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Interview with Louis J. Zoghby [9/4/2003]

Barbara A. Belt:

This is Thursday, September 4, 2003. We're in the Douglas County Building at 101 Third Street, Castle Rock, Colorado 80104. We're interviewing today Louis J. Zoghby. I'll spell that again Z-O-G-H-B-Y. The address is 7 Rock Street, Castle Rock, Colorado 80104. Branch of Service is the Army. Enlisted service was March 11, 1943 to January 1, 1946. Served in World War II. Interviewed by myself, Barbara Belt, at 8662 Kim Court, Parker, Colorado 80134. I'm a volunteer for the Veterans History Project. Good afternoon, Lou.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Good afternoon.

Barbara A. Belt:

Let's start your interview with the date and the place of your birth.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I was born August 1, 1924 in Middletown, New York. A small city in upstate New York, about 75 miles north of New York City. Ah, at which time, my parents who were immigrant parents from Lebanon, so I am of Lebanese background, came to this country, and I was born a month after they arrived. So if the boat had been a little slower, I'd have been born on the sea. However, ah, they settled the in...actually after that, they settled in Jersey City where I spent the first five years of my life. And then grew up later in Goshen, New York. GOSHEN, Goshen, where my parents opened up a small ma and pa grocery in 1929 after the big crash, and when the depression started. So they needed some kind of income, so they opened up a small ma and pa grocery, so we grew up....I grew up there and we were provided for.

Barbara A. Belt:

Brothers and sisters?

Louis J. Zoghby:

With a sister. Four years younger than myself. So, there's just two of us. Two children in the family. And, ah, that's where we grew up until I finished high school in 1942. At which time, the draft, the 18 year old draft, was being processed through Congress, and I knew I was going to be drafted so I didn't go to college, even though I should have. Had I done, I might have had a little different status when I was drafted. But however, I didn't and went into what they call, the, oh, boy, the....I went to work in a defense plant in Patterson, New Jersey until I was drafted. I was drafted in March of 1943.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you just waited for the draft?

Louis J. Zoghby:

As an 18 year old. I was still 18 years old, and ah, I was sent to the usual processing through Fort Dix, New Jersey, and was assigned to the combat engineers for Basic Training in Fort Devens, Massachusetts, which is near Lawrence, Mass.

Barbara A. Belt:

What was, ah, that like? What was boot camp like?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Basic Training, of course, being an 18 year old, and ah, very naive about the world, it was a, a quick growing up. You know, the Basic Training was, I think, it's pretty much the same. They run you through the process of toughing you, toughing you up, you know, but the engineers was interesting in that that training showed us how they built bridges like went over the Marines, and over rivers where soldiers had to cross later on, you know, so that combat engineers as you know....

Barbara A. Belt:

How did you get into that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, it was Ha...

Barbara A. Belt:

Logic?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Just....I don't know if it's good luck or bad luck. (Laughter from Belt). It was an assignment. I mean, the Army when you went in, it was whatever they needed at that point. And so, they needed to fill this group as a new group and so they said, "Go there." You know, that's the way it was. Well, ah, that was Basic Training, and as that ended, which is approximately three months worth, ah, I qualified, I was told that I was qualified to go into the Army Specialized Training Program, which was referred to ASTP. ASTP. Now that was based on your entrance scores ....they gave you these tests, and they...an intelligence score. Whatever mine was, was enough that I was picked to go to that, and I said, "Hey, that sounds good. Let's do that."

Barbara A. Belt:

So you were happy about that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. So it was...it turned out to be a nice, ah, couple months, because what happened was, ah, I was assigned to go to Harvard. How do you like that? Harvard. (Chuckle from Zoghby). So, any rate, so I went to Harvard, and we were what was called pre-engineering, basic college courses. And ah, we did the first semester from September, you know, to December, and then about February of 1944, ah, there was a rumor that the program was going to be dissolved. The reason being that this ASTP program had about 200,000 young men. You had to be, you had to be the ages between 18 and 22, so here's 200,000 prime youth in this program, going to school, while there's a big war on in Europe, see. And so they needed some people, apparently, so Washington decided to disband the program. Before they disbanded, though, a bunch of us when we heard the rumor....this... and then we went down to Boston to what was called the First Service Command, ah, of the Army and we could volunteer for things. So we said before we're sent some place where we don't know, let's go to the Air Corps. So we qualified to go into the Air Corps, however, because of the turn of events, they didn't allow us to go. The program ended, and we all piled on a train and ah, there were 300 of us in round figures in this program at Harvard.

Barbara A. Belt:

Were you living in dorms? Or where were you living?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We lived in the dorms. Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

At Harvard?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. This was as if I was....but I was wearing a uniform. We were all privates. And ah, we went to classes.

Barbara A. Belt:

You're on a train, 300 of you, you said.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Right. It was fun. It was fun.

Barbara A. Belt:

Women, women included?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, no women were not in the Army then. The WACS, the WACS were in the Army, but we weren't co-ed. The Army wasn't co-ed then.

Barbara A. Belt:

So they weren't taking any of those classes?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. Only men in those classes. Young men. Ah, while there, an interesting part, is that I managed to hear Winston Churchill make one of his famous speeches. By accident, I wasn't really supposed to be there, but ah, one of the WACS who was like a secretary to the Captain who ran this whole thing asked me to go because the Captain gave her two tickets. And here we are, and we're sitting in loaned seats waiting for Winston Churchill to come out and give his talk when we looked around, and everybody in this place was wearing all the brass there ever was. And one of them leaned over, and I saw the eagle on him, and that was colonel...the eagle is a colonel. He says, "How did you get in here? See. I says, "Well, my lady friend, ah, asked me to come." I didn't...I had no idea where she got the passes. But, ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

So where was the setting exactly?

Louis J. Zoghby:

It was in Harvard University, at...in the...

Barbara A. Belt:

In the auditorium?

Louis J. Zoghby:

In their, ah, one of their halls where they had functions and things.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I don't know the name of it now. Whatever, ah, apparently the Captain had made a mistake and gave the two tickets away. He should have given to two officers. We were the only two enlisted people in this whole place. So they had the advantage of hearing Churchill, which was wonderful. And ah,

Barbara A. Belt:

How long did he talk?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, he talked about an hour with his blood and guts, you know, approach. That was the way he spoke, very gruff, and all.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

The famous speech back then. I have some...I have that in my scrapbook at home. Any rate, the program broke, and we all piled on a train and we don't know where we're going. They just said, "Pack up; we're pulling out." And the train was traveling across Massachusetts and went into New York, and we were some place around Buffalo and...

Barbara A. Belt:

Is this the 300 of you? Still 300 of you?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Three hundred on this train, see. So we're all stomping our feet and there all....and the little pip-squeak First Lieutenant is leading these 300 privates. (Chuckle from Zoghby). And ah, he must have thought that we were getting a little rambunctious there, so, ah, he said, "Where, where are we going?" They said, "Well, I'll tell you, you're all going into the infantry." He said, "Except those 29 that wanted to be flyboys, they're going to Airborne Infantry." Well, at that time, hardly anybody knew anything about this Airborne Infantry. This is paratroopers, and glider troopers. Oh, my goodness, I said, "I never volunteered for that." Well, apparently, when I volunteered for the Air Corps, that allowed them to put me in the glider. So that was how I landed. At any rate, ah,

Barbara A. Belt:

Were you excited about this or not?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No! Scared to death about it.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you try to get out of it?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. You can't get out of it. No. You had to tough it out, all this stuff, you know. When you went in, that's the way it was. And that's where we went. We landed into this...

Barbara A. Belt:

There are 29 of you now?

Louis J. Zoghby:

There are 29 of us went into the 17th Airborne, which happened to be on maneuvers in Kentucky and that would be the end of March, approximately, middle or end of March, and it was cold and chilly and wet, and so forth.

Barbara A. Belt:

What are you doing?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, maneuvers, ah, were preparations for, ah, for, ah, meeting the enemy, and how you maneuver, see, and so you had teams and one was the red team and one was the blue team, and you had banners on your arms so that if you said, "Bang, I got you." You know, until the red...and of course, that person was out, you know, got killed. And so you, ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

Are you paratroopers? You are paratrooping?

Louis J. Zoghby:

At that time, we weren't paratrooping. No, we were just on the ground as infantry.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And so, of course, most of our action was infantry. Ah, the only... we did train after the maneuvers, we went back and trained in gliders. I hadn't been in a glider before, see.

Barbara A. Belt:

What did you think of that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

So, ah, well, (Chuckle from Zoghby). It's exciting. So, ah, again, all of this was new experiences, I mean, sure you could be frightened about anything, I could go to the top of a building and look down and be frightened, right? So you get in a glider and you are towed around, and you cut loose, and you land and...

