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A WWII GI Returns to Germany

Article about: How many members of the WRF have crossed the Rhine while listening warily to the sound of jet engines in the distance, been shot at with great malice by an MG-42, been shelled by German 50mm

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    Default A WWII GI Returns to Germany

    How many members of the WRF have crossed the Rhine while listening warily to the sound of jet engines in the distance, been shot at with great malice by an MG-42, been shelled by German 50mm mortars, or had the satisfaction of liberating SS collar tabs from the barracks at Berschgarten two days after the 101st took the place? I suspect the answer is none, but during the period 17 Sep thru 02 Oct 2013 I shall have the distinct honor of escorting an 88 year-old infantryman who experienced all these things and much more, back to Germany . The gentleman's name is Fr. Leo Hetzler. He was a member of the 86th Division (Blackhawks), 343rd Infantry Regiment. This unit fought from the Ruhr Pocket through Bavaria and into Austria in early 1945.

    A picture of Fr. Hetzler and a brief description of his service may be viewed at: Sean Lahman | Database Journalist

    During this period we will be staying in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Fussen, Munich and Salzburg. Should anyone like to have Fr. Hetzler speak at a Veteran's gathering during our travels, or perhaps just meet the man, such can be arranged by contacting me through this forum. Also, we would be interested in visiting any off-the-beaten track memorial sites that you might recommend.

    Incidentally, Fr./Dr. Hetzler became a priest and professor of literature at St. John Fischer University in Rochester, NY, after the war. Appropriately, he has long served as chaplain for the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) Association and the 86th Division Veterans Association. He also received a Bronze Star while serving in the Philippines after hostilities ended in the ETO ...but that is another story.

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    hope all goes well for his trip.

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    I love this type of provenance....walking history..that will return...where he left off. Very cool I hope the trip goes well and becomes an experience like nothing ever imagined. When I am in the presence of WW2 Vets of this age...I am speechless and they wonder why I dont speak a word. Its a sense of Awe..that locks me down..to just listen. Regards Larry
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

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