My short bio: Born in Winner South Dakota, on 9/19/1917. Lived most of his life there before the war. Earliest memories were living with his fathers parents on their farm. He helped out on the farm all his early life. During the Great Depression he had to herd cattle all the way from South Dakota to Nebraska because there was no water for the cattle. He joined the Air Force (AirCore) in 1940. He went over to England first to get ready for the invasion (for a short period) then went to Africa. He spent nearly all the war in and near Africa. After it was all over he came back to England first then to The States. He was discharged as a master Sargent in Sept 1945. He got The Bronze Star for his service. After the war he worked bridge construction for 20 years. Then he worked 20 years as a state bridge inspector. He forgot the exact year he retired (in the 1980's). I've never once saw him get mad and he is very kind and patient. My Great Grandmother passed away in 2004 and he now lives by himself. Ask him anything!

My Proof: (picture of him in uniform 1990's)

EDIT: Thank you all for sending in so many questions. My Great Grandpa really enjoyed this.

Comments: 418 • Responses: 34  • Date: 

shmuelc351 karma

Happy birthday!!! What's the strangest think that exists today that you never imagined would exist back when you were younger?

GreatGrandpasAMA670 karma

He said "one of those" pointing at my computer :p

Helium002294 karma

How would you put the entire war in 1 word. And in one line.?

GreatGrandpasAMA765 karma

"Waste" (lives lost/population reduced/destroyed material(buildings)

kosmiccatnyp243 karma

The war in Africa isn't widely discussed. What is something that he would like more people to know about?

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

In the fall of 1942 they were low on supplies. He says they stayed in unheated tents.

zimetone241 karma

Thank you for doing this AMA. What is one piece of life advice he would give a young adult?

GreatGrandpasAMA476 karma

Get a good education.

shoopdahoop22229 karma

What was it like upon hearing the news of Hitler's death?

GreatGrandpasAMA9 karma

He was happy! :D "there was so much bad about him."

The_god_of_bros203 karma

Even though we read and learn about the war, do you think we will ever truly understand what it was like?

Also whats your Favorite song :)

Thanks for everything

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

He said "probally not". His favorite song was sentimental journey.

astrobagel176 karma

What do you think the defining moments of the 20th century and/or your life are? Thank You for Serving our Country.

GreatGrandpasAMA363 karma

Space travel (going to the moon) and the atomic bomb.

d1sc0p0p169 karma

What would you consider to be the hardest part of your life?

What would you consider to be the best part?

GreatGrandpasAMA346 karma

Hardest: He said IDK at first, then someone suggested the depression and he said "that was probably the worst part". He never went hungry, he had cattle and milk so he can't complain to much. I would say losing my great grandmother was very hard on him. Best: Living with his grandparents.

goinnutshere168 karma

Thanks for your service. What do you think of the way the government (or people in general) treats its veterans today when compared to 1945?

GreatGrandpasAMA315 karma

At first he said "no comment". He said there were limited benefits after WW2 and he and many other people had to get back to work right away after the war. I think he's proud that he got back to work right away. He's a very hard worker.

Lou_Scannon135 karma

Living and presumably raising a family in the US during the Cold war, were you ever genuinely afraid that you could wake up to a Nuclear war?

GreatGrandpasAMA233 karma

He never was to shook up about it. War is continuous... He does think something might happen to significantly reduce the human population one day. :( edit: spelling

NecronomiconExMortis96 karma

What did Lucky Strikes taste like? Were they better because they were toasted?

GreatGrandpasAMA213 karma

I asked him if he ever ate any Lucky Strikes and he said you don't eat cigarettes lol. He barely ever smoked in his life.

schockergd83 karma

What was his favorite decade?

To follow up - What made the time so great in his life, and what was/has been his least favorite? Why on that one as well.

GreatGrandpasAMA179 karma

30s were the worst because of the Great Depression. 60s were the greatest because it was the highlight of his bridge career (big project, west blvd).

schockergd38 karma

Any other big project's he's been involved in that he thinks fondly of? Other than liberating a continent of course.

GreatGrandpasAMA80 karma

He said there were several other bridges he was fond of some of which don't even exist anymore.

OwyMan3876 karma

Thank you for your service, sir! I'm currently an airman stationed at Hickam in Hawaii. Have you ever been here? Also, what did you exactly do in the military?

GreatGrandpasAMA113 karma

He was in Wing Headquarters over the bomb squad. He maintained the record of how much ammunition, bombs, ect (inventory). He has never been to Hawaii, and thank you for your service.

