Ti veteran reflects on experiences

"I wasn't there at the very beginning of the Bulge," DiFebbo said. "I was a replacement. I saw enough, though...

"I never felt scared," he added. "I was 18. I didn't know enough to be scared, but let me tell ya - you sure as hell took cover when you heard that artillery."

DiFebbo's unit advanced and eventually crossed into Germany at the famed Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.

In March 1945 the U.S. Army launched Operation Lumberjack. Designed to reach the west bank of the Rhine, American troops quickly advanced on the cities of Cologne, Bonn and Remagen. Aware that the Rhine posed the last major geographic obstacle to Allied troops, Hitler ordered the bridges over the river destroyed, but Americans arrived first and took the span.

"That was a big deal," DiFebbo said. "Once we had the Remagen bridge we were able to get into Germany.

"It wasn't easy, though," he added. "I had a couple of friends shot at Linz (near Remagen). That's where I saw the first jet fighter. They really hurt us."

Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker April 30, 1945, and German troops began to surrender. The final units gave up May 8.

"I'll always remember May 8," DiFebbo said. "It was a snowstorm, I think it snowed the whole time I was over there. We were huddled together in a (fox) hole trying to stay warm and we got word Germany had surrendered. Just like that, it was over, but we were really happy."

DiFebbo stayed in Germany until July when he was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division and started training for combat against Japan in the Pacific.

Before being sent to the Pacific, DiFebbo was given a 30-day leave to visit Ticonderoga. While he was at home, the United States dropped the atomic bomb and Japan surrendered Aug. 14.

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