A PARATROOPER WHO GOT INTO A FAIR FIST FIGHT

“My great uncle was Bill Straitiff from Able Company, 101st Airborne, 506th PIR during WWII.

Uncle Bill never talked about the war. My dad was interested in WWII, but as a kid was told not to ask Uncle Bill about the war. All we knew was that he was a paratrooper who got into a “Fair” Fistfight. When he died, his obituary said he was in the 101st Airborne. No one had ever mentioned that before. He served from December 1942-November 1945 and fought on D-Day in the area of Ravenoville and Carantan.

He also jumped into Holland for Market Garden, where , I believe this was Ophusedon, with some of the worst shelling in the war. Uncle Bill did say it was the worst shelling he saw in the war. He came across a dead German soldier and took some coins and a German Medal off of him. My cousin still has those. There are only two photos of Uncle Bill, because when he passed, a lot of things got thrown away including photos medals and souvenirs. The group photo shows Joe Molnar, 3rd platoon medic in the center. Uncle Bill is wearing the helmet. I don’t know who the other soldier is.

Uncle Bill was later wounded once at the Battle of Noville during the Battle of the Bulge. He recovered and fought in the last part of it. Grady Boykin who recently passed away, told me that Uncle Bill was his squad leader during the Bulge. They were on a march and some planes flew over head and Uncle Bill yelled out “Go get em!’ Apparently the planes were captured by the Germans and they opened up on Uncle Bill and his buddies. Luckily no one was hit.

Uncle Bill was wounded in Noville and fought in Germany and Austria, where he met and fought an SS Trooper on a bridge. He was also in a band and played the harmonica and violin. After the war he married Nevada Victor who served in the WACs during WWII. Aunt Vade was stateside during the War. She passed in 1992, and Uncle Bill followed in 1999.”

~Brett Hickle

We are very grateful to Brett for sharing these photos and his story and invite you share your family photos and story of those who served, so we may feature and honor them on Comes A Soldier’s Whisper, where we are all connected.

God Bless all who serve and keep us safe.

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