Barbara A. Belt:

First time you've ever been up in the air?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. Sure. (Chuckle from Zoghby). Great. And ah....so anyway, what they, ah, did about troop, paratroopers and glider troopers was treated as if, I mean, we were psyched up as the elite. The elite of the military.

Barbara A. Belt:

Pride?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Pride. They built in pride, you know. Beefed you up, and so you...

Barbara A. Belt:

Macho?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. Right. You were macho. That's it. So, that was the, the....that part of it, and that took us in through probably June, July.

Barbara A. Belt:

Of training?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Of training, and then, ah, o.k., you're ready to go.

Barbara A. Belt:

Tell me the first time when you jumped out of a plane.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I didn't jump out of a plane. Now I'm in a glider, see. I'm a glider-man.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Paratroopers jump out of planes. Glider troopers come down in the glider with no motor. (Chuckle from Zoghby). And land.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh, oh, o.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So in the glider, there are 15. There's a squad of men, which is 15 men. And you sit on plywood benches opposite each other. The gliders are very small; your knees almost touching, and ah, there's a pilot, and a pilot is usually....they used to say they are usually a washed-out, you know, a fighter plane pilot and didn't quite make it, so they made him a glider pilot.

Barbara A. Belt:

So there's only one pilot, no...

Louis J. Zoghby:

One pilot; that's all.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. No co-pilot.

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, no co-pilot. And so, a squad of men, seven on one side; eight on the other, and sat there with your rifle between your knees and the backpack. Gliders are ah, I forget a bit...CG4; they had a special name for them. They're merely an alloy frame with like a canvas cover, and the windows are about ten inch diameter portholes, ah, and made out of celluloid plastic back in those days. And so, ah, it felt like and it sounded like you're sitting in a drum 'cause of the noise, you know, the air in that canvas vibrating, see. So you couldn't talk or anything, I mean, you couldn't hear anything. And so that's, that was Basic Training, I mean, that was their glider training in the 17th Air Force...

Barbara A. Belt:

So you never learned to parachute? You just....

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, I didn't do parachuting.

Barbara A. Belt:

You never did...

Louis J. Zoghby:

We were asked if we want to. They wanted...they were hoping, but on a voluntary basis, that everybody would do both. Since they would, could mix them up, you know, and so forth. And ah, a lot of the paratroopers took some glider trooper training, glider training....

Barbara A. Belt:

You would think you would ...

Louis J. Zoghby:

And a lot of the gliders men, ah, took some parachute training. But I didn't feel I was, I wanted to jump out of a plane. (Laughter from Zoghby). So, I didn't do it, see.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And so, I stayed as a glider, a glider. We got extra pay for this incidentally. I think it was...

Barbara A. Belt:

I hope a lot.

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. It wasn't a lot. I think we got an extra $25 a month for doing that, ah, which in those days, you know....

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you have a sense of pride doing this?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, oh, yeah, once they, you know, psyched you up with this. Sure. You're...At that point, I mean, you're 19 years old, and you know, macho, big, uniforms, nice, and you're wearing glider tin, you know, rounds of tin. You had special boots, and all that good stuff. And so, they ah, so about the first of August, they decided it's time for us to go overseas. Now June of that year was D-Day, you know, the invasion of Europe. So I missed that. I just, you know, when you're... you know you can't, you can't control your destiny or anything, so I was lucky enough not to be old enough to be in that first bunch. Otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here maybe (chuckle from Zoghby) 'cause a lot of people didn't make it as you saw in "Saving Private Ryan;" did you see that movie?

Barbara A. Belt:

Yes.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, well, you saw D-Day. So, ah, D-Day, I missed it. Fine. And so August, we go to England.

Barbara A. Belt:

Are you excited about that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, England was exciting. I mean, you're going to war, which is not exciting, but I mean, there is a lot of apprehension.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

You don't know when you're going in. But you're seeing....

Barbara A. Belt:

You're closer!

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, you're getting closer, and that's the apprehension. But you're also excited about seeing another place, you know, another world other than your own.

Barbara A. Belt:

How did you get there? You just flew over in a...

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, no. We went over in, on a boat.

Barbara A. Belt:

On a boat. O.k. Oh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I don't know how long it took, probably eight or ten days.

Barbara A. Belt:

Do you remember the boat, the ship at all?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, the name of the ship was, I can't recall that.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. That's all right.

Louis J. Zoghby:

At any rate, ah, we went into Liverpool, England, and we settled in around Oxford, a little town called Swindon, England. And it was interesting at the time because I had an older, I had a cousin, a favorite cousin, who was a year older than me, and therefore was in before me. And I was trying to catch up with him, and I couldn't get him in. I remember writing letters back and forth and then he tells me that he's going to England. And of course, I'm coming to England, and so when we get settled, I find out that he's only down the road, about a mile. But by the time I can get down to see him, he's already moved further in towards, you know, the war zone at that point, in France and Germany.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So I missed him there. So any rate, here we are in the British barracks, that the British soldiers used, on straw mattresses at the time that was a new experience, sleeping on a straw mattress. Ah, and so, life was good there. We didn't have too much to do, just kind of hanging out until the call...

Barbara A. Belt:

No more training?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No more training. No real, no real training. You went out and you did your evening retreat, and you did your maneuvers around the grounds, but you didn't do any real training. And you're there because you're coming up, and you're going to be called at some point when you're needed. So when they, when they invaded Holland, the Remagen Bridge, the British referred to, we were activated and held in reserve that we would be called there, but it didn't happen. So that was good luck, too, see. Not, not going into war to me is good luck. (Laughter from Zoghby).

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah, right.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So, until, until, ah, September 15th was the battle considered to be the beginning to be the Battle of the Bulge. That was when Germany invaded the perimeter of our front lines in, around Bastogne area,

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

The Germans broke the lines and started to come in. And then, we were alerted. This happened the beginning of this happened December 15th, as I said. And of course....

Barbara A. Belt:

And you were in England and you were about...

Louis J. Zoghby:

And we were still in England. Yeah. Now we know this has happened 'cause we're reading the Stars and Stripes and it has given us the information that's happening, see. So, we figured, well, we're going to be called soon. Well, it didn't happen until, ah, Christmas eve. Everybody was receiving these boxes and packages from home and cookies and candy, and stuff. And when they said, "Pack up. You can't take any more than your duffle bag." Well, we thought we were heading out.

Barbara A. Belt:

This was Christmas eve.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Christmas eve. Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

What was it....do you remember what it was like? Cold?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, yeah. It was chilly cold. And this was one of the...it happened to be....what was happening at that point, was the coldest winter they were having in many, many years over there. And England, of course, was chilly and cold most times, it could happen in July and August. At any rate, it's December 24th, Christmas eve, and we're called to pack up; we're pulling out. So Christmas Day, we are at a little airport, outside of Paris, and ah, on Christmas Day, the meal we had on Christmas Day was cold C-rations. C-rations is the round can like dog food. (Chuckle from Zoghby). I think they relabeled the surplus after the war and made it dog food. But it was interesting to see an enterprising soldier who was a jeep driver; he had taken the sea ration and put it on the manifold of the head jeep, and so ran the car for a whole and at least he got half the can warmed....

Barbara A. Belt:

Warmed...(Laughter from Zoghby).

Louis J. Zoghby:

While everybody else ate cold C-rations.

Barbara A. Belt:

Was the, was the weather cold in Paris?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. It was very chilly. It hadn't; it wasn't snowing there at the time. We weren't actually in Paris. We didn't get to Paris until after the war.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh, o.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

But at any rate, it was outside of Paris and we were all holed up and outside by the airport until we were put on trucks. And ah, on the day after Christmas we were put on trucks and we went up to a little town called Sedan, France (S-E-D-A-N), and this is almost ...

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you know where you were going at all?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. We had no...we were going to the front lines. That's all....

Barbara A. Belt:

That's all you knew.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Scared, you know, to death. (Chuckle from Zoghby). Using polite terms.

Barbara A. Belt:

Yes.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And so, Sedan is right on the line between Belgium and France. And so, there, there we stayed a couple of nights, and with the, ah, ah, the approximately New Year's Day, we get loaded up again on a big cattle cars.

Barbara A. Belt:

Well, what are you sleeping in? Tents?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, no. We're, we're are in ...we have taken over houses. People that had vacated their houses in these towns because ah, or whether we pushed them out, I don't know, but we were told to go into these houses. We slept in, ah, not on beds, but we had bedrolls and, you know, blankets and stuff like that. And of course, we slept in our clothes. We never got out of those. And so, about the first of January, that would be 1945 now, ah, New Year's Day, we go to the front lines because now we're two weeks into the Battle of the Bulge. I mean, we're not in it, but the Battle of the Bulge is already on for two weeks.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now you know that....

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're coming up to relieve these guys that had been battered. The 82nd Airborne...

