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Historical

WWII Vet Tells The Story That Earned Him The Silver Star

World War II veteran, Mr. Steve Hegedus, served in the US Army with the 11th Airborne Division, 511th parachute infantry. Steve's highest rank was staff sergeant and he served in the Pacific theater.

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Three Lions
Automatic TRANSCRIPT This transcript was automatically generated by AudioBurst technologies

a Jap popped out of a hole, that close, and he pointed this, what I call a revolver, like a 38, he pointed it right at me and he pulled the trigger and the bullet did not come out. And about one second later, Coyle Hepler spun around, he is as close to the guy as I am to you and I guess he just about blew his head off. Steve decided he wanted the lucky gun that saved his life and he crawled into the hole to get it. So the guy Jap fell back down in the hole. Well, we had to get that souvenir. So we went down, got it. And you know, those Japs were amazing. They could dig a hole and leave no evidence. You know, Americans, if we're going to dig a hole, we just curse that we have to throw the dirt five feet, you know, we want it to disappear or something. Well, those Japs, every stone, every sand, even after this guy popped out of the hole, and we had been walking over that hole for five minutes, there was no evidence. How they did it, I don't know. But any way, when we got that revolver, the firing pin, watch this, the firing pin missed that little circle in the back of the bullet and the bullet did not go off. So that's luck. So about one minute after that, some of the guys that I had sent down to the next, I'll call it like a plateau or a level, they were new guys. And they says, come on down here. So we went down there and there's a Jap machine gun sitting there overlooking another plateau, mesa, whatever you want to call it. And we said, doggone, look at that. And then somebody said, that machine gun is next to a hole. Well, from the experience we just had a minute ago, wow, yeah. So we pulled away a little bit of the straw, somebody had a hand grenade, we threw it in, the Japs threw it out. So okay. I'm the guy so I take the next one and I count to about three, throw it in, they throw it out and it goes off. Hegedus  knew he had to very close to the cave and he had to hold on to his grenade as long as possible before he threw it in. So then the next time I counted to four and threw it in and it went off in the hole. That's all I did, was crawl up to that hole, I didn't do anything spectacular. But that machine gun a day before unbeknownst to us waited until E Company, they had come from another direction, they got up on that next lower level, that was like, you know, fish in a barrel and the Japs by that machine gun waited until enough of them got up there and then they killed quite a few.