COLUMBUS (WCMH) – We’re losing our greatest generation.
World War II veterans are dying quickly. Only 600,000 of the 16 million Americans who served are still alive to share their experiences.
Donald Dunn is one of them. NBC4’s Ellie Merritt sat down with Dunn, who at 93-years-old remembers a mission during World War II. One that seemed impossible, and one that he did not think he would survive.
Dunn was just a sophomore in college when the war started.
“There was a thing in the college newspaper about the ski troops,” said Dunn.
Those ski troops formed what became the 10th Mountain Division. Donald traded his college days for fighting Germans in the rough mountains of Italy.
“I was frightened,” Dunn said. “We were all frightened, but some couldn’t handle it, but it was our baptism under fire.
Dunn said there was one mission that changed his life. His captain ordered them to take a hill, designated Hill 775, from the Germans.
Dunn’s platoon took heavy fire going up that hill, and from a sniper right behind them. “I thought, I’ve been hit, I’ll die in the next couple of minutes probably.”
He kept crawling up the hill until he made it to the top and rooted out the Germans. He calls that accomplishment the most profound of his life.
That was his last mission. A year after he landed in Italy, he was sailing home with thousands of other soldiers.
We passed the statue of liberty and boy if we didn’t cry we were something. It was great emotion. Great feeling of I survived, I’m back, I left friends and buddies, but Thank God I made it back. Back to America.”