Sunday, February 9, 2014

Joseph C. Doherty: Stories from a WWII Veteran

Listen to his interview!

Joseph C. Doherty was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1924. By age 18, he enlisted himself in the Army Reserves. Placed in a controversial and little-known program called the Army Specialized Training Program, Mr. Doherty speaks heavily on a unique program which planned for the possibilities of a long, heavy, and devastating war. After being placed in the 99th Infantry Division, he recalls being trained to "shed the academic fur," so as to become the fighting man America desperately needed. From there, Mr. Doherty recounts a service which took him to some of Europe's most devastating theaters of war.

In his long service as part of the mortar squad of the division, Mr. Doherty brings us from his service during the Battle of the Bulge, up through his encounters of the Bridge at Remagen, telling us of his tasks not only as a mortar man but also as a radio and communications operator. Throughout it all, Mr. Doherty remembers the struggles, the sacrifices, and the triumphs of his fellow men on the front lines as well as those serving miles away from combat. Once the war concludes, Mr. Doherty enlightens us to the pure and utter devastation that beheld the people of Europe, recounting what little was left of the towns and cities he explored.

In providing his perspective, Mr. Doherty paints such an elaborate picture of his service, that upon listening to his story, one would feel as though thrown right beside him, in the Rhineland, close to 80 years ago.

In listening to his story, you will hear all that he will endure throughout the Second World War. Anyone would maintain that his story is a hero's story, yet Mr. Doherty would not necessarily agree. Periodically throughout the interview, he would remind us that his service couldn't be compared to the "riflemen up front." By the end of his story, he even says himself that he "doesn't want to portray himself as any hero, compared to the guys up front."

After experiencing his service, I would most humbly and with the greatest respect, disagree with the notion that his story is not a hero's story. Mr. Doherty, from the moment he enlisted, was willing to give up his life for the sake of ours. As a mortar man, Mr. Doherty's duties not only helped save the lives of his fellow men up front, but of his fellow citizens back home. The humility which he expressed throughout his recounting shows that he is nothing less than a gift to the American experience.

We most humbly thank Mr. Doherty for his service to us and to his country.

Be sure to read his book: The Shock of War: Unknown Battles that Ruined Hitler's Plan for a Second Blitzkrieg in the West. 

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