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And 101st Airborne. I'm in the 17th Airborne at this point. And so, we're going to up to refresh troops, to relieve these people, but we have to go into the Battle of the Bulge to get to them, you know. So this is all...

Barbara A. Belt:

So are you saying that....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Infiltrated by the, by the Germans at this point.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're getting combat explosions and things like that at this point?

Louis J. Zoghby:

At the second, about the second of January, yes, we're in the woods now.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, in the Black Forest over there, and ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

And bombs are dropping?

Louis J. Zoghby:

In the Ardennes it's called the Ardennes, which was also in the First World War, I believe, too. The Ardennes Forest. And ah, cold, cold, cold. Extremely cold, and now it's...

Barbara A. Belt:

Are you dressed warm enough? Do they have....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, I had a....actually, we were ...we had all of our clean, we were wearing all of our clothes. Our fatigues, our dress clothes, our...the jacket, the fatigue jacket on top of which we had an overcoat. However, the second day after the first day into those woods and the snow at that time was, ah, about a foot or two deep, ah, still some started, continuing to snow and ah, the first orders were, you know, "dig in." You know, try to dig a foxhole. The ground was so frozen you couldn't put one of these....you had to carry these little shovels that fold over your belt. But ah, the...we couldn't, I couldn't dig more than about four inches in. Also, I was wearing so much clothes, I perspired and so, I took my overcoat off and hung it on one of these cedar branches and ah, within a few hours, they said, "We're pulling out," like four o'clock in the morning.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you ever, you never got your hole dug?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Never even got the hole dug. We couldn't even dig it anyway, so it was so shallow and so hard...the ground was so frozen. So we said, "We're pulling out." So I reached for my overcoat to put it; it had frozen solid. (Laugher from Zoghby). It was like a body. So I was carrying it on my shoulder for the next day or two and ah, it got to be a bit of a joke because some of the guys would say, "Who's your friend," you see. And about the third or fourth day, and my arm was so....it must have been about the third day, my arm was so sore from, you know, holding it up like this on my shoulder. Solid, it was solid, like a ledge,. I heaved it....never had another overcoat for the rest of the....so yeah, you did, you did things like that. Other people did the same thing. I wasn't the only one. But ah, and then of course, this is Battle of the Bulge and ah, we replaced a bunch of others and ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're seeing a lot of....what's going on? What are you seeing now? Are....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, you're in the woods. You're really not seeing, you're hearing....

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

You're hearing the shells, the mortar shells are coming at you, and you're hearing tanks rumbling at a distance.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And then occasionally you saw some Germans, and ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

What do you mean; you would see them?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Pardon?

Barbara A. Belt:

What do you mean, you saw them?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, you know...

Barbara A. Belt:

You were close enough to them?

Louis J. Zoghby:

You mean, you were maybe 1,000 feet away. They're moving back and we're coming toward them.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Or we were in a ravine, or on this side of a ravine, and they're on the other side, and we're kind of bedded down in the woods, you know, these are big clumps of woods, and then open area. And then....

Barbara A. Belt:

Is there any air support at all?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, wow, the weather conditions unfortunately being so cold, and the... it was so fogged in, you know, this went over a little. It would be so foggy, and we wanted air support. But the air support would come in normally, ah, under best, under good weather conditions, they'd come in and they'd strafe and they'd bomb, and then that pushed everybody back, so you could go forward, you know. But ah, weeks, for several, for a few weeks, the weather was so bad you were just traveling through times when you couldn't see from here to that wall who was there, you know, and it varied of course. The word was, ah, you know, be careful. You had code words to know who...

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're still moving even if in the fog.....?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're still moving forwards.

Barbara A. Belt:

Even in the fog.

Louis J. Zoghby:

In the fog. Right. And that's the scary part, because here's your, you're supposed to be spread out, you know, shoulder to shoulder. You're spread out. But you could be there, and traveling ahead of me, and then all of a sudden, you'd disappear in this fog, you know. Where are you? Who's....where am I going? Am I going right direction, you know? Keep going. And so, in here, where all this action was, Charleville....

Barbara A. Belt:

Why don't you spell that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Let's see. Charleville, C-H-A-R-L-E-V-I-L-L-E. We saw a lot of action. You see, here's 194th; that mine. And ah, in different towns we engaged the Germans, and then it would be quiet for a while.

Barbara A. Belt:

So are you...are you just have a gun, a rifle or what could you use?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Just a rifle. Yeah. For me, I'm an infantryman at this point.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. So are you shooting it?

Louis J. Zoghby:

And I carried a rifle. Well, I'd...to be honest, I, you know, again, I called myself very fortunate. I never was close enough to encounter the Germans where I had to shoot at them or where they really shot directly at me. The kind of shooting at me would be mortar shells that came from a distance.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Or, ah, these famous 88s, which was on their tanks, which were very accurate.

Barbara A. Belt:

So there's quite a few tanks?

Louis J. Zoghby:

A lot of tanks.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Sure, and they would use, would be shooting, and ah, you know, they'd be all around you, you know....

Barbara A. Belt:

Are the tanks are leading way? And you're beyond the tanks?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, no. And there, there were tank divisions that traveled occasionally ahead, and they would be the ones that would strafe the woods with strafing, you know, with their machine guns. And then they'd come back, and then they'd say, "O.k. It's ready for you. Move up." You know. Ah, I, again, I was very lucky, ah, in that while we were in these woods, you'd get strafed and shot up with lots of mortar shells. And ah, I can recall one time about five or six of us were just kind of hanging out there, and ah, a mortar bombardment came and ah, here you are with five or six of us. One gets killed, one gets badly, loses his arm, ah, a couple of others gets strafed with shrapnel, and I get a very minor wound on my hand. Simple little scratch on my hand, and you say, "Why, why am I saved?" You know. Either these things cross you mind, because it all happened right there, you know. You're standing....ooh, this is all I got. (Chuckle from Zoghby). So, ah, in that....that was my luck throughout the war. To be in the right spot, at the right time, not knowing that it was at the time, of course. So I traveled through the whole, the whole Battle of the Bulge until it ended. I think the official dates are December 15th to January 26th.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're constantly just moving, is what you're doing?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Moving. Yeah. You can see garlic (?), you can see the path on the map, following and this is another town up here....Houffalize, H-O-U-F-F-A-L-I-Z-E, and I think that was in Belgium. Belgium. Again, you see, we came right around and skirted Bastogne, which has got most of the publicity of the Battle of the Bulge.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now, you weren't involved with the Bastogne combat?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, ah, not in its origin, no.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k., uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

That happened December 15th. That's when...

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh. O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

The 82nd and 101st were there, you know, we relieved them. So went on through, and at the end, about the first part of February, after the Battle of the Bulge officially ended January 26th, we were still traveling...

Barbara A. Belt:

That from....from, going from Paris....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

...To, well, Bastogne, how many days are we talking about? A week?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, well, from January 2nd...

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Until about the first week in February.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. Wow.

Louis J. Zoghby:

We, ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

Cold? Cold time.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Extremely cold. Fog. My feet were frozen. In fact, I, I get a, I get a stipend from the VH for having frozen feet, which I recently got only because I made a case out of it. For years, I didn't bother. My feet were frozen; I didn't feel my feet for three weeks.

Barbara A. Belt:

After you... after this?

Louis J. Zoghby:

After I entered here January 2nd. We crossed some.... I didn't have any galoshes; we crossed a small stream. We had to walk across ...

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're, you're just in boots?

Louis J. Zoghby:

My feet got wet, and never had my shoes off for almost three weeks.

Barbara A. Belt:

How, how high is this snow?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The snow, at some points, were over three feet. In fact, about in the first week that we were out there, we, we made a strategic withdrawal. Retreat. (Laughter from Zoghby).

Barbara A. Belt:

Where was this at?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, this would be, ah, right about in Charleville area, that I mentioned earlier.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

That we have. We were...ah, see here. Sign, a bunch of tanks, and German tanks on, and the Germans on foot came around and pushed us back for a while.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Till we got....

Barbara A. Belt:

And you never had any, ah, air support is what you're saying?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. No air support in here, because of the weather.

Barbara A. Belt:

In Charleville? O.k., right? When did you start getting your air support?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, it was probably two weeks after that....it would be the middle of January. Probably little towns like Bertogne, B-E-R-T-O-G-N-E, these are all French and Belgium towns....

Barbara A. Belt:

So the weather clearing at that point?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The weather is clearing. Yeah. After the half, the middle of January.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

The weather is clearing. It's cold. Extremely cold. We slept in a church one night. I slept on the altar of the church, and ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

Where was that at?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, gosh, I can't remember the town. There's a bunch. These are all little tiny towns, and they all had a big church and ah, that's...and that was cold. You know, there's no heat in those churches. You know, the inside of them, masonry building is often colder sometimes than the outside, see? And when we got to this Houffalize, as I mentioned before and spelled, ah, we had a quiet day or two here, and for the Catholics of which I am one, ah, they, the Chaplain that I helped. There was a few of us who helped the Chaplain set up the... unpack and do things. See, we hadn't had Sunday mass in probably three or four weeks, so ah, he said, "Put the word out. " It was about four o'clock in the afternoon. He says....

