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Category Archive for: ‘WWII Veterans’

Lorenzo Portis (Calvert)

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In World War II, most African-American soldiers were not allowed to go into combat.  Many were sent into the Quartermaster Corps where several units gained distinction for lightening-like delivery of weapons, ordinance and food. But, for some like Calvert’s Lorenzo Portis, the Quartermaster Corps translated into combat as they fought the Japanese to deliver their loads. Portis’ job was to …

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Joe Ondrej (Hearne)

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World War II veteran Joe Ondrej has done some living in his 86 years. By land, sea and air, he is traveled thousands of miles from his original home on a farm near Cameron. And, in his long journey, he’s out-lived all of his people. “When you lose all your people, what do you do? Ondrej asks. You turn to …

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Bill Brunette (Hearne)

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Bill Brunette was a young fellow working in Palestine, Texas, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.  By the end of the next month, he was in the Army and his life had changed forever. One of the first things Brunette had to do was take a test. He knew if he passed it, he would be …

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Adrian Cordova (Hearne)

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How does a farm boy from Kosse, Texas, find himself knee-deep in snow in the Italian Alps, taking out German outposts dotting winding mountain roads? He becomes part of the 88th Infantry Division with the assignment to clear the Germans out of Italy. That is exactly what happened to Mr. Adrian Cordova, but that is also why Cordova had four …

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Walton Lyon (Bremond)

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For many American young men, Christmas Eve, 1942, was not marked by gifts under the tree, hot chocolate on the stove, and carols sung during a candlelight church service. It meant disembarking from a crowded troop ship with a furtive eye scanning the skies for the German Luftwaffe (the Nazi air force). That is where Bremond’s Walter Lyon was—instead of …

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Milton Aalen (Hearne)

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Milton Aalen learned responsibility early. It was a family trait. His father, a career military man, who had moved his family to San Antonio, died when Milton was 12 years old and his older sister worked to support the family until Milton graduated from high school in 1939. Then it was his turn. With about two months of business school …

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