Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

On the Bleeding Edge of the Front Line

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 7, 2015

Uncle Dean never spoke to his blood relatives about his WWII service – even though they inquired – which was for them, perplexing, and they eventually stopped asking. However, he voluntarily spoke at length about it with me.

Perhaps it was because we shared a common bond of military service, I don’t know. They never understood why he didn’t talk about his experience. His Purple Hearts, Bronze and Silver Stars, and other medals of valor that gathered dust on a corner of the bookshelf were to them muted evidence of the mysteries of an event that had long since been relegated to silence. They surmised that what he experienced during WWII was very likely, and in large part, responsible for his alcohol abuse, though he remained a good man, citizen, and employee despite it.

Uncle Dean told me about how he was on patrol with his buddy in a village (I don’t recall what nation, perhaps France) when they received word the Nazis were advancing toward their location. In response to an advance party which fired upon them, they took cover and protection in some kind of structure that afforded them an opportunity to defend their position, and to some extent, concealment.

Shortly after the firefight started, a sniper’s shot claimed his buddy’s life. Uncle Dean said, “that made me mad.” In response, he doubled down on his efforts, and – according to what he told me – was able to effectively repel the Nazis advancing upon their position. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t quick, nor was it a solitary effort. But they were successful, and he was a lead scout, on the “bleeding edge” of the front line.

Uncle Dean’s dead now, having gone on to his reward a couple years ago in Ensley, Alabama where he spent his adult life following discharge from the Army.

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