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vette97

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vette97 last won the day on January 10

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About vette97

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  1. Thank you all for the kind words. Frank Gubbels, I sent you a private message. I'm always grateful to you, Marion, and all the other folks on here who engaged with me prior to me doing that interview. He was so very receptive of all the questions that came out of this forum, and it truly has changed his life. He feels like quite the celebrity no matter where he goes. In fact, I found this video taken of him at Reading this summer and never knew it was out there. I just searched. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvxAhm6PBfI
  2. It's been 7 years and I've neglected this thread. My apologies. I just wanted to report that George is still doing very well. As time has gone on, he has been interviewed by many different folks, including the Nat'l WWII Museum, and local historians. He wears his WWII Veteran hat and rarely has to pay for meals when he's out in public. The cold weather in Eastern PA hasn't kept him down. His truck battery died in the cold so he went out to charge it so he could plow the driveway. He's still very active! He even came to WWII Weekend at Reading, PA in June 2017 year and did some dancing! I have a photo of he and I at the dance, attached. I didn't expect him to be there, because we were unable to sync up on the phone prior to the event. During the playing of the Army Song, he came out of the crowd and I ran to him after it was over for a hug. It was great to see him again as it's been a few years, even though we talk on the phone. I also recently started using Ancestry.com to look into my family tree. While I was there, I found the grand-niece of George and shared with her the link to his interview. She was amazed to hear the details and her family is going to get in touch with George soon to talk with him about family information for their family tree. I also looked up his buddy Dick Werner, who died on Oct 5, 1944 in the Netherlands. I was able to find some other family trees that had Dick in them, but none of the owners have gotten back with me yet. George regrets he never reached out to Dick's parents when George made it home to the states. I hope to find someone who might have old photos, letters or memories of Dick, that I can get talking to George. I would love to have George's wish to talk to Dick's family completed. He also wishes he could have seen Dick's grave marker. I found that pretty easily through Ancestry: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56305115/richard-w-werner/photo Finally, I picked up the book Bridging Hell's Highway: The 326th Engineer Battalion During Operation Market Garden, July 2011, by John Sliz, ISBN: 978-0-9783838-6-2. I didn't know this existed until it turned up on a search I did recently. Amazon delivered it today and it's very small, but has valuable information in it which I want to share with George. I believe we can now identify the exact area and bridge his unit was responsible for. Happy New Year! Pat
  3. Letter sent home from Anzio - Sgt Joe Miller - 36th Eng

    Thanks so much for posting this. It is quite interesting how he could take something as scary and deadly as being shelled by Anzio Annie and turn it into a tounge-in-cheek poem.
  4. Thank you! He's really high on life right now. He's so amazed at all the attention. It's a great thing to enjoy it with him when I do get to see him. He passed along to me that the unit he was with was the 167th Combat Engineers prior to volunteering for Airborne duty. I was able to find him in the roster: http://167thengineercombatbattalion.com/Documents/HS%20Transferred.htm It's neat to come across this stuff, bits and pieces, as time goes one.
  5. I just got off the phone with George. A member of the National WWII Museum performed his own interview after finding out about George on the Internet. He was surprised and happy! Apparently, his story is spreading. George finally got the answer he was looking for, as to why he had to be selected to go with those gliders, rather than jump in Holland with the rest of his unit. Larry Miller, a historian with the Museum, let him know that they needed engineers to come in on that glider on that day to help repair a bridge if it was blown up. George is finally happy to get an answer after 60-some years. I'm so happy for him!
  6. Best Day of My Life....

