Monday, June 6, 2011

Red line traces 19-year-old's fight across Europe

Calvin Post unfolded an old commemorative campaign map on the dining room table in his Bradenton residence.

A thick red line undulated from England to France and across Belgium to Germany.

It was a road map of what the 86-year-old called the high point of his life --- driving a Sherman tank across Europe in combat during World War II.

Normandy and D-Day was where it all started on June 6, 1944, for the 19-year-old country boy from Taghkanic, N.Y. Along with the 759th light tank battatlion, Post fought it out with German armored units desperate to pin the Allies in the peninsula.

After 50 days, the Allies broke out.

"Once we busted out, the Germans started to retreat, but the fighting was steady," Post recalled. "We lost several tanks --- hitting mines, getting tracks blown off --- so we'd head back to battalion and got another tank."

Among the names crossed by the red line was Bastogne.

The Battle of the Bulge.

"That was the worst. Cold, snow on the ground. Germans shelling us constantly," Post said. "They blasted us night and day. The forest looked like telephone polls when we pulled out of there."

His battalion was also involved in the capture of Achen, the first sizeable Germany city to fall to the Allies.

Proud as he is of his service in WWII, there is one lingering regret.

"Never got to Paris," Post said.

Read about this D-Day veteran Tuesday on

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