BizarroCullen69 karma

What movie do you think that it portrayed WWII authentically? And what movie you think it didn't?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

cant remember any

StarWarsMonopoly69 karma

What was your favorite Movie and Radio Show when you were younger? What do you miss about popular culture from the past?

GreatGrandpasAMA124 karma

His favorite movie was Gone With The Wind and his favorite Radio show was fibber mcgee and molly. Can't come up with anything about what he misses.

BrunoGrand63 karma

Which President you've seen do you think was the best or more capable of the job?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

Dwight Eisenhower was probably the best.

catalina1200756 karma

Thank you for your service and happy birthday! You've seen so many new inventions and advances in technology throughout your lifetime. What is your favorite?

GreatGrandpasAMA134 karma

He was having a hard time answering this one. He finally said advancement in medicine.

Schmidnick48 karma

What hasn't changed throughout the years that you thought for certain would?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

He says the problem of alcholism is still a big problem.

Charlie195144 karma

Which was harder, your childhood days or bridge construction? Also are you still recognized for your service during veteran events?

GreatGrandpasAMA89 karma

Bridges were pretty much all hand labor during that time, but he said they were both challenging. Yes he is still recognized for his service during veteran events, in fact he was just in a parade a few months ago.

MadmanMaddox42 karma

Thanks for the AMA. What was your favorite plane from the war? What squadron were you stationed with?

GreatGrandpasAMA89 karma

B17 was his favorite plane. He was stationed with the 42nd wing headquarters.

Alternative_Ginger38 karma

Thank you for your service. What do you think of the situation in Ukraine and how far do you think it will go?

GreatGrandpasAMA86 karma

He can't figure out why they keep "stirring that up." He doesn't know how far it will go.

astrobagel38 karma

What's your favorite Bridge?

GreatGrandpasAMA48 karma

He said he can't think of a favorite.

Bakkie21 karma

After each war, soldiers come home with psychological wounds as well as physical.

What have you noticed that was different about the way the forces from each war reacted mentally to combat?

Perhaps if you could differentiate shell shock from combat fatigue from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, etc., from a soldier's perspective?

Thank you for doing this.

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

He said he never heard of PTSD all his military service. Which isn't to say it isn't a real thing, just back then there wasn't very much help for people after the war.

Practical_Problems10 karma

Thank you for all of your service, both in the military and then in domestic infrastructure. How do you think society has changed the most over the past century?

GreatGrandpasAMA5 karma

Its changed so much he doesn't really know what exactly. He says his generation were a lot more hardworking. People are a lot more liberal also.

sonia72quebec9 karma

What's his secret for living a long life ?

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

Living healthy ie no alchol, no smoking, eating right.

themanwhosleptin8 karma

Happy birthday! Thank you for your service and thank you for doing this AMA. Since the 70th anniversary of V-J Day was last month, how was it like hearing the war was over? How did it feel? How is it like knowing that was 70 years ago?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

He was very happy to hear that it was coming to and end. Being in a foreign land not knowing if you will make it back is hard. Looking back on it 70 years later he's glad it is a thing of the past and no other world wars have been started.

enestatli6 karma

Thanks for doing this! What do you think about America using the atomic bomb on Japan to end the war?

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

He was just happy that it was put to an end.

simplejack665 karma

From one Vet to another, thank you for this. My question for you is, How did y'all feel about Irwin Rommel?

GreatGrandpasAMA4 karma

He was close to over running them at one point.. One time he was told to "get out the best he could if he came over a certain point, fortunately there force held" so he didn't have to. So I guess the answer is he was feared.

bromley25 karma

What can we do to help Veterans who return from Iraq and Afghanistan the most?

GreatGrandpasAMA5 karma

More medical hospitals.

WildMuppetParade4 karma


GreatGrandpasAMA53 karma

He had a camel spit on him once when he was in Egypt.

UpVoter31453 karma

Did you ever fight with an African-British soldiers during the war? If so, what were they like?

GreatGrandpasAMA2 karma

He wasn't a fighter, but he mostly worked with other Americans.

daltonslaw2 karma

Thank you for your service, not only to the US, but the entire planet. What do you think about US government intervention in Latin America, specifically Chile and Guatemala. Do you think you live a comfortable life in your late 90s?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

He said he's not doing to bad for being in his late 90s. He doesn't know much about the intervention in Latin America, sorry.

KnifeOfPi22 karma

What was the most dangerous moment of the war for you?

GreatGrandpasAMA3 karma

Being bombed.