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"I’m fighting for our country, still." (Audio interview, 1:05:34)

   Rupert Starr
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 422nd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division
Service Location: Camp Atterbury, Indiana; Belgium; Germany; Poland; Russia; Turkey; Italy
Rank: Second Lieutenant
POW: Yes
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Heading to Europe with the 422nd Infantry Regiment in October 1944, Second Lieutenant Rupert Start was quickly thrust into the thick of the action in the Ardennes Forest. After a couple of near misses, his luck ran out when he was captured by the Germans just a few months later. Throughout the four months he spent as a prisoner of war—including forced marches and an eight-day transfer by boxcar, much of it spent without food or water—his dedication never wavered, and he came back home to Ohio with a pledge to make every moment count. In the early 2000s, when he was in his mid-80s, he began speaking out against the injustices of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. As he relates in his oral history interview, his efforts inspired many people in the local community.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (95 min.)
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Set up in Ardennes forest; protecting a three mile wide stretch of open ground; as fresh troops, scared to death. (03:10) Close encounter with a German soldier in a foxhole. (00:45) Day he was captured by the Germans. (02:30)
Marched back into Germany; no food for three days; stuffed into boxcars for eight days; morale stayed high; amazing what a young, healthy person can endure. (03:40) Marched across Poland toward end of war; towns being bombarded by Allies; seeing dead lying in streets; taking shelter with a German guard. (02:15) Reaching home and reuniting with his mother; pledging to make every day count; seeing himself as an officer and a gentleman. (00:46)
Thoughts on policies against gays in the military. (01:03) Choosing to speak out about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; getting involved with the Log Cabin Republicans; amazing response from community. (05:53) 
  
 

Home » Rupert Starr
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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