Speaking of riding with the Valkyries…

Charles Durning, who also died this week, was a real warrior! The man killed a Nazi with a freaking rock!

He was among the first wave of U.S. soldiers to land at Normandy during the D-Day invasion and the only member of his Army unit to survive. He killed several Germans and was wounded in the leg. Later he was bayoneted by a young German soldier whom he killed with a rock. He was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and survived a massacre of prisoners.

In later years, he refused to discuss the military service for which he was awarded the Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.

“Too many bad memories,” he told an interviewer in 1997. “I don’t want you to see me crying.”

Tragedy also stalked other members of his family. Durning was 12 when his father died, and five of his sisters lost their lives to smallpox and scarlet fever.

I will never look at Pappy O’Daniel the same way again.


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7 Responses to Speaking of riding with the Valkyries…

  1. Bman says:

    The very few times he talked about combat, he mentioned that the young German soldier whom he killed with a rock, was around the age of 14-15 or so he believed. He stated he couldn’t shoot him, despite the charge from the young soldier with the bayonet. After grappling with him, and being stabbed several times, Durning had no other choice but to kill him with a rock. He stated later, that he cradled the young dead soldier in his arms as he wept.

    My Grandpa Gary never talked about combat in the Pacific. Not once.

  2. ww says:

    God bless Charles Durning. What a wonderful dancer in “The Greatest Little Whorehouse.

  3. notamobster says:

    Rest in peace, brother! I had no idea. I’ll always watch his movies with a different appreciation for him as a man, from now on.

  4. Uke says:

    No shit? Pappy beat a kraut to death with a rock?

    I swear, you just never know people…

  5. xenicalman says:

    Never did see him with the typical shallow hollywood whiner’s.
    Could be because he had such a solid and honorable background.
    What a legacy. A great talent, A great star and an honorable American.
    BLWHITX was a favorite of mine.
    Betcha he side stepped into heaven!

  6. Ray Davies says:

    We’re losing those who kept us safe through a trying time in history. Whenever I see a WW II Vet I always thank him for hepling preserve our way of life. When I run across a Vietnam Vet,I always say “Welcome home,Brother” The current stock, I thank for their service. I hope you folks are doing the same,and please say a prayer for all those serving now.