    A very nice experience indeed! Thanks for sharing this touching moment!
  7. It's with great pleasure to announce that I was able to perform the necessary editing of the interview, and I found a utility which allowed me to change the bitrate, so that the 6 part series wouldn't take 3 weeks to upload to YouTube (it only took the greater part of one day). The link to the playlist can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=BC2738D08E1055C7 Many thanks to everyone, especially Marion, for the guidance and feedback throughout this process. It has been an honor to produce this interview and I hope that everyone who watches it can learn a little bit more about what it was like to participate in the war. Even though this interview is very long, George is very fun to listen to! I'm honored to have him as a friend. Thank you, Pat Freeman
  8. Progress! Finally, I finished up editing the interview. We discussed so many things throughout nearly 2 hours of discussion and I wanted to keep it in chronological order and relevant to his time in the war, so this required a lot of time set aside to concentrate. I also needed to adjust the audio since my camera placed a very annoying hiss into the recording which I was able to notch out. Now, I just want to include an introduction, some of his pictures and then split the clip so it can be uploaded in sections. I should have about 1 hour 30 minutes when complete. I received a letter from George a few weeks back saying how meeting me, talking about his time in the war, and conducting this interview has brought up so many good memories from the past and how this has made a huge positive impact on his life! I was so deeply touched by this. I can't wait to share his stories!
  9. Hi folks. I've been extremely swamped as a lot of things have come up over the past few weeks. I don't mean to disappoint but I haven't worked on editing the video at all. I promise to make more time for it but it is a task that is going to take a lot of concentration. I want to add some personal discussion and include some of the pictures he allowed me to scan, so I don't need to do that much, but I want to set time aside specifically for this. Marion - I was able to purchase and watch the 2 DVD set of No Bridge Too Far, Part 1. I love it. The stories and the history are great and the music, well, I dance to that stuff so it really helps put me back in that era. I can only imaging how much work this is for you!
  10. Marion, that would be great to have a page for him on the main site. I clarified to him that his video, story and pictures would be posted online and would be searchable by the world and he said that was fine, he had nothing to hide. He joshed me about being in the witness protection plan and that this would blow his cover at first. What a guy! But, after that, I got his permission. I would be honored if you could host it. I'm working with a few free tools to perform my editing, just like I did for my European Vacation WWII related videos. I may host the video on YouTube, obviously separated due to 10 minute per video upload restrictions, but as a playlist. They can afford the bandwidth. Let me know if that would work. Thanks again!
  11. Thank you so much for the encouragement and the suggestions, Marion! We really got a lot of things discussed here and it is so neat to hear what he experienced. I told him he has a much better memory than me, as he could remember details, but not dates, so we avoided questions about dates that I knew he didn't know. But we did get into a few tangents that were terrific. However, he did keep a lot of personal stories off camera and his privacy will be respected. Let's just say that boys will be boys!
  12. Thanks for the suggestions as I made sure to ask these questions. It's going to take some time to get this video ready for upload but I got some answers to your specifics and want to share them. Now, this is based on his memory, and that's a long time ago, so other vet stories may not match. According to George, they didn't jump with anything extra, no extra clothes just their gear, 2 chutes, etc. He only jumped during training, none in Britain and none into Europe (flew in on a glider). There wasn't really much discipline at all back then, other than making sure you shaved and keeping a coordinated uniform. No hazing among the troops. The guy who dropped the Bazooka wasn't punished because no one outside his squad knew about it. There was only one time where they took a situation into their own hands. After training with the 101st as an Airborne Engineer, they were transitioning to Europe, and one time some higher ups thought they could push those guys around. George don't know who did it, but after some guys in his unit put together some dynamite and placed it under the floor of the orderly room, and it was discovered the next day, those higher ups quit pushing those AEBs around. George said that today, they all would have been sent to the stockade and gone through court martial. But, back then, they needed the guys so whatever happened came with some discipline but nothing like we would go through today.
  13. Let me say that this was one heck of an experience. I have over 1.5 hours of material. He recounted some of what I typed in the first post in this thread, and added a whole lot more. He was really excited to do the interview and it really boosted his spirits. I honestly prepared 5 pages of questions (large font, double spaced) but after 2 or 3 questions, he just ran with it. I'm glad I had the questions which helped provide some clarity to what he was already talking about. But, I made this HIS video and he was a ham. He said he wished he would have met me a long time ago and that he hasn't talked about the war like that since the days right after the war when people would BS about some of the stuff they went through. He still can't believe that anyone would care about his stories, but he also said he had seen documentaries over the years about this officer and that officer, but "what about George?" Well, he's going to have his time in the limelight. I'm going to work on getting this video sorted out, hopefully, sooner than later. We covered some odds and ends at the end of the session, which I'd really love to have added to other portions of the video. I may have to splice them in with a fade. Marion, any suggestions? Anything I should avoid? I haven't seen your documentary yet (life is hectic and I need to make that happen one day) but since you have some experience in this, it's best to ask you now before I start. Thank you! ETA: When he brought this photo with him, before the interview, my jaw hit the floor... http://97vette.com/~pat/images/geo1.jpg Adding it to the original post now...
  14. WWII Dancer

    Thanks for the nice comments! Sometimes, at famous war sites in France, they have signs posted with pictures of the way it looked during the war, which is true in St. Mere Eglise, for example. For other locations, I found the WWII photos from random places on the 'net. For example, Googling Zeppelin Field, I found many Nuremberg rally photos and copied them to my Picasa album after I discovered I had the same shot. I took a ton of pics at Nuremberg and it's not because I'm more fascinated with the Germans but that this is the only architecture in Germany that is obviously related to that time in Europe. The Germans tore a lot of stuff down and I expect this stuff to be knocked down sometime in the future. I didn't take any pictures of WWII Europe with me to avoid the risk of getting into a bind. In Germany, especially, there are many laws over there forbidding Nazi symbols or anything that may make you look like a Neo-Nazi. It's not worth it to openly hold up a photograph to eye up a shot. So, I based everything from memory and just asked my girlfriend Erin to take a picture. Maybe I'd get lucky like I did in front of the Eiffel! I knew where the Germans were standing and I stood in a spot and had Erin take the picture. Same with Paris, I remember pictures of troops marching, so I tried just stood in the area where the cameraman might have been back then. It wasn't until I came back to the US that I realized it was the same spot. Here's something I'll share with the forum. I didn't want to put it in the web album for fear I'd get tagged as a freak. Now, imagine standing in a not so famous spot, asking the person your with to "stand over there and take a picture" then coming home to the US and realizing it was an exact angle of a picture in a book... Link to the photo. No lie, I didn't force this to happen!
  15. WWII Dancer

    Thanks! I know what you mean. During my 4 years in the Army, I saw the East Coast of the US (SC, MA and MD). All my friends were deployed and came back. I got used to hearing "You're still here?" But, I was lucky enough to be close to home and got to see my mom a lot. She passed away from cancer shortly after I ETS'd.
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