The story of Cliff
Cliff was born in Van Meter, Iowa on June 13, 1924, and was one of eight children. He was drafted into the Army in 1943, one month after his high school graduation and two weeks after his 19th birthday. His parents lived in Adel , Iowa at the time.
He trained in California and Texas as an artillery gunner before joining Company E, 80th Airborne Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, of the 82nd Airborne 3 days before D-Day. This glider outfit provided anti-aircraft defense and anti-tank capabilities to three infantry regiments in 1944 with their 57 mm guns.
Cliff landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, on a Waco glider. These landings were extremely hazardous—canvas wrapped around a steel tube frame and crash landing to the ground. To this day that crash landing remained a terrifying experience.A week after he was celebrating his birthday in a foxhole. Throughout his time in combat, he would be dropped twice by glider behind enemy lines, suffer severe frostbite on the Ardennes battlefield and fight in several historic battles including Normandy, Holland, Trois Ponts at the Battle of the Bulge and the occupation of Berlin.
On VE Day, he was in Berlin when he heard the war was over. There was no celebration as there was lots of work to still do. They went house to house looking for weapons. Driving from Berlin to France and then shipping on a liner Cliff made it to New York for the Victory Parade and was among the few to be invited to mayor William ODwyer banquet. In total, Cliff served three years and was honorably discharged in 1946.
In 2022 Cliff was present at the 82nd Airborne parade and thought it was a great honor.
Untill his very last week Cliff was always honoring his brothers in arms at various meetings and events.