Sgt. Berton Keleman served as a combat infantryman for the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945. The following is an account Keleman wrote detailing his service during World War II:
"I was inducted into the Army Infantry on 2/12/1943 where I was placed in the 60th Inf. 9th Division as a Lt. Machine Gunner. My orders were to be a Platoon Sgt. after completion of basic training.
I was shipped overseas and came ashore in North Africa where I and thousands of others marching through and eventually became involved in the Silicon Campaign, Battle for France, Battle for Belgium, and Battle for Germany.
I was wounded coming ashore at Normandy on July 18, 1944. But after a short respite I was put back into combat.
I was captured by the Germans on July 25, 1944 and became a prisoner of war. Other than water, we were given a small cup of hot water with 6 grains of barley in it.
I was finally able to escape on September 13, 1944 when all the POWs were being shipped by rail to another location in a cattle car.
Shortly after my escape I was wounded for a second time; this time I was badly wounded and that ended my time as a soldier.
I finally made it back to the United States of America on board a hospital ship, arriving December, 1944."
To donate and help send this veteran to see the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., please click here to visit the Inland Northwest Honor Flight website.