Baldwin vet recounts Battle of the Bulge
For 90-year-old David Marshall, it's just another day pumping iron at Synergy Fitness Club in Baldwin.
At 5 feet, 6 inches, the Baldwin native and World War II veteran can still bench press 105 pounds and impress people of all ages with his three days-a-week workouts.
Drafted in 1943, Marshall was one of 600,000 American soldiers on the frontlines of the Battle of the Bulge - one of the biggest and bloodiest battles of World War II.
Adolf Hitler launched the battle in the frozen forests of Belgium on Dec. 16, 1944 in a last-ditch effort to split the Allied armies in northwest Europe. Marshall remembers the blistering German assault - constantly moving from one position to another while directing fire on enemy attacks.
"The Germans were sending troops in who spoke English, wearing American uniforms," Marshall told News 12. "They infiltrated our lines, caused havoc, blowing bridges...The only way to stay alive is to keep going. If you sit still, you're going to lose. You're going to die."
On Jan. 28, 1945, Allied forces attacked the Nazis in unison. Germany surrendered five months later, but it was a costly victory. A total of 19,000 Americans were killed in the Battle of the Bulge.
For the first 50 years after the war, Marshall didn't talk about it to anyone because it was too painful. Today, he shares his war stories to remind people about how the sacrifices of the past made today's freedom possible.
"I'm proud. We fought...two separate wars and came out ahead. It shows how good we are, how good we can be and should be," said Marshall.