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33 CCharles “Chuck” Kroger, 91, of Wilmington, knows he is one of the few Army veterans of World War II still living. He served as a communications sergeant and received his Purple Heart after both legs were broken by enemy fire as he repaired wire lines used to maintain communications between platoons on a French battlefield. Kroger was assigned to the 84th Infantry Division, which was preparing to cross a tributary to the Lower Rhine section of the Rhine River, which the Germans had flooded as a deterrent. “The artillery came while we were in the town, waiting to cross the river,” he recalled. When the shout went out to get down because of artillery fire, Kroger, who was wearing headphones while he worked on the communications lines, didn’t hear it. “I was standing up, and it took out both legs,” he says. “The (mortar) shell landed right next to me.” He was evacuated to England on a hospital ship and was operated on twice for breaks in both legs. While in an English hospital, he was visited by a gen-eral who gave him his Purple Heart medal. “The general came in, and said, ‘Kroger — I wish I was pinning this on a uniform, not pajamas,’” he says. After his military service, the native New Yorker returned to college at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut, graduating in the 1950s, before beginning his career with the Central Intelligence Agency. Kroger credits his military service with his future career path. “It dawned on me that there was an activity that I could contribute to, and I thought it was important,” he says of his career in public service. After retiring in 1977, he moved to Wilmington. Kroger was a widower with an adult son when he married his wife, Betty, a Wilmington native, in 1981. Kroger’s bravery was further acknowledged when, six years ago, he was belatedly awarded a Bronze Star medal for his actions in 1945. His inquiry into another matter may have prompted a re-examination of his military record, but Kroger isn’t sure why the delay occurred, possibly due to lost paperwork, but he said he was surprised and grateful at the long overdue recognition. The fellowship he finds in the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Cape Fear Chapter 636, serves to keep his ties to his military past alive and gives him membership to a group that shares some similar memories. “Unless you’ve been there, you don’t understand a lot,” he says. Susan Snider | 910.622.4394 • Kelly Strickland | 910.612.6537 • Larisa Gadalla | 910.777.4882 Michelle Clark | 910.367.9767 • Wendy McElhinney | 910.515.5495 Linda Woods | 910.233.8900 • Alison Long | 910.520.5949 949,000 $2142 Deer Island Lane 18th century inspired Charleston home 588,888 $$1,841,122 Waterfront with 24-foot slip $769,000 1020 Windlea Run 2221 Moreland  Drive Private near Landfall Lake $410,000 413 New Kent Drive Walk or bike to Mayfaire $499,994 1304-B N Lumina Avenue  Cute beach getaway 101 Lees Cut Wrightsville Beach with 30-foot slip 809 Fox Ridge Lane $629,000 Private yard with screened porch 604 Gunston Lane Great Landfall value $499,000 As our agent, Michelle demonstrated a strong work ethic, was always available for consultation, continually updated us with relevant sales data and supplied us with all the information and guidance we needed to successfully navigate through a challenging real estate environment. — Bill and Pat www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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