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My Uncle Ed, in the last Memorial Day parade he was able to attend. This was the last time he was able to walk and to be in the firing squad, firing volleys as a salute to those who were lost in WWll. It was Uncle Ed’s last parade.

But he was the first man in Cherokee County, Iowa to enlist in January, 1941.

Uncle Ed was in the Fourteenth Armored Division (”Liberators”) and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Today, December 16th, is the 62nd Anniversary of that battle, one of the coldest, snowiest days “in memory” in the Ardennes Forest, occupying about 80 miles of the German/Belgian border. Casualties from exposure to extreme cold grew as large as the losses from fighting.

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Uncle Ed’s first duty was with the 2nd Cavalry at Camp Fungston, Kansas, which was still the Horse Cavalry. He was then transferred to Arizona to guard the Mexican Border to prevent an invasion from Germany through Mexico and they were to protect the Hoover Dam.

The Horse Cavalry dispersed and Uncle Ed went to Fort Knox, Kentucky where he joined cadre to go to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas to form the 14th Armored Division. This Division went overseas in October, 1944 and was part of many major campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge in Central Europe. They were named the “Liberators” for all of the prison camps they were able to liberate, including Stalag 7A at Moosburg, the largest German prisoner of war camp.

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Uncle Ed met my Aunt Hetty when he was at Camp Chaffee and they were married on April 18, 1943 at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

After the war was over Uncle Ed returned home and enlisted in the reserves. He was recalled to duty during the Korean War. He and Aunt Hetty settled down and raised three children.

In May of 2003, my cousin, Nancy, went to see the Cherokee County Commission of Veterans Affairs Director, Dana Evans to check into benefits for her father. Looking into Uncle Ed’s records Dana and Nancy discovered that he was deserving of eight medals earned during his years in World War ll.

On Friday, January 2nd, 2004, a ceremony was held at Sunset Knoll in Aurelia, Iowa to recognize Uncle Ed and present him with the Bronze Star, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and Bronze Star Attachment, the WWll Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWll.

My Uncle Ed died later that year.

Ed Engdahl was an archetype of the typical American G.I. so it’s no wonder we won the war. He was a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and love of family and country.