4:24 | Senator Bob Dole was sent to Italy in 1945 and assigned to the 10th Mountain Division as a young second lieutenant. Although the war in Europe would soon be over, Senator Dole found himself in the thick of combat outside of Castel d'Aiano. In an effort to try and save his downed radioman, he himself was badly wounded and had to remain on the battlefield through the heat of the battle.
Keywords : infantry Italy Castel d'Aiano machine gun injury/wound KIA(Killed in Action) radio operator 10th Mountain Division replacement morphine medic shrapnel
Senator Dole spent the rest of the war recovering from his debilitating injury. Luckily, he had the support of his family and his hometown to make sure he got the care he needed.
Senator Bob Dole reflects on his admiration of, and relationship with fellow Kansan, President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Having served under him in WWII, he saw the type of leader Ike was and would support his bid for president.
In the run up to D-Day, Fred Bahlau lived with four other paratroopers above a pub. It turns out he was the only lucky one. One of them perished due to a highly improbable mishap when he jumped over Normandy.
Medieval history had been of interest to him in school, so when Ed Pepping got to England, it was instantly comfortable, a slice of history. It was the run up to the big invasion, and the Airborne medic felt privileged to be part of the elite group of paratroopers.
Marine Roy Beck remembers what a hard time they had with a tank in the volcanic ash sand of Iwo Jima. It wasn't much help against the array of tiny hiding holes and miles of tunnels where the enemy could hide and attack at will. When a corporal was wounded, he carried the man out of the battle and was promoted on the spot.
The fighting around Carentan was fierce. Paratrooper Fred Bahlau recalls how several casualties occurred, including the company's 1st Sergeant. The Captain said, "Bahlau, you're 1st Sergeant now!" Then he directed the men to move back to a higher position. Wait a minute, isn't that a retreat?
Recovering from his wound in England, medic Ed Pepping worked on a ward for seriously injured men from the front. That was Airborne for you, getting the job done. It was no different off the battlefield, as related by him in several humorous stories.
The professors at the University of Sydney helped Radar countermeasures technician Jake Wilson build one of the first Radar jamming transmitters used in the Pacific. They tried different ways of obscuring the signal until they settled on noise modulation.
The men got a couple of days off the front line in Holland and were relaxing in a house they appropriated. Fred Bahlau was preparing his reports when one of the privates came out of a bedroom fully dressed as a woman. Immediately, he had a great idea. (Caution: strong language. May be inappropriate for some viewers.)
He had some radio experience when he enlisted in the Navy, so Jake Wilson was selected for Radar school and went to a spacial boot camp for technicians. More math instead of more push ups. Then he qualified for a new special Radar countermeasures program.
Some of the snipers were French girls. Ed Pepping explains why this was so and reflects on some of his other astounding experiences in the Normandy invasion. Evacuated after being wounded, he joined in a plot to escape recuperation and rejoin his unit.
It was an unbelievable sight, the English channel full of Allied ships. Paratrooper Fred Bahlau was on one of the hundreds of planes carrying the 101st Airborne to the D-Day drop zone. The men were scattered after the jump and had to form up in small groups and try to find their targets. Part 1 of 3.
Jake Wilson recalls his time in the special boot camp for radar technicians. Unlike other boot camps, there was a lot of math study. At the next training level, it got even more difficult and 60% of the men were washed out.
During Operation Market Garden, a formation of troops approached the building where paratrooper Fred Bahlau was on watch. In the dim early dawn, he watched as they approached and then he realized what uniforms they were wearing. Later on, the Captain tasked him with retrieving some important papers from the site of a firefight.
Jake Wilson was based in Australia for a time and he recalls the taxing train ride between Brisbane and Sydney. When a yeoman in charge of transportation refused them air travel, that didn't sit well with the team members.
At Bastogne, Fred Bahlau was startled when a shell landed right next to him and didn't explode. Maybe that was true, what they said about Nazi slave labor. After the battle, the Colonel called him in and demanded an immediate answer to a life changing choice he must make. (Caution: strong language. May be inappropriate for some viewers.)
