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WWII veteran recalls time in service

In 1943, a young R.E. Nettles found out he had been drafted into the United States military. It was in the middle of World War II, and Nettles had just turned 18.

“I was just a kid,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

R.E. Nettles in 1943

R.E. Nettles in 1943

Nettles was deployed to New Guinea, Atan and Ulasan as part of the Army’s 32nd Infantry division.

“We didn’t have any rest,” he said. “We were on the move when we weren’t in battle.”

Nettles said a group of five men from Mississippi went through training together and then were sent overseas to join the same company. He said the bonds he developed with those men were the strongest.

“I didn’t get scared; you were just there trying to protect each other,” he said.

Nettles said they took the greatest hit in Ulasan where they lost about half of the company.

“I’m just proud I made it back home without getting boned up,” he said.

Nettles was discharged in January of 1946.