Battle of the Bulge veterans passing into history

 
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Battle of the Bulge veterans passing into history

Was an interesting piece today in Military.com I wanted to share, about the passing of Maurice Cole, a Legionnaire in Post 219 in Michigan.

Maurice "Maury" Cole was just 20 years old when he fought in the month-long Battle of the Bulge that ended in 1945.

The World War II veteran and Fife Lake resident, 94, died Monday. He is one of the last remaining west Michigan veterans from the battle in which more than 20,000 Allied soldiers were killed.

Cole is one of 40,000 GIs who were wounded in the ferocious battle.

"He was in a building with several other men when a mortar struck the building," said Cole's grandson Tim Ingersoll. "He was the only one who survived. ... He was very proud to serve his country."

Cole's funeral service was held Friday and was attended by an honor guard made up of members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars 2780 and the American Legion Post 35, both of which are in Traverse City.

I've always loved hearing stories about The Battle of the Bulge, largely because it's astonishing that the good guys held out so long in such a horrible circumstances.  Here's a great documentary from American Experience if you have the time:

When I first came to work for The American Legion I worked in the Legislative Division, and the Chairman of the Legislative Council was a wonderful man named Eddie Dentz.  He was an infantryman and an attorney, and I had been the former and aspired to be the latter, so Eddie became a sort of mentor for me.  Later he would write me a recommendation for law school and worked me pretty hard to attend George Washington School of Law which he had attended shortly after World War II.  That was way out of my price range and chose George Mason which was a great bargain, but Eddie helped me get in and get ready.

Later, when Eddie knew his time was coming he called me and asked if I wanted his library of legal books.  I was quite eager for them because I wanted to have my own sort of library that it seems like every lawyer has.  So I trekked out to Springfield Virginia to pick them up.  But in the same room as the books Eddie kept all sorts of things from his days in the military, including the Bronze Star with V plaque.  I knew he'd served as an infantryman in the War, but he never really talked about it. 

Turns out he was a scout and later a squad leader in the 106th Infantry Division in their reconnaisance platoon, and he had received his Bronze Star during the Battle of the Bulge.  Later on, after he had passed I did some research and found this history of the Platoon titled "Walk in the Woods" which talked about Eddie and his nickname: "The Dreaded Terror."  Makes me giggle because to me he was anything but a terror.

It's sad to lose men from that most important Battle of the war, but we should feel blessed we had them in the first place.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.