COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Columbus World War II veterans living at Creekside at the Village retirement community in Columbus only recently discovered that they have lived parallel lives.
A chance conversation at the dinner table revealed that Marvin Brown, 90, a retired Columbus advertising and publishing executive, and Albert Chodosh, 90, a retired printer, could easily have crossed paths several times 70 years ago.
Both attended high school in New York City, and went on to Cornell University, where they were inducted into active duty in the United States Army—first at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then sent to Camp Hood (now Fort Hood), Texas.
“He mentioned the fact that he was in a tank destroyer,” Chodosh said. “So I perked up and I said, ‘What outfit?’ And he the 661st. And I said, ‘What? I was in the 661st!”
Chodosh and Brown were only 18 years old when they landed on the coast of France during a cold, snowy winter in January 1945, as the Battle of Bulge was being fought in Belgium. They were part of the first wave of armored relief to plug holes where the Germans had penetrated American lines.
Brown noted, “The infantry division had lost about 75 percent of its personnel—were killed, and wounded and captured.” But he said the morale was high, despite the heavy casualties, because the German forces were slowly being repulsed.
Chodosh and Brown were assigned to the 661st Tank Destroyer Battalion—Chodosh joined the reconnaissance company, while Brown was a loader for the tank’s 76 millimeter canon in a gun company, working their way through France, Belgium Luxembourg and Germany.
Both agreed, what are the odds that during a casual conversation 70 years later, these two World War II veterans would discover their mutual experiences were so intertwined with fate and history.