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Eddie Durham, Corporal

US Army Corporal Eddie Durham (born December 8, 1921) demonstrated the meaning of valor while serving as a truck driver with the 34th Infantry Division as part of the Fifth Army during World War II. 

There he drove “Deuce and a Half” Army Trucks through the mountains of the Italian Theater in the thick of combat. Such a position meant that Durham not only had to be aware of the risk of German artillery fire and possible infantry ambushes - but also he had to deal with the ever-present and most unnerving threat of landmines, a favorite weapon of the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS during the war.

Like many US Army soldiers in the Italian Theater during World War II Durham found himself living and driving through destroyed towns and villages, and on the roadsides in the rugged Italian mountain ranges - where he survived running over a landmine that damaged his truck. Durham experienced the war not only in this way - but towards the end of his time in the conflict, while he guarded and transported German and a few Fascist Italian Prisoners of War to and from POW Camps run by the US Army. 

After his overseas wartime service was over and he returned to the US, to accumulate enough “points” to be discharged. Over the course of his service, Durham faced racial prejudice at the hands of at least one commissioned officer - an encounter even decades later, he could never forget. As the decades wore on, and age took its toll on his memory, his daughter Gytone Glover,  present at the interview helped him recount his war stories - preserving his legacy of service and honor. This gesture is a powerful one indeed, for it speaks to the importance of family in the lives of service members and veterans.