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A Special Life Remembered

       He and his buddy, Charles Strong, of Virginia, during heavy fighting, went after the men who had been hit - to get them to the medics as soon as possible for emergency treatment, probably saving lives. The two of them did this over and over again, until they were given 'direct orders' not to leave their cover again.
       This trooper they referred to as the 'gentle giant', I learned, was a powerful machine against the enemy, saying "he was as strong as an ox," "with big brown eyes and wavy hair," adding, "he was a real head turner." Another is quoted as saying, "can you imagine how good it was to look beside me and see him there - me a five foot - eight, 148 pounds." Affectionately he was called "spaghetti bender" and "grape stomper," adding, "can't you just see this big guy dancing on a bunch of grapes and he was often teasing about wearing purple socks!" Somewhere down the line there was an attempt to make some wine.
       I myself located William (Bill) Chapman of San Jose, through the I Company roster. My phone call was a shocker to him. As I was explaining to his wife Dee, who I was, Bill standing nearby, heard the name Louie Spera grabbed the phone saying, "I knew Louie! I knew Louie!  I soon learned he and Louie had been close buddies. They were among the fifteen men who were left by July 4, 1944, after 33 days of continuous fighting. When the Normandy battle was won, all the troopers had lost twenty plus pounds. Together they spent their R and R in beautiful Edinburgh, Scotland, loved it and hated to leave.
       That first conversation with Bill Chapman ended by him quietly saying, "I have had a stroke but I can still talk and walk, and God willing, I'll be in Madera for Memorial Day Services on May 29,2000, and he was."
       A very emotional meeting it was. Within a few minutes, he no longer was a stranger but more like part of my brother. He later wrote, he "was startled when I opened the door. Seeing me," he could not believe the strong family resemblance, saying it seemed as if 55 years had been erased. In these few months since we first met, he truly has now become my buddy.
       A letter dated August 31, 1999, Charles Strong wrote, “Louie and I were part of a MM Motor Squad, Third Platoon of I Company. Lt. Kelso Horne (of Dublin, Georgia) was our Platoon leader. The name Lt. Kelso Horne - familiar to me as he was the officer who censored most of the letters Louie wrote home.


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