard
 

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A great tribute to three Soldiers.

I know this is a sad time for you and your family, but when you think about all that these men accomplished in their lives, and how much of it was in defense of the freedom we enjoy today, there is a lot to be grateful for. While it may seem hard to do, I think we need to celebrate the lives they led, and the character of these men, and try not dwell on their passing. Also, from what I can tell by reading your posts, it appears that their tradition has been passed on to the next generation.

My condolences to you and your family, and my sincere appreciation for the courage of these "Heroes."

ThJudg (Roger)
 

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What a great story. Thanks very much for sharing.
 

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Thanks for sharing Mortis

As Terry said, these men were among what was truly the Greatest Generation. Most of them didn't have a one year deployment. They had a until-the-war-is over (one way or another) deployment. Many of them are found to have been true heroes who never mentioned their exploits because it was simply their duty. We never knew them but we will miss them and their like.

Thanks
 

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What a great story

THANK YOU for that, and peace on you.
 

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We owe the men and women of that generation---my parents generation---more than we can ever repay.My Dad was drafted as soon as he turned 18 and my Mom worked in a munitions plant.....my grandparents collected tin cans and scrap steel and rubber and raised "Victory Gardens"....
i offer my condolences and my gratitude......
 
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