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History, Geography, & Military Discuss Last survivor of World War II unit fulfills its whiskey pact at the Political Forums; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/last-su...CNM-00-10aag7e KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A group of World War II soldiers from Michigan made a pact when they deployed: Give ...

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Old 07-03-2018, 07:31 PM
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Default Last survivor of World War II unit fulfills its whiskey pact

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/last-su...CNM-00-10aag7e




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KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- A group of World War II soldiers from Michigan made a pact when they deployed: Give a bottle of whiskey to the last survivor.

The 126th Infantry Regiment was comprised of men from around southwest Michigan, and its Company C was made up of 94 young men just from Kalamazoo County - all of them under age 20 when they left Kalamazoo for training in 1940.

The promise they made to each other nearly 80 years ago was carried out Sunday.

Fred Spencer, 93, poured a shot of Crown Royal whiskey into a bucket of sand in honor of his deceased comrades. As each name of the deceased was read, one shot was poured into the bucket, which will remain outside the VFW Post 1527, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.

Spencer leaned on his cane while saluting his fallen comrades with the sign of the cross, the newspaper says.

Spencer was just 16 when he joined the Army, needing his parents' permission to join the National Guard. Two years later, he was under fire in an offensive against Japanese forces in New Guinea.

Spencer was hospitalized for a year after a sniper sent a bullet through his right lung, exiting through his shoulder blade. He survived the end of the war, unlike fifteen of the men in his company who were killed in action during some of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater.

Spencer became the last surviving veteran of his company in April, following the death of 97-year-old Wheeler Bowman.

During the ceremony Sunday, Michigan state Sen. Margaret O'Brien gave Spencer a plaque from the state thanking him for his service. The VFW Post was overflowing with residents who came to shake his hand and pay their respects to the 93 men who died before him.

Lt. Richard Stack, who currently serves as a Company Commander of Spencer's former unit, said the ceremony was an opportunity to honor the servicemen and servicewomen who came before him.

"The fact that he came from Charlie Company 126, the unit I'm now a part of," Stack said. "It's just really important for me to be here to celebrate this with him and be a part of that history, too."

Dennis Weber, the nephew of another member of the 94-man unit, helped organize the event. "I knew from listening to these guys," he said, "that the story needed to be told, somehow," he told the Gazette.



He looks pretty spry for 93.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:29 AM
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Default Re: Last survivor of World War II unit fulfills its whiskey pact

I watched something about those guys a few years ago.

My dad lost touch with his buddys. Half of them did not make it through the war.

He went to see one of his best friends in Chicago after the war, but he told me it didn't go well. His friend was pretty messed up due to the things they did, and things they witnessed. He thinks his friend carried a lot of guilt. My dad had the kill or be killed attitude, and felt no guilt, he said. He was a pretty normal guy, although the nightmares followed him off and on till the day he died.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:11 AM
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Default Re: Last survivor of World War II unit fulfills its whiskey pact

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Originally Posted by Dog Man View Post
I watched something about those guys a few years ago.

My dad lost touch with his buddys. Half of them did not make it through the war.

He went to see one of his best friends in Chicago after the war, but he told me it didn't go well. His friend was pretty messed up due to the things they did, and things they witnessed. He thinks his friend carried a lot of guilt. My dad had the kill or be killed attitude, and felt no guilt, he said. He was a pretty normal guy, although the nightmares followed him off and on till the day he died.
That is sad. I have heard a lot of former combat veterans state that the would relive their battles on a nightly basis. That has to be a living hell. I cannot imagine going through the rest of my life with such nightmares. They have my deepest sympathy.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Last survivor of World War II unit fulfills its whiskey pact

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That is sad. I have heard a lot of former combat veterans state that the would relive their battles on a nightly basis. That has to be a living hell. I cannot imagine going through the rest of my life with such nightmares. They have my deepest sympathy.
It was an off and on thing for my dad. When he was in the home near the end of his life, a very large guy that worked there said he was pulling the bed spread up over dad one night and could tell he was dreaming then dad woke up and grab him and pulled him down and started trying to choke him. He said it scared the hell out of him. He said "your dad is strong" he was actually very frail at the time.
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