Barbara A. Belt:

This is in Houffalize?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Houffalize. Right.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And he says, "Put the word out and we'll have mass at four o'clock in the cathedral." Well, the cathedral, like every European city the church's...cathedrals are, you know, massive, but this one had, ah, the roof had been bombed, and you could see the sky right over the altar, so ah, at any rate, we, ah, about 20 some soldiers showed up at four o'clock.

Barbara A. Belt:

This is the 17th?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Of the 17th. Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

Airborne? O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yes.

Barbara A. Belt:

So it was just word of mouth?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Just word of mouth.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And as far as you could get within a half hour, is what came.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And the priest asked me to, I never was an altar boy, but the priest asked me to fill the little cruets with wine and water, and before he needed the water, which is at the, what is called the offertory of the mass, which would only be about eight or, eight or nine minutes, ah, the water had frozen. (Chuckle from Zoghby). I had to take my trench knife out and break the ice, and so we could, ah, go about that service, but ah, so that's how cold....When people say how cold was it? I tell them the story. How the water froze in church in ten minutes, in less than ten minutes. Well, at any rate, it all ended, ah, about the first week in February, which is a week after the official ending of the Battle of the Bulge, and we now were at a point where we could take a shower.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now you had heard that the Battle of the Bulge was over?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The Battle of the Bulge was over.

Barbara A. Belt:

You heard it. How did you hear about that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, now...it's over because there's no more action. I mean, nobody stood up and said, "Hey, it's over."

Barbara A. Belt:

It's just quiet?

Louis J. Zoghby:

It becomes quiet at that point. The Germans had retreated back into Germany.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. And you could, you could hear...

Louis J. Zoghby:

And there was no more action. So it's...so this part of that called the Battle of the Bulge was now back in control of the American soldiers, so the end of the Battle of the Bulge, so to speak. Not an official, but later on, they officially called it, January 26th.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

See? And so at that point, we kind of quietly....

Barbara A. Belt:

When you're coming through like this, as you're showing me on this map of the route of the fighting 17th...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Uh, huh.

Barbara A. Belt:

Ah, do you know, do you feel like you're winning? Do you feel like you're, you're... I mean what do you feeling?

Louis J. Zoghby:

You're told you're winning. You know, you're told you're winning. You don't.....nobody is shooting back at you?

Barbara A. Belt:

So you don't know?

Louis J. Zoghby:

At this point, it's getting quiet. And so you say, "Hey, o.k., I guess we're winning." You know, ah, nobody is standing there telling you that let's see...well, what they're telling you is o.k. ,ah, we're going to go and have a little rest for a few days, and ah, at which time, you can get a shower. I hadn't had a shower in about three or four weeks.

Barbara A. Belt:

How many miles were you moving in a day?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, I'm going to guess at this. Miles in day on the ground, you know, You're not moving, you not moving on foot, you're not moving more than three or four or five miles, because it is tough terrain to walk on. At times, you were put on trucks and brought forward more because there was nobody bothering us, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

There were times when you sat on this edge of, the side of a tanks, you lined up on the tanks.

Barbara A. Belt:

With all of the tanks out?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. Sitting on the side, while the tanks moved up, see? And so...

Barbara A. Belt:

Did they get stuck in the snow?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. No, I don't remember anybody...in my experience, we didn't get stuck. There was a point at which, I mentioned my cousin, ah, you know, we kept missing, one day we're riding on the truck, and we're all in what's called cattle cars. They're slatted trucks, and they're all, I forget how many, 50 or 60 of us were standing in the truck. And the truck paused, and I looked down and there was two fellows fixing a flat on a jeep, and the insignia on the jeep was the Signal Corps that my cousin was in. So I looked down, and I said, "Does anybody know Jimmy Nayza (?)" And he looked up, and said, "I'm Jimmy." "Lou." "Jim." And then the truck pulled out, and we didn't see each other again until we got home. (Laughter from Zoghby)

Barbara A. Belt:

And that was all you could say there?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, in the middle of Germany, well, not in the middle of Germany but in the middle of the Battle of the Bulge. (Laughter from Zoghby). So here are just accidental, you know...and so you had little high points, I mean, you grabbed at whatever you could to....

Barbara A. Belt:

Made you feel good?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Make you feel good. Right.

Barbara A. Belt:

Family.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Absolutely.

Barbara A. Belt:

Were you getting letters?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Letters? Ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

Any correspondence?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Nay. Mail during this time, was really held up because there was no way that they could deliver to you, and so in this period of time, for three weeks, you didn't get any mail. But when we...in this first week in February is when we, ah, as I say, we reached a point where we could take a shower and they had a truck....They had one of these big trailer trucks, ah, hooked up with, inside the truck, they had several shower heads on each side of the truck. And they didn't tell us that we had three minutes. So we go in there, and you lather up, having not had a shower for, for that for three weeks and all of a sudden, when all the lather on, they turned the water off and say, "That's it. Get out." (Chuckle from Zoghby).

Barbara A. Belt:

Where was this at?

Louis J. Zoghby:

This was in, ah, we were now in, ah, ah, that would be down around here.

Barbara A. Belt:

Near Willow (?)...

Louis J. Zoghby:

We were in...we were at the verge of Luxembourg, at this point, right on the border of Luxembourg and Germany, and ah, at any rate, and then they drove....

Barbara A. Belt:

Was the weather better now?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The weather is breaking at this point.

Barbara A. Belt:

(Laughter).

Louis J. Zoghby:

It's not, ah, it's not...the, the peak of the weather had, we had passed it, you know, the coldest point. And it was, again, it was the first week in February now, and so...

Barbara A. Belt:

And so this shower is outside?

Louis J. Zoghby:

This shower is in the truck.

Barbara A. Belt:

Outside?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, inside the truck. In the truck.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

One of those big trailer trucks.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh, o.k., so there is a roof over it?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We had little heads, you know....

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh, o.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

There must have been eight, four on each side, and eight guys went in, and lathered up, and then you went into a little room next, I don't know what kind of a building it was, but whatever they could find, and they threw a pair of, ah, long johns at you, and of course, ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

That was your first change of clothes?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, That was the first change of clothes.

Barbara A. Belt:

So this is a couple of weeks, two or three?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, three weeks. Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh my gosh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

(Chuckle from Zoghby). We were ripe at this point. But then, you looked at the clothes, of course, they didn't care about size. You just looked around to see if you had a pair that didn't fit you, I mean, let's say it was too small for you, you looked at the little guy over there that got a big one, and say, "Hey, Pip Squeak, and you swapped the shirt or the trousers."

Barbara A. Belt:

What about shaving? What are you, are you shaving every day?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, no, not during that. Ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

During that, do you....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Every probably once each week, you could use your helmet to try to shave, you know, cold water shave.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And in those days, you got to remember, we're only 18 or 19, and we're not heavy bearded too much yet. (Chuckle from Zoghby). So, ah, you could get away with things. So any rate, now, we're back, and we go back, at this point, we're, we're going to rest, we're to a rest area, and the rest area....

Barbara A. Belt:

What do you mean, resting for your ...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Rest, in that you did your job here, and now...

Barbara A. Belt:

Like an R and R?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. O.k. No, R & R.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And that's what we thought. They called it a rest period, and so we went back from here...

Barbara A. Belt:

And where is here there? Now, you remember, no one...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, from here on, it's right, 'cause we're looking at a map here. But we went from this end of the, as I said, the first week in February we're in Luxembourg, right on the border. Luxembourg, Germany. So they pulled us back to the town just, ah, east of Paris.

Barbara A. Belt:

How did you get back? How did you....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Trucks. At this point, just trucks.

Barbara A. Belt:

Trucks. O.k. And there's no problem, driving the trucks back?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, no. Going back, there's nobody bothering you. The Germans had retreated back towards, into Germany.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And the war's still on. Ah, others are fighting at this point, but the 17th Airborne now is coming back.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now, the Airborne is not doing it, I mean you're in...

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're not doing anything Airborne. We're on the ground.

Barbara A. Belt:

(Laughter from both Zoghby and Belt) Yeah....

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're all on the ground, see.

Barbara A. Belt:

You're on the ground. Are you complaining about that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No! Absolutely not.

Barbara A. Belt:

No.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I mean, you could complain in your region of war, but you're ...

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah....

Louis J. Zoghby:

Not complaining. You're not even thinking. You're just doing what's you're told.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you're going back to France?

