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The Madera Tribune

Glad he stopped to talk to veteran

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webmaster | 08/14/13

A few weeks ago, I was coming out of a store in Fresno. This old guy was looking at a new Harley parked in the lot.

I asked, “You going to buy one?”

He said, “No, but it sure is pretty.”

We got to talking about bikes and things, and he mentioned that he loved airplanes. I told him we had a Stearman up in Madera. He said he worked the airshows that they had up there. I said “So did I, the Flight Line Heavy Bombers!”

He worked on the other end so I didn’t really remember him, but he looked familiar.

He said he tried to join the cadet program at Hammer Field (Fresno Air Terminal) when he got out of high school in 1943. Passed all the tests, but they didn’t call.

He joined the Army and was sent over to the Coast (Camp Roberts) for boot camp.

They cut boot camp off and loaded everyone on a train to New York, Then on the Queen Mary to Scotland. In two weeks, at 19, he was at the Battle of the Bulge.

Strafed, shelled, machine-gunned, in foxholes with dead Germans, losing a lot of buddies. He never got wounded.

Returned to the States and sold farm equipment on Fresno’s west side.

We know a lot of the same people. I invited him up for a ride, and we did that. Glad I stopped to talk.

Bill Hoffrage,


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