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    • 1111 posts
    November 7, 2019 11:00 PM PST

    With this Monday being Veterans Day in the U.S., we wanted to share a story passed along to us by a friend and long-time client of GBS, Walt Pruiksma, general manager of KIWA-AM and KIWA-FM in Sheldon, Iowa, concerning his dad (also named Walter), who was a Military Policeman during World War II. 

    Walt sent his dad's picture (below), which was published in a recent military police magazine, along with a brief glimpse into his military service.  Walt wrote: "On his chest is the French Legion of Honor which he was awarded at the French Embassy.  He is a proud American Veteran."



    Photo by Sgt. Audrey Hayes 

    200th Military Police Command

    Walter Pruiksma poses for a portrait after receiving The Military Police Regimental Association’s Order of the Marechaussee in Silver, during an award ceremony Oct. 13, 2018, Manasquan, New Jersey. The Order of the Marechaussee is the top honor a Military Police Soldier can receive. Pruiksma received the award for the time he served as a Military Police Soldier, assigned to D Company, 783rd MP Battalion, during World War II. Just days after the invasion of Normandy, France, Pruiksma volunteered to escort an elderly French woman to the hospital, who was injured nearly a week earlier when a German threw a grenade into her home. In the middle of the night, Pruiksma, along with a fellow MP, and the family set out on a 12-mile journey through the war-torn land to Carentan — the town with the nearest hospital. Across from the hospital was a church with two piles of dead American and German Soldiers that stood nearly five feet high. The Frenchwoman was admitted to the hospital and received help. Pruiksma calls this his Mission of Mercy, because amid the death and war, it was love and human kindness that prevailed that night. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Sgt. Audrey Hayes)


    Do you have a story to share about a special veteran in your life? We'd love to hear it. Please post your story in the comments below. And thanks to all our veterans for your service to our country.

    This post was edited by Rod Schwartz at November 7, 2019 11:02 PM PST
    • 97 posts
    November 9, 2019 9:11 AM PST

    My father-in-law was a marine in World War II. When I knew him, he was the foreman on a sprawling South Texas ranch measured in square miles versus acres. I spent many evenings guzzling 'cowboy coffee' on the back porch of the ranch house tossing corn in the yard as the deer came up. For some reason he'd talk to me about World War II.

    He spoke of being given World War I ration kits at one point. He said the food was bad but you ate it anyway because it was all you had. He said it made you sick but within a couple of weeks your body could handle it.

    He was part of the Japanese occupying force. He came in to a town and the Japanese citizens gave him their businesses, homes and offered themselves for any use their victors chose. 

    Charlie recalled the night they were fed steak and potatoes. After dinner they were told to write their final letter home because 70% of them would not make it through the next 24 hours. Of the 64 in Charlie's group, he was one of eight still alive after the day they stormed the beach at Iwo Jima under fire. I asked about that. How did it feel? He said you didn't think about the future beyond the next few seconds. He said to imagine yourself under water. Your only thought is to get to the surface for a breath of air and that's all you think about at that moment. 

    He was one of the guys that raised the flag on Iwo Jima. The first time the flag was raised the photographer went to grab his camera. By that time the flag had been knocked down by Japanese snipers. The photo you see of the flag being raised on Iwo Jima was the second time it was raised. Charlie isn't in that photo because he was in the first group but he knew a couple of the guys in that photo.

    He'd ruffle feathers too. Charlie had a rare blood type. The hospital and sheriff knew it. When a kid in emergency surgery at the hospital needed that rare blood, the hospital asked the sheriff to call Charlie. The sheriff said for him to get to the hospital as fast as he could. Being late and nobody on the highway, he got it up to 115 mph when a state trooper 'lit him up'. The trooper was shouting expletives and not interested in explanations. So, Charlie show the trooper his 'bulldog' (gun) and said he was racing to the hospital to save a life and it would be a real good idea for the trooper to get back in his car and head the other direction. 

    Charlie saw his contribution as what anybody would do. He was always helping those in need. It was just how he was made. He sure wouldn't want you recognize his contributions. He thought he was pretty ordinary. Charlie passed back in the early 1990s. 

    • 1335 posts
    November 9, 2019 11:56 AM PST

    Bill, thank you for sharing this incredible story. What a great man!