Louis J. Zoghby:

So now, we go back to France, into a little town called Chalons-sur-marne. C-H-A-L-O-N-S S-U-R M-A-R-N-E. Marne is the River Marne, so it's Chalons on the Marne, see? And we're in tent city, ah in fact, you have a little picture of us here in Tent City. And Tent City, we thought we were just resting, and we were....also, the nearest town was...to us, was Epernay, E-P-E-R-N-A-Y. Epernay is the champagne capital of the world.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you know that when you were there?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. Well, we were told, and then, ah, although as enlisted men, we were not allowed to go into town. However, the officers, and I happened to be a runner for the platoon leader. The platoon leader was a First Lieutenant and I was assigned to do his running around a little bit. But in return, for which, as an officer, he could go into town and bring back...

Barbara A. Belt:

Champagne?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Some champagne. So a few of us were privileged to...for several nights, to have champagne.

Barbara A. Belt:

Into the Tent City.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Into the tent, and the lights are out, and you kind of dozed off.

Barbara A. Belt:

So, you're, you're not seeing any of the natives at all? When you're in Tent City?

Louis J. Zoghby:

At this point, no, we're not seeing anyone. We're, ah, we are just resting and catching ourselves and getting our clothes...

Barbara A. Belt:

Writing letters...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Getting our clothes cleaned, and...

Barbara A. Belt:

And getting the mail?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The mail is come now. At this point, they had not told us that what we were doing here, not only were we just resting but we were preparing for the Rhine invasion which was very...

Barbara A. Belt:

And had no idea.

Louis J. Zoghby:

No idea for a while until ...

Barbara A. Belt:

Are you still 18 or are you 19 now?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, I'm 19....1945, ah, 1945, I'm...so, ah, at any rate, ah, let's see, yeah, they about the middle, about two weeks into this rest period now all of a sudden, we're being shown maps and being told that we 're being trained and also, we had lost an awful lot of men in the Battle of the Bulge. I don't have the numbers in my mind, but an awful lot. The Battle of the Bulge was the single largest battle of the Second War World, and which we lost thousands and thousands of young lives. So that what we were doing is getting replacements and getting ourselves built up to full complement. And being, ah, informed as to our next mission, which was going to be the Rhine invasion, which was going to be airborne for us.

Barbara A. Belt:

What did you think about that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, that I didn't like very much. (Laughter from Zoghby). Everyone was frightened about that 'cause we're going to be, ah, glidered into Germany over the Rhine, and we fight our way back to connect with the ground forces, the Third Army, which was Patton. And ah, so o.k., you got to do it. You know, whatever, so sure enough, we, ah, marched 10th, or 12th, or 15th, or whatever day, it was the middle of March. We get on, in our gliders and we're told...

Barbara A. Belt:

How many gliders are there, do you see?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Hundreds and hundreds, ah, hundreds of gliders.

Barbara A. Belt:

And they were brought to France?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, they were brought over, they, you know, they were disassembled and put in packs and boxes and then reassembled. But this time, they were going to try something different that hadn't been done in any of the other airborne invasions and that was they were going to put two, two gliders on one, being towed by one plane. Well, that was, ah, a disaster because, ah, you can imagine, two gliders are on three foot hundred, 300 foot hundred lengths of rope, special rope of course. And ah, and the wings were practically touching, ah, the wind was...

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you see this or you're not in it?

Louis J. Zoghby:

I'm in this glider now.

Barbara A. Belt:

With two?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Two. Two gliders on one plane.

Barbara A. Belt:

And you're there?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Now, we're off. Yeah. And in the middle of March, we take off very early in the morning because you flew under cover of darkness....

Barbara A. Belt:

And the plane...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Uh?

Barbara A. Belt:

At night? The plane is pulling two gliders?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Two gliders. Each...

Barbara A. Belt:

One pilot in each glider?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Right. That's it. And we're, and, ah, the total time when they told you, you're now over enemy territory. Now you got to know the C, the C-47, was the name of the plane, is pulling two gliders. And two gliders, of course, add weight to that plane. One was enough, but when they put two, it slowed the plane. I think they were flying probably at the rate of 150 miles an hour, which is slow. At 900 to 1000 feet off the ground, which they could throw stones at you almost, and here we are over enemy territory. When they said, "O.k., you're now over enemy territory," 'cause we're from France.

Barbara A. Belt:

They made an announcement?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. Ah, the pilot would say, "Now you're over enemy territory," and so we were...so on...to get on here, and we're told now, when you cross the Rhine, you're in enemy...you know, you're over the enemy. Now from here on...

Barbara A. Belt:

How many, how many hours would it take?

Louis J. Zoghby:

This could take a couple, this would be....

Barbara A. Belt:

Flying at night?

Louis J. Zoghby:

About an hour and half, two hours...

Barbara A. Belt:

In the glider, as well.

Louis J. Zoghby:

In the glider being towed.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

But then you cross the Rhine, and then you're over...

Barbara A. Belt:

Enemy territory.

Louis J. Zoghby:

See this area. 194 is the glider. You're, we're nine minutes now. Nine minutes doesn't sound like much, but nine minutes over enemies when they're shooting at you with hand guns and rifles, and so forth...

Barbara A. Belt:

And you're low to the ground?

Louis J. Zoghby:

And you're 900 feet off the ground. Ah, in fact, the fellow sitting next to me, ah, turned white and he said, "I'm hit." And I tried to see where he was hit where he was hit.

Barbara A. Belt:

He's in the glider?

Louis J. Zoghby:

He's in the glider. We're sitting side by side and I looked down and on his thigh, he was beginning to form a red spot. And as the bullet went down, right up through the meaty part of his thigh, right up through the glider, see? And you could see the bullets going through the wings and so forth.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now are you attached to the...

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're still attached...

Barbara A. Belt:

To the main plane?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're nine minutes over here and then we're cut loose and you come down and you land, see? Near Wesel. W-E-S-E-L.

Barbara A. Belt:

And there's 14 people per glider plane.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Fifteen in a glider. Fifteen.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. And how many gliders are now being released?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, my....hundreds of them.

Barbara A. Belt:

Hundreds of them.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Because we're, ah, the 194th Glider Troop is, is ah, some are parachutists and so forth. There's probably be a couple thousand men, see? A couple thousand men. So 15 in a glider, whatever that number is. Many of them crashed. Broke up and like paratroopers also got caught in high tension wires, and in the trees, where they were shot by Germans because they couldn't get out their parachute. We landed and some of them, some gliders crashed into each other, because there was no way to controlling these things, other than bringing them to landing, you know, it's not like a plane, where you can maneuver, which I always wanted....At any rate, we survived that. I survived that fortunately.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you, your plane landed?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Many didn't. The glider landed, not the plane. The plane continues on, turns around, have to get back.

Barbara A. Belt:

Right. Right. But your glider lands.

Louis J. Zoghby:

The glider lands.

Barbara A. Belt:

And you're in a field?

Louis J. Zoghby:

I'm in a big field. And it's spring and the ground is beginning to thaw, you know, it's in the middle of March, and muddy. And the Germans are all lined up and their tanks are over here. They see all of this happening so they're shooting at us. And ah, we...

Barbara A. Belt:

You get out of that glider?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We get out of the gliders, and we try to find our unit. Try to reassemble, because the glides have landed all over the place. It takes about a day or two to get everybody...

Barbara A. Belt:

A day or two?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Sure. Because you have, where are you? You don't know, see? So, it must have been the second or third day when we all caught up with each other to make, to be collected together to continue...

Barbara A. Belt:

What are you thinking when you land?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Pardon?

Barbara A. Belt:

What are, what are you thinking when you land this glider and you're out and you're looking for your...?

Louis J. Zoghby:

You're saying, "Holy crap; where am I?" (Laughter from Zoghby). "What am I doing here." And you just dive for cover, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

'Cause they're shooting at you...

Louis J. Zoghby:

I, as it so happened, ah, that there was an irrigation, ah, an irrigation ditch that had concrete on both sides and ah, I dove into that ditch 'cause you got to get below ground because they're shooting at you from all directions. And who's next to me, but the pilot of the glider that I was in. (Laughter from Zoghby). Now his job is to try to get back. He doesn't fight. He has to be, he has to wait until things quiet so he can get back to the rear lines. In the meantime, while we were lying there, we counted six of these C-47s that went down because then, when they turned around, you know, the plane has to take a mile or two to turn to come back. Well, they were so low, that they were shot down. I counted six of them, but there were hundreds that were shot down.

Barbara A. Belt:

Six that were...hundreds of planes that were shot down?

Louis J. Zoghby:

They, they were too low. You know...they were easy targets.

Barbara A. Belt:

How many people, people that were in the glider with you, are they all safe at this point? Everybody safe?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, we all scattered and tried, you know, ah, to find cover.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And my particular, ah, I've told you the fellow next to me was hit, so he stayed until the medics caught up with him and he went back, and the rest of us managed to, ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

The guy that was hit, do you ever hear from him? Or anything?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. I....