Radar countermeasures technician Jake Wilson was stationed for a while at an airfield in the Philippines where there were many crashes. Maybe it was the volume of flights, but for some reason, it kept happening and he describes one of the worst here. This was after he lost his team leader in a crash away from the base.
Making his way to the bridge that was his unit's responsibility to secure, Sgt. Fred Bahlau gathered up around 30 men who had been scattered through the Normandy drop zone. Once there, he had to make his way to the other side under fire. One of his team was missing, and when he found out why, he dressed him down. Part 2 of 3.
How were the Japanese locating us with their radar from 200 miles away, far past radar range? Radar countermeasures technician Jake Wilson tells how he figured that one out. He also tells why the popular idea that the Japanese were copiers of technology, not innovators, was an erroneous idea.
They were looking forward to a great time in Paris on leave. As they searched for the most disreputable part of town, Fred Bahlau remembers how the streets were suddenly full of blaring speakers ordering all Airborne troops to return to the train station. Bastogne? No one had heard of it. (Caution: strong language. May be inappropriate for some viewers.)
Radar jamming was a new technology and Jake Wilson was busy installing jamming equipment on B-24's engaged in bombing runs near the end of the war. He also made patrol flights over the South West Pacific, trying to locate and analyze Japanese radar operations. He finally qualified for a 30 day leave home and while he was there, the war ended.
He had a deferment from his job, but Ed Pepping wanted to join the war effort. When he saw the Airborne recruiting table, he didn't even make it to the others. "Do you dare?" read the poster and he dared. Training in Toccoa, GA was rigorous and difficult, but he loved it. Wondering if he was a killer at heart, he decided to become a medic.
The first German soldier that Fred Bahlau killed during the Normandy invasion had a camera around his neck, so he had his first souvenir. There were 80 men holding the bridge where he was, but there was one problem. Headquarters had no idea that they had taken the bridge. This led to deadly consequences. Part 3 of 3.
Jake Wilson was part of a team that went into South West Pacific airfields as soon as they were established to train radar operators in radar countermeasures. Sometimes, this put him in danger from Japanese bombing and he recalls a couple of incidents here.
Just before his plane took off for the D-Day drop, Airborne medic Ed Pepping was ordered onto a different plane. This proved to be most fortunate. He suffered a hard landing, though, injuring his neck. Still, he persisted in the battle for 15 days, caring for the wounded until his luck ran out.
Paratrooper Fred Bahlau was quartered in a castle belonging to Hermann Goring and then he was ordered to guard the loot at Hitler's Berchtesgaden retreat. What he wishes he had a picture of, though, is a particular bathroom fixture used by Der Fuhrer. (Caution: strong language. May be inappropriate for some viewers.)
He didn't really want the deferments, so after two years when his boss at the lumber yard couldn't get him any more, Roy Beck went to enlist in the Navy. Somehow he wound up in the Marines and tthere was an island out there in the Pacific named Iwo Jima waiting for him.
Beef, cement, flight jackets and dance partners. If you got it, you got it and Fred Bahlau certainly had it. When the Colonel needed something, he knew who could deliver. (Caution: strong language. May be inappropriate for some viewers.)
After a long trip on a slow LST, Marine Roy Beck hit the beach at 10 AM on Iwo Jima. As soon as the company cleared the landing craft, a Japanese mortar shell came screaming in. This was only his first close call. When the flag went up, he thought that it must be over with, but it was only getting started.
Fred Bahlau remembers the ceremony where he and ten others were awarded for their actions in Normandy. At the end, there was a French woman with nine little girls holding flowers for the honorees. So they were two short. What to do? (Caution: strong language. May be offensive to some viewers.)
Fred Bahlau had to go to war. He was so eager to get in that he went to Canada to try and enlist there, but decided to go back to Michigan and see what he could do. In the recruiting office, he and the sergeant cooked up a plan to get his mother to sign, and once they pulled that fast one, he was off to be inducted. That was where he heard about the paratroopers.
One of the last training exercises before jump school was a hundred mile hike. Fred Bahlau was sent instead to Fort Benning to prepare the arrival of the unit. Too bad about missing that hike! After the men got their jumps and their wings, they were off to England for intensive training to play their part in the coming invasion.