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World War II Veteran: Al Rolfes

posted on April 9, 2006 at 7:11 PM

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Born: 1919
Reason for entering military service: Drafted in LeMars, February 1942.
Assigned: Company E, 165th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant but promoted to Captain by the end of the war


"I heard this thump on the end of my fox hole and I knew it was a grenade."

Background:

After landing on Saipan in June of 1944, First Lieutenant Al Rolfes had dug in above Tannipeg harbor. Japanese soldiers hiding nearby soon realized he was in charge and began to attack his position.


Transcript

After landing on Saipan in June of 1944, now First Lieutenant Al Rolfes had dug in above Tannipeg harbor. Japanese soldiers hiding nearby soon realized he was in charge and began to attack his position.

(Al Rolfes)
So, they knew I was a leader there because I was up and down the line checking the men and everything. Well, anyway, I heard this thump on the end of my fox hole and I knew it was a grenade and rather than roll, we had the parapet around the fox hole, it rolled out of my fox hole rather than into my fox hole and it went off and quite an explosion, of course. And two more right behind it. And I still didn't—the other two men in my platoon didn't get hit either.

Tags: Asia battlefront education history Iowa military veterans war World War II