Barbara A. Belt:

Lost contact...

Louis J. Zoghby:

I never; we lost contact. All during this, ah, this time in the service, you know, people do form relationships and there were four or five of us that, ah, we knew each other and stayed together, and ah, whenever we had time off, we went off to the beer halls together. And ah, and so a few of us stayed in touch all these years.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

They're dying off. And ah, so at any rate, just to finish this.

Barbara A. Belt:

Yes.

Louis J. Zoghby:

At ah...we ended up in a town called Munster, Germany.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you all, you collected everybody and marched...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. We finally caught up with each other, and now we're pushing. And at this point in time, the Germans were giving up by the hundreds and by the thousands. And so, you...there would be four or five of us and one of us would have, somebody would have a radio and say, "Ah, we've got some prisoners." "How many have you got?" "Well, we're guessing, maybe four or five hundred." And there would only be four of us or five of us, see? "We'll march them back to the rear, but there's only four of us." "Send somebody else." If they gave up, they're not going to do anything, you know. They gave up, see? They're not...it's not like Iraq, (Chuckle from Zoghby) where they're doing things. This is black and white.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did they...

Louis J. Zoghby:

War, you know what I mean?

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

But ah....When they gave up, they gave up.

Barbara A. Belt:

So they surrendered to you, too?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. They all surrendered in hundreds.

Barbara A. Belt:

Nobody fought?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Nobody at this point. They laid down your arms, and at this point, when we reached Munster, the war ended. That would be in the middle of April, April 15th, or somewheres in there. The war ended in Europe. At that point, ah, we were all, ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

You heard that the war had ended when you were there?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah.

Barbara A. Belt:

How did you hear?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, over the radio. The Germans told us. The German civilians. The war is over, you see, because they'd hear it on their little radios.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

We didn't have radios to hear...

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh. What was...

Louis J. Zoghby:

So they told us. In fact, we were on a truck in April when we paused in a small German town, right around in here, ah, near Munster, and the Germans ran out and they said, "President Roosevelt is dead. Is that true?" They're asking us. Of course, we didn't know. That was April 12th, see? 1945. And so the Germans told us things that we didn't even know, see? So, anyway, the war ended, and then we kind of holed up for a while until we...

Barbara A. Belt:

Held up where? Where are you now?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We're in Munster.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. What is the town like? Was it, is it bombed? What is the town...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, sure, these cities were all...all the industrial parts of the cities were bombed.

Barbara A. Belt:

This is an industrial...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Sure.

Barbara A. Belt:

City?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, Munster was a fairly industrial city.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And buildings were bombed out. But ah, lots of residential areas were still intact.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now, how are the natives treating you?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Very...Ah, the population, the population that wasn't in the war, they were so happy that it was over. Oh, my goodness. At the end of the war, there was a lot of, ah, ah, a lot of the German munitions, ah, were not going off. They were not exploding. In other words, what do they call that? When the people deliberately, ah, are...

Barbara A. Belt:

Sabotaging the...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Sabotaging their own, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

In their own munitions plants, they were sabotaging their own, because they wanted it to end.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

They didn't want to be in that war any more. We didn't want to be in that war.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So, then...

Barbara A. Belt:

So are you celebrating when you hear that it's over? Or are you glad?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, sure. We're very happy. My...At that time, my father had died at the end of May, and I couldn't get home. The war was over already a month, almost.

Barbara A. Belt:

How did you hear he had died?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, well, I got a telegram, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

During, during combat?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, the war had ended.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k., and then you....

Louis J. Zoghby:

It ended in April, yeah, three days before Memorial Day. He was buried on Memorial Day. But I was...I got this telegram that my father had died and they were trying, going to get me home, but they couldn't. So, I stayed in the service until....So that was a sad moment and so at any rate, ah, as I said earlier, I don't know if I'm on tape or not, but the 17th Airborne was slated to go home. And at that time, point system got you home if you had so many points. And I didn't have....I lacked three points of being sent home.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, o.k. How many points to get, to be sent home?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Something around fifty points.

Barbara A. Belt:

Fifty.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Fifty or fifty-five points. I know I missed it by three points.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So, I then, they switched people from the 17th into the 82nd Airborne, because the 82nd Airborne was to be...was to occupy Berlin. So, August 1st, my birthday, ah, we went into Berlin, and we occupied, the 82nd Airborne now, and ah, we occupied Berlin, which is a whole another bunch of stories. And ah, for four months, it was easy living. You know, we lived in apartment houses that we took over. An interesting little side story of it, at that time, ah, young German children, ah, wanted to do things for the soldiers because you had, we had candy and gum and cigarettes and soap. And so a young boy, who was 14 years old by the name of Bodo Magdeburg (?), a name you couldn't forget, ah, became friends with me. And he was 14; at that point, I'm 20, 21, 20 or 21. And ah, he, he, for four months, he ran back and forth. Took some film to the store and stuff and ah, one of the...in December, we were told that the 82nd Airborne was going to be the Division that was going to march in the Victory Day Parade in New York. At which point, we were re-issued brand-new rifles, when everybody else was giving all this stuff up, and we had to train for a month to march, right shoulder arms in January. But anyway, Bodo says when I'm going home, "Write to me. I want to keep my English going." So we wrote for a year and a half and then it ended 'cause he probably finished high school and went on. Thirty-eight years later, when I'm living in ah, Carmel, New York, I get a phone call. And ah, the phone call says, "Louise Zoghby?" And I say, "Yes." "Do you remember the name Bodo Magdeburg?" I said, "Bodo Magdeburg is a skinny 14 year old German boy, Berlin, 1945." "This Bodo Magdeburg, a 54 year old, 220 pound, German man, Alberta, Canada." Bodo, Bodo...but we got reconnected, and so it's a human interest story, and we now talk to each other and we've seen each other a couple of times.

Barbara A. Belt:

What a wonderful story.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And ah, yeah, connection of an enemy in the, you know. And that I'm very happy about, and so....

Barbara A. Belt:

So tell me about the Victory Parade.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, the Victory, we get there. We get into Camp Shanks, ah, New York, which is near Nyack, New York, and they say, "O.k. You're all dressed up now, right, we're going into..."

Barbara A. Belt:

Are you excited to be in the parade or what are you...I mean?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, yeah, that's interesting, because we're home and the war's over and everything and we're kind of proud. And so, we march from the Washington Arch, which is 4th Street in New York up Fifth Avenue at right shoulder arms in January. Your nose is dripping. It's cold.

Barbara A. Belt:

January! It's always winter for you...(Chuckle from Belt).

Louis J. Zoghby:

In New York City, New York City. Cold in the winter, and we march from 4th to 79th Street, and ah, over to what's called West End Avenue, back down to 44th Street to get back on the boats, the ferry boats, because Camp Shanks was on the other side of the Hudson River. It must have been eight miles, seven, eight miles, I don't know. I, I...Every 20 blocks is a mile in New York. So 20 into 74 and over and down, probably five miles all together, right shoulder arms. And of course, the fellows that got out. There were a few of the buddies that had gotten out earlier, we had already communicated and said, "We're going to meet you at the Commodore Hotel under the clock." Do you know that one? You don't know the clock in New York. It was a famous spot. And ah, sure enough, they were there, waiting. And so, ah, when the parade was over, we all came back into the city and that night was, we were the, we got told, we were heroes, you know, of the Second World War. And nobody, you didn't have to spend a dime; everybody...all the civilians were taxied. They didn't charge you. You know, wherever you went, you didn't have to pay for anything. So that was the victorious part of it, the end of the war.

Barbara A. Belt:

And you did meet your buddies, then?

Louis J. Zoghby:

We all met together and had dinner, about nine of us and I had a picture somewhere, but I can't find it right now. And so about half of us are gone, you know, now. And so the end, somewhat towards the end of the story...all these years, I've stayed in touch with...I've the kind of a hub in touch with different people. And I've seen these other between...my wife and I have traveled, and so I've seen these others, but they haven't seen each other. So, ah, over the years we've talked, as I say, one on one, and ah, on September 12th, which is a week from tomorrow, I'm going to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the 17th Airborne Division is going to have its 50th reunion. Excuse me, not...the war has been over, ah, 57 years, but they didn't get organized until about six or seven years after. But so, the 50th, and we're dwindling down now. I think there are probably less than 200 will show up of the actual veterans plus their spouses and now grandchildren accompanying these things. In my case, I'm going alone, and I got two fellows, ah, that I'm still in touch with. One's coming from Buffalo, New York....

Barbara A. Belt:

What's his name?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Robert Krieger (?), Bob Krieger. And a fellow named Hally (sp?) Smith is coming from near San Francisco.

Barbara A. Belt:

They were in the gliders with you?

