Monday, November 30, 2015

“Surviving WWII as a Paratrooper” at Library

Joe Bredeson in 1940.
The Greenville Public Library is offering a special program on Saturday December 5th at 1:00 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room. Joe Bredeson of Greenville will recount his experiences as a WWII paratrooper who landed in Normandy France on D-Day June 6th, 1944. Joe turned 95 this November 20th but remembers the details like it was yesterday.

Joe was the manager of the Swift Fertilizer Plant on Ohio Street (now Conagra) until 1985. He & his young family came to Greenville in 1961 after he worked for the company in several different locations. Joe is originally from Wisconsin and had started at the U of Wisconsin in 1939 before deciding to enlist in 1940.

He trained with British commandos for nearly four years before transferring to the 82nd US Rangers then to the 101st Airborne. Of the 143 men in his unit who jumped on D-Day only ten survived. Due to bad weather and wind they were carried off course. When he woke up he was in a cow barn with cows eating hay above him. A farmer and his wife had carried him there in the dark and would bring him food and water in buckets so the Germans wouldn’t guess. Finally the 7th Corps liberated the area and Joe fought with them as they moved on to free Paris then Dachau.

Joe went through rehab in Paris after the war and met his French wife Denise whom he married in 1945. They were married 62 years when she passed away in 2007. They had two children, Maxine and Jack, then grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joe & Denise resided in France while he worked for the Civil Service. In 1947 they came to the US and he began his career in the chemical division with Swift. Joe was awarded the Silver Cross and Purple Heart for his service.

The couple returned to Normandy in 1986 which prompted Joe to start compiling his memoirs in three big notebooks of stories and photos. At the present time Rose Benanzer takes care of Joe in his home as she did with Denise. Don’t miss this personal account of courage and survival during an important time in world history. RSVP’s appreciated by calling 548-3915.

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