We hear stories of bravery in the news and in movies about the men and women who have fought for our country. But isn’t it much more interesting when you’re hearing about someone you’re related to?
Check out these 18 reddit users’ stories from their grandparents and other family members who have been through war. Some are heartbreaking, some heartwarming, and others just plain terrifying.
1. A bad way to go
My grandpa was a gunner in the US Navy during WW2. His ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and he ended up on the coast of Africa, behind German lines. Several crew members were eaten by sharks before reaching land. He a several of his buddies made through to American lines, but had nearly starved to death in the meanwhile.
The saddest part? Two of his friends died after eating too many hot dogs the first day in the American camp.
My grandpa stormed the beach in Normandy.
3. Soviet Military family
My Grandma was a little girl during the siege of Leningrad.
My Granddad was a messenger boy/courier for the Red Army during the battle of Stalingrad. They gave him a German pistol to defend himself with but it didn’t have very many bullets. He only fired it once.
My father was a tank driver during the Soviet Intervention in Afghanistan. He has driven a tank through a house on one occasion, apparently it is an empowering thing to do.
My uncle (father’s brother) did something in the infantry during the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. We’re not exactly sure what, but my cousin has gone digging through his stuff and she thinks he might have been Spetsnaz or some similar elite force. It would explain some of his war stories though.
My Grandfather fought in the Polish resistance and liberated a POW camp. According to my father, his nickname was Niedźwiedź (means bear) and apparently they saved over 100 POW’s when they raided the camp.
5. Boy Sailor
My Paternal Grandfather was in the British Navy after having lied about his age to get in. At 16 years old he had sailed around half of the Mediterranean and some of North Africa. The type of boat he was on was called a minesweeper (like the game), his job was to protect larger ships from said mines and also to sink submarines/U-boats using depth charges. It’s been two years since he died, but I’ll keep all of his Naval stuff for the rest of my life. Rest in peace, Roger.
My great uncle was a pilot in WWII who was apparently taken hostage for a short period of time.
7. Wild Willie
My great uncle fought in Iwo Jima during WWII as a flamethrower. His name was Willie Vogeli, but we called him Wild Willie. During the war, a Japanese soldier killed one of his fellow flamethrower friends with a sword.
8. Coming home
My Grandpa has all the “normal” Vietnam stories. Being shot at, hiding in 6 inches of cover, things like that.
The most thought provoking story of his however, is about something he didn’t do. On his last day before being sent home, he had to run a scouting mission. He was getting to go, when another soldier approached him. This soldier knew that my Grandpa was going home the next day, and decided to throw him a bone. This soldier offered to run my Grandpa’s mission for him so he could take a break. That soldier was killed running the mission.
I think about that story a lot.
9. Military history
Dad was an M60 gunner in Desert Storm, Uncle worked on helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq, grandpa was a rifleman in Vietnam, great grandfather liberated a concentration camp and rescued a German soldier who was about to be executed by the SS, and then we had a general who led German Hessians during the Revolution.