Louis J. Zoghby:

They were all in the gliders. We were in the same company, the Company F, of 194th of the 17th Airborne Division. And ah, those two are going to meet for the first time in almost 60 years, see. Now, ah, I hope it turns out. We're only be there for a few, few days, and so, ah, but as you know, ah, and you probably heard, ah, World War II veterans are disappearing at the rate of a minimum of 1,100 a day on average, because we're...if you, if a man has been in the Second World War, you have to be 77 years old, minimum age. That would be even at the end. The average of a World War II veteran is 80, 81. I'm 79, so I'm kind of in there (Chuckle from Zoghby).

Barbara A. Belt:

After you do this Victory Parade with...is this...when did you see your mother?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Ah, well, the Victory Day was...the Parade was on January 12th, and I think it was the next day or two that I was mustered out, and I was home. Now my mother was at that point, which I didn't mention, ah, growing up, they had changed businesses from a ma and pa grocery to a bar and grill.

Barbara A. Belt:

So this all happened when you were gone? In the service?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, before I was gone, I didn't mention earlier, but at any rate, she had been running the place since May until I came home in January, about January 15th of 1946. It was going on about eight, seven or eight months later, and so she, ah, you know, was kind of hanging on with this little business...

Barbara A. Belt:

So you hadn't seen her?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No, I hadn't seen her for almost ah, well, ah, let's say June or July of '45 until January, seven or eight months later with the overseas time.

Barbara A. Belt:

Bet you had really changed?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, she had changed...

Barbara A. Belt:

Mentally and physically...Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I think she had changed. Both had gotten older, so I inherited a bar and grill, at that point.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And ah, so that's the...not that I was a businessman. I was, of course, I was raised in the atmosphere of entrepreneurship. But, ah, no, it was a type of business that...from the people and my friends who had all come home, knew I had the bar and grill, they'd come over and we have....In those days, there were no work. And the work, ah, that we had a program...the government had a program called the 52/20 Club. Fifty two weeks and you got $20 a week, ah, until you got a job, but ending in 52 weeks. The dole, you know.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

To get you going 'cause hundreds and hundreds of people were dumped back into these towns, and there was no work for them.

Barbara A. Belt:

You didn't want to go back into the service then?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, some did.

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Some did. There was no work.

Barbara A. Belt:

And you didn't want to do that?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Me, no! (Chuckle from Zoghby). I was so happy to be out that service. So, anyway, I ran the bar and grill, and these young guys would come. They were all 21, 22; they'd come every Friday night and cash their check for $20, their $20 check, and get drunk, see, because, hey, there was nothing else to do. It got so though, I could tell and what was going to happen to each of the guys when they, when I served them that drink. Oh-oh, I'm giving Joe his fourth drink; he's going to start crying. And Bill is going to start swearing. And Roy is going to start, ah, being very belligerent, you know. These are behaviors. Now, this is not the business for me. (Laughter fromZoghby). One year and I was out of that.

Barbara A. Belt:

You were?

Louis J. Zoghby:

But ah, it's interesting that I, ah, you know, I mentioned the ASTP earlier. And I was fortunate enough to do almost two semesters at Harvard, so when I was filling out applications, I wasn't...I hadn't been thinking about college, because you fill out an application that says, ah, college, and I says, "Well, I didn't go to college." But then, one day it dawned on me, I did go to college even though I was in uniform. So I...the first time, I used that on an application that says, college, I put down "Harvard, one year." Reason for leaving: "Military." Well, wouldn't you know, the secretary takes it in and turns it in. And it was quiet in those days; there weren't a lot of people around. And she says, "Mr. Smith will see in a minute." So, ah, when I was now ushered in, and asked to sit down, and there's the manager of this light and power company of Middletown, New York. Sits me down, and he says, "I see you are a Harvard man." (Chuckle from Zoghby). Geeee! "I'm a Tufts man, myself." And so, ah, as a result of this, of course, he started when he was older. Probably in those days, looking back, he was probably 50 years old, you know, and ah, next thing you know he's into nostalgia-land, thinking about the old college days. And so I had....I was reaching a point where I might not be able to answer, because I'm a military guy there, see? So I said to him, "Mr. Smith, you haven't mentioned anything about employment." "There's room in this company for a Harvard man."

Barbara A. Belt:

So the military gave you the grant.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So I got a job. I got a job at $32 a week as a meter man in electric company installing electric meters.

Barbara A. Belt:

Due to the military?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Uh?

Barbara A. Belt:

Due to the military?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Due to the military. Sure. So, ah, there's where good thing that come out of it, and so, I got a job when other people didn't have a job, even though I didn't get big pay, but there was no big pay then. And so, ah, that, ah, one of my friends...I wasn't gone...I hadn't gone to college. GI Bill was available, and I wasn't even thinking about that 'cause I never had a mentor or my parents, as I said, were immigrant parents, and they had no formal education at all, and so they did not think in terms of the depression. You didn't think about college. First of all, how they going to send me to college. They didn't have any money. So therefore, I never pressed it, and then, my...In school, I went to parochial school, there's more classes and nobody there said anything about college. So, hey, I mean, the war and so forth, I'm back and I want to get a job. So I'm visiting, ah, my friend, Hally (sp?) Smith, who I'm going to see next Friday from California, who was living in Harford, Connecticut, and I...he said, ah, I was visiting him because it was only an hour away, ah, from where I was living. And ah, I was telling him about my, griping about my lousy job, low pay and all. "Why don't you talk to my father." He was an executive in one of the big insurance companies. And so, he took me in his study and sat me down, like you know, a son of his ...his own son.

Barbara A. Belt:

And being a Harvard man?

Louis J. Zoghby:

No. Nothing about Harvard. But he just sat me down. He said, "Lou, you know, I can get you a job, ah, a better job than you have." He says, "But you have to go, you should go to college." He says, "You go to college, and even though you think you're using up four years, ah, you'll be further...and you come back to me after college, and you can be...I'll start you much further ahead than you would have rest, starting at even a little better job than you have." Well, it sounded very practical to me. So that started me going to college.

Barbara A. Belt:

So you used the G.I. Bill?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, I got the G.I. Bill. And I went to Fordham and got out of Fordham, and of course, when I guess I graduated in June of 1950, and there were no jobs because of the Korean War. Everything was in a holding pattern. So here I am, breaking my neck. I work and go to school and this and that. And I can't get a job even though...well anyway, yeah. That was...I went back into business. At that point, I met my wife. At which point, I met my wife and ah, Patricia Aiken, from Ohio, who had a sister in our town. She was visiting her sister, and we met, and that, ah, we got married and so ah, got out of a small business because it took up so much time. And I went to work in a...did a corporate stint for twelve years just. I knew I wasn't corporate. In the meantime, we had four fast children, children in five years.

Barbara A. Belt:

And what are their names?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Their names are in the order of their birth are Daniel, Kansas, and ah, Gregory, and Patrick. And all of whom are spread out. The oldest is in North Carolina, then ah, Gregory, number three, is in Kauai, Hawaii, he and his wife. They're all married. And three of them have two children each. That's six grandchildren. And a daughter and ah, a son in Kansas, and Patrick are here in Aurora, Centennial. And, ah, that's one of the reasons why, ah, we moved out here primarily. Ah, my work time, ah, took me through. I was in commercial real estate. My corporate life, ah, after two, two times of self-employment took me into corporate life, and I was in real estate exposure there. Ah, I could personally select locations, you know, for like Safeway and for Kings.....I worked for a supermarket company and ah, then knowing that I wasn't corporate at 43 years old, I decided that I can't stay here because I, I just unhappy for 20 some years more if I stay. With four small kids, I'm going to be locked in forever and I would be unhappy and so, so my wife, she says, "Hey, do what you want. You know, you got four kids, you got a good job." The job was good; the pay was good; the perks were good. But it wasn't me, you know. And so, I said, "I got to go on my own." And went back into self-employment as a real estate person in commercial real estate. So at any rate, that was good for three, four years, and then I got involved with a fellow to develop real estate. And which you can't...at 50 years old, unbeknownst to me, my so-called partner did some illegal things and I found myself broke. All the effort that I did with him for three years went down the drain.

Barbara A. Belt:

Oh...

Louis J. Zoghby:

So, I'm standing there saying, "What's my future?" So I went back to college, and I found college some much fun that I got a MBA, and that was so much fun at 50 when I didn't need to do that, you know.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

I still went back into the brokerage business and that was so much fun, I carried on. And ah, then got an MPS in Gerontology and a MAH in Humanities. So I picked up three Master's degrees from age 50 to age 63.

Barbara A. Belt:

You've come a long ways since being, ah, the Battle of the Bulge, huh?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, right. So, ah, 65 come retirement time. At which point, I was doing, I overlapped my real estate by working for Guidepost magazine. Guidepost magazine was founded by Norman Vincent Peale, Reverend Norman Vincent Peale, who was really the original guru of positive thinking. Ah, he started all that back in the 50's. And so it was an interesting few years there, along with my real estate plans. So, ah, it was time to retire. The kids are grown.

