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Historical

World War II Vet Describes How A Misstep Would Have Blown Off His Legs

91-year-old World War II veteran George Hansen from Clovis, California, recalls a night during the war. After capturing a strategic zone, George's captain tells him to set up his machine gunners on a strategic spot in order to push back the Germans advance on their defense.

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"I walked in that same path. I wasn't even thinking about land mines."

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Photo Credits : (GettyImages)
Fred Ramage Keystone Hulton Archive
TRANSCRIPT This transcript was generated by AudioBurst technologies

The captain came to me and he said, George there's a little hill here which you can see right behind this defense and I want you to go up on top of that hill and get a flat place and get one of your machine gun guys to put the machine gun up there because right across a little valley you could see a little city and he said that's where the Germans are and they might attack us any minute so get your guys to put a machine gun up there, and so we'll be ready to defend ourselves. So, I walked up this little dirt path, and cleared a little flat place, for the machine gun, and I went down and the Captain said you been up for most of the night go inside and take a nap, so I did. But before I did I told the two guys, one carries the machine gun, the other carries a box of ammunition. I said you guys go up there, I marked the place to put the machine gun and I went inside this defense and laid down. And about ten minutes later they carry some guy in who's screaming and then they brought another guy in that was screaming with pain, and then they brought a third one in and I discovered what had happened. The guy carrying the machine gun goes up the trail I had just walked on, and he stepped on a land mine, and it blew off his left foot, so there he is laying and his buddy was carrying the ammunition goes to help him, he stepped on a second land mine, and it blew his right foot off, and a lieutenant who saw the two of them laying there crying went to help them he stepped on a third land mine, and it kind of exploded in his face, his face was all bloody, and there they were, soon the doctor, the nurse, got the guys who were there to help took them away and I have no idea where they took them but probably to a hospital and then I thought you know  I walked in that same path. I wasn't even thinking about land mines.  And I thought well God you spared my two feet again, and what a wonder.