Today’s story is about a Cold War soldier who served in the Army in Germany at one of the key periods in the cold War.
In 1961 Joe Wasz 19 was drafted into the service, he like a lot of soldiers drafted and similar my brother Dennis Winn, who I interviewed on my podcast took the draft into his own hands and ask for the draft board to move up his enlistment so he could move forward in his life. Joe was almost immediately activated which started a two adventure in the Army with many up & downs.
Additionally during this interview Joe and I review his father's WWII experience in the Pacifc fighting as an Infantryman & Scott. Sylvester Wasz, received numerous medals for his heroics to include the combat infantry Badge, Bronze star with 3 oak leaf clusters & a purple heart (wounded in action on (Okinawa) on 4/18/1945 (same day as Ernie Pyle, same Island (8 miles long). Same Island.
Served in the same unit (exact) with Medal of Honor winner Desmond Doss --- Movie made in 2016 called “Hacksaw Ridge” 77th Infantry Division, 307th Infantry, 307 Medical (When his father was wounded he told Joe one of the Medics pulled him to safety under fire, never knew who that might be. He was wounded about 2 days prior to what had happened on Hacksaw Ridge.
A point Joe talked about during the interview was that he feels his father fought his entire life with PTSD, but back in the era his father lived there was no real diagnosis and he suffered with it for the rest of his life.
Schedule of discussion in Podcast.
3:23 - Joe talking about why he joined the Army
07:48 - Back to Basic Training Story
17:24 - Arrival to Germany
20:10 - Arrival to Unit
23:00 - Talk about 155 & Lineage
27:56 - FDC
30:04 - One of Joe’s fond memories.
32:05 - Two Traumatic Events
40:13 - NATO
41:30 - What one lesson did you learn to pass along to your family?
48:59 - What medals or awards did you receive? 50:30 - What Memory sticks to you the most?
51:30 - Final Days in the Army
56:59 - What does your career look like today?
59:21 - Joe talking about his father & his time in WWII
1:06:54 - Joe talking about Desmond Doss
1:13:05 - Closing Remarks