Barbara A. Belt:

Do you think back on your military career? I mean, do you have good memories and...?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yes. I'll...I think you might, ah, hear this from a lot of World War II veterans. It was probably the most memorable of all the things that they do and have done in their life for the most part. Those that were there. Why? It took a very naive young 18-year old and made him a man in less than a year with full responsibilities for everything, you know. Himself and everybody else and sent you home. And those that survived, and were unscathed so to speak were, ah, less than major problems, ah, yes. It was a complete...the average would be almost three years for the most part.

Barbara A. Belt:

Is there any other stories that you'd like to tell before we get to the end of this tape? Are there any other ...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, I had a lot of situation. In my military, as I said, I was lucky. I had several situations where I could easily have been killed instantly. But yet destiny or whatever word you want to use, ah, prevailed. And ah, you say, "Why me?" And it kind of gives you a sense of feeling of a superior being maybe watching over you.

Barbara A. Belt:

Now that you're older and you think back on it, what do you think about being in the presence of Churchill? I can't imagine being a young man and now after all this time, to go back and to think of that.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah. That was, ah, awesome as they use the word, you know.

Barbara A. Belt:

I would think you would appreciate it even more as you get older.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, absolutely. Now, when I look in my scrapbook and I got this, you know, this newspaper articles that were there about Churchill, and the fact that I wasn't supposed to be there and I was there.

Barbara A. Belt:

You were probably the youngest person in the room.

Louis J. Zoghby:

See, if I was challenged to go, you know, maybe I wouldn't have, you know, if I was made to go, I'd say, "I don't want to go." And tried to get out of it, but ah, just fortunately when you look back at that, and ah, I met, ah, the general of the 82nd Airborne, who was, ah...Oh, my goodness, I can't think. His name is stapled in there somewhere....Gavin, General James Gavin, who later became ambassador to France, and I happened to meet him. Ah, I was kind of in a down mood. I hadn't gotten, I was supposed to be promoted.

Barbara A. Belt:

Where are you, at this point?

Louis J. Zoghby:

To a sergeant. I'm in Berlin.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k.

Louis J. Zoghby:

At this point. And he was the general there. He was the youngest ground force general, general to be commissioned. Thirty-eight years old to be a two-star general. Yeah. And he was a, ah, he was really a soldier's general. I mean, in other words, he wasn't the kind that had all these aides running behind him, you know.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And he would walk through the grounds by himself. And not with all his stuff on him. He had just two stars on his cap, and one day, I was disgruntled because ah, I had not been promoted and I was supposed to be a sergeant in an area. I was acting, I was acting platoon, ah, squad leader. A squad leader was a three-stripe sergeant. And ah, I was acting that for about six months, but because of the war, the papers never got processed. Now we're settled down in Berlin, and my papers go in and I'm told I can't get it because General Eisenhower had ruled, he was Supreme Commander at the time, General Eisenhower, and he ruled that no one could....No one was to be promoted if they could not hold their rank for 90 days prior to going home. What was happening was that the Division, ah, leaders were sending home everybody raising their rank once. If I was a Corporal, and then they send you home as a Sergeant, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

I've, I've heard that from men.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And you, you wanted....and I came in, that was one of my misfortune times, although it didn't hurt me too much, ah, for now. It didn't hurt at all looking back, but at the time, I wanted to go home as a sergeant, right?

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

So when my papers go in, I'm told I can't. So when...the day I got that notice, I was really...my chin was dragging the ground, and I was walking...I was with another guy, and we were walking across the park area of where we were staying. And now my hands are in my pockets, you know. You're not supposed to down like that. So, the fellow looks up and says, "Here comes General Gavin." "So what?" I was so ticked off, you know, I'm going to go home at some point here soon. So we, ah, he says, "What are we going to do?" I says, "Well, salute him and forget it, Hal." You know, what the hell was going on; what's the big deal? So he...we salute, and at that point, I said, "For crying out loud, this is my best opportunity." So I run back, "Excuse me, Sir. Can I speak with you?" "Yes, soldier. What's up?" Not "What's up?" but "What can I do for you?" Ah, I lay out my story, see? He says, "Oh, yeah. I hadn't heard anything like that," he says, "but let me look into it. What's your name?" I said, "PFC Zoghby." He said, "Would you spell that?" I said, "Z-O-G-H-B-Y." Now nobody ever can take my name from a first time without writing it down and ever be able to say, spell it right again the second time. And he didn't write anything down. About two days later, I'm called to company headquarters. "You got a letter from Division." So here's a penned letter on his own stationary. "Dear PFC Zoghby," spelled right. I got friends from 50 years who still don't know how to spell my name.

Barbara A. Belt:

So that tickled you.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Yeah, and I looked into the matter in question and find that it is, it is of a higher authority. That's cute, isn't it? Yeah, see?

Barbara A. Belt:

But he looked into it.

Louis J. Zoghby:

He looked into it and took the section, back then it was mimeographed and he, and he took out the section that referred to that and attached it to the letter.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did he?

Louis J. Zoghby:

All by himself. No aide.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did you keep the letter?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Oh, I got it in my scrapbook. Sure, sure. I have that letter in my scrapbook. Now that's a, that's a general, that's the kind of a person. See, now that's...that was a reward in itself.

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah, yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

After that, it didn't bother me anymore.

Barbara A. Belt:

And he became an ambassador of France?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Later on, yeah, many years later.

Barbara A. Belt:

Did he?

Louis J. Zoghby:

It was...I don't know...I forget...under what president, maybe Eisenhower? It would more likely be Eisenhower (Chuckle from Zoghby) to make him ambassador to France for a term, whatever, a year or two. However, that's the kind of stories and again, ah, I call myself very lucky. I call the experience, ah, the best thing in my life...second in my life. (Chuckle from Zoghby). So ah....

Barbara A. Belt:

(Chuckle from Belt) Second to your wife, you say? Oh, oh. (Loud laughter from Belt).

Louis J. Zoghby:

Second, you first. I'm second. Yeah. I don't want to get in trouble here. I'm on tape. (Chuckle from Zoghby). Ah, and ah, that...it has been good, and ah, my relationships with the people absence then for years are...I've stayed with them. I've been to probably four of the Division reunions. I only went when they were close enough to go.

Barbara A. Belt:

And the reunions were the 17th?

Louis J. Zoghby:

I'm not a reunion...

Barbara A. Belt:

the 17th?

Louis J. Zoghby:

The 17th Airborne. You remember when I say 82nd.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

82nd was only for a period of five months.

Barbara A. Belt:

O.k. So you really didn't keep in contact with...

Louis J. Zoghby:

I'm...only 17th Airborne.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

That was the bulk of my time.

Barbara A. Belt:

Uh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

And ah, as they say, in the end many of them have gone on, and ah, so a few of us, a few of us, the same two, are talking about meeting next year in May, ah, over Memorial Day weekend next year. The World War II Memorial will be completed with ceremonies over next May, the Memorial Day weekend. And ah, keeping our fingers crossed, two or three of us hope to meet and ah, you know, have a gathering to see that.

Barbara A. Belt:

Huh, huh.

Louis J. Zoghby:

It took so long. It's a shame that it's taken that long for the first of the wars, you know. World War II was ended in '45, to get a memorial in 19 ah, ...2004, for crying out loud.

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

There's a Korean Memorial; there's a Vietnam Memorial. Why, why has it taken so long, I don't know. Politics? Or...

Barbara A. Belt:

Yeah.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Opposition? Who knows what? Yeah. So, ah...

Barbara A. Belt:

Well, we're almost to the end. Is there anything...

Louis J. Zoghby:

Well, we made it.

Barbara A. Belt:

Quick, quick thing you'd like in?

Louis J. Zoghby:

Quick at the end. I don't know.

Barbara A. Belt:

Memory?

Louis J. Zoghby:

I have nothing else to say. Life is good; life has been good for me. I have no complaints and no regrets. Ah, I... my neighbor is a World War II veteran, John Emerson. Ah, I think you may have, ah, done an interview with him. He and I have breakfast every few weeks, and we kind of answer all the problems of the world or gripe about them.

Barbara A. Belt:

(Chuckle from Belt).

Louis J. Zoghby:

And ah, John and I are almost the same age; we're within four months of each other.

Barbara A. Belt:

Well, I sure appreciate your interview.

Louis J. Zoghby:

Thank you very much. It's a pleasure. Ah, to be recorded and put into posterity or whatever. (Chuckle from Zoghby).

Barbara A. Belt:

You have just been posted there. (Laughter from both Belt and Zoghby).

Louis J. Zoghby:

O.k.

 
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  October 26, 2011
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