Joe Mehelich: American Hero of WW II

Sunday, January 14, 2018

On Friday January 12 The American Legion Post 227 visited Joe and wished him a Happy Birthday. Pictured front row: Richard Bologna, Joe Mehelich, Dwight Stevens, Earl Thompson. Back Row: Larry Fischer, Randall Kerher, Gerry Shogren, Jerry Pickard.

Joe Mehelich
Text and photos by Jerry Pickard

On Thursday 11 January 2018 WWII Veteran Joe Mehelich turned 95. Joe is very healthy for a 95 year old. He takes no medications and exercises daily.

Joe Mehelich enlisted at age 17 prior to the Pearl Harbor attack.

Joe was a tank gunner and a medic in North Africa as part of Gen. George Patton's Tank Corps.

After the Allied victory in North Africa he was in the first wave going into Normandy and landing ashore at Omaha Beach.

He was the only survivor out of his landing craft.

He was given a field commission to Captain and led a company through France, Holland, Belgium and into Germany.

He and his company fought on the Siegfried Line during the Battle of the Bulge. The snows were four feet deep as it was one of the coldest winters in many years.

Joe's battle decorations
He ordered his men to stay burrowed in the snow while the German Panzer Tanks rolled by and then attacked them from the rear which was lightly armored. They won when Germany ran out of gas for their tanks and vehicles and stalled in their attack. 

After crossing the Rhine river they continued their attack into Germany until they met the Russians coming from the east.

Joe earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts from his battle injuries and still has shrapnel in his body.


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