Three Brothers, Three Remarkable Stories of War

Reporter: Noreen Turyn

Lynchburg and Altavista, VA - Three brothers. Three different branches. Three separate reasons for joining the military.

The Shields brothers from Lynchburg and Altavista all served in World War II and all had very close calls.

"I had always wanted to be a pilot," Howard stated.

The oldest, 91-year-old Howard enlisted in the Army Air Corps to fulfill his dream.

"But I found out I was being hoo- doo'd because they weren't really trying to get pilots they had at this point they had lots of pilots. They were trying to get gunners and what they were doing was getting people to volunteer to be pilots and then sending them to gunnery school," he said.

Howard took his post in the belly of a B-24, dropping bombs and shooting down enemy planes, just barely missing his own demise, when something came through the plane right between his legs.

"I actually had shrapnel in my turret with me without hitting me," Howard.

He said he was "very" lucky to have survived.

Jack, 88, is a highly-decorated veteran, earning among others, the French Medal of Honor. He joined the Army before the war at age 17 to see the world, and became a radar-man.

Eventually Jack landed on the beach on D-Day. His unit got assigned to General George Patton's third army. Jack still has the very instrument he used to track and shoot down dozens of enemy planes.

"See Patton wasn't afraid of the devil but he was weary of airplanes because he knew they could get to him wherever he was, so that's the reason he had us guard his headquarters," Jack said.

Then there's 85-year-old Paul, who was involved in the D-Day invasion as well. He was on an LST, one he had personally helped build when he worked at the Newport News Shipyard.

"We were supposed to unload on the pontoon, keep from going all the way in and that got blown up so we went all the way in... on D-Day," Paul said.

His ship got hit while in dock during the war, yet he happened to be on the other side.

Paul also served in the Pacific during the war and was in Tokyo Bay for the Japanese surrender.

Jack helped liberate Dachau concentration camp.

Incidentally, all six Shields brothers ended up in the military.


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