My great-uncle Floyd (1922-2019) passed away last week at the age of 96. As I noted from the post below in 2016, Floyd was the youngest of the nine siblings in my grandfather’s family. It’s surprisingly strange to me that there are no living members on that branch of my family tree. I’m a historian, so I’m aware this always happens at some point. It shouldn’t seem strange. And yet it does.
Please read the post below and take the time to watch the videos of Floyd telling the story of his experience during World War II.
I will remember Uncle Floyd as a man with a brilliant smile who could talk to anyone about anything. Too all my extended family, my deepest sympathy.
My grandpa Butch (1920-1996), real name Stanley Zobel, was one of nine children born to a family in Fertile, Iowa. Four of the six boys served in World War II, and they all returned home. I’ll tell you about Butch another time, but today I want to talk about my great-uncle Floyd, the youngest and the only one of the nine siblings still living.
Floyd served in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne. I’m going to link to some videos below, but because Floyd’s tone is so humble in those videos, you may want to read this about the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment to fill in some of the blanks and to get an idea of the magnitude of the events recounted.
Floyd’s granddaughter interviewed him on video about his time in the service, and then Floyd’s son-in-law posted it online in 2009. If this was done as a school project, kudos to all teachers that offer alternative methods of studying history.
This interview is 30 minutes long and is posted at www.youtube.com. There are three separate videos, each 10 minutes long. Here are links for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. The video is very well done and includes photos, film clips and maps.
The comments on each of the three videos are also interesting, so make sure you scroll all the way down. These are from people who are interested in the history of this unit and who have family members who served with Floyd. These comments illustrate the close and lasting bonds of those who serve together.
So if you are interested in the “Greatest Generation”, please take the time to listen to my great-uncle Floyd. We don’t always have the opportunity to hear accounts from someone who was there.
Coincidentally, there was a Zobel family reunion in Lincoln, Nebraska this past weekend. Although I was unable to attend, I understand that the potato dumplings were plentiful and that Floyd is still spry and funny at 93.