Dean Stoddard - Army, World War 2

Told by his daughter Mary Ashton

Before Dean went into the army, Bro Elden #1 gave him a blessing, and he was told that if he lived the Order standards and fit in with those over him, he would be protected. He was stationed in Germany in World War II for the American army as a sergeant.

In times of war, there is an unwritten rule that you should not bomb places of worship. They couldn’t take the town because there was a sniper holdup in the top of a church tower so Dean was given the command of taking out the sniper.

He went to the church to see how he could take out the sniper, and when he got in, the only way to get up to the sniper was to go up a tight, winding staircase. When going up the staircase, the turns of the stairwell were so tight you couldn’t see if someone was waiting for you behind the corner all the way up.

As he went up the stairwell, he took a step and listened and took a step and listened. He breathed and then would stop to listen to see if the breathing he heard was his breathing. If it the stairs creaked, he would stop to listen to make sure it was his creak and not the snipers creak, and so it took him a couple of hours to make it up the stairs. Slowly making his way up and listening.

When he finally got to the room at the top of the stairs, he looked inside and saw the sniper asleep. He could see the room was packed full of rations and ammunition that the sniper would have been able to hold them off for months with as many supplies and ammunition that he had.

Dean had a grenade in his hand. He pulled the pin and threw it into the room. While it had taken him a couple of hours to make it up the stairs, he was down the stairs in less than a minute. He completed his mission they were able to take the town so they could get through.

Because of the faith that Brother Dean had in Brother Elden #1 and his blessing, he knew that he would not be harmed. He had a lot of love for the brothers in his company so because of this, he would always volunteer when there was a dangerous mission because he knew he would be safe, and he didn’t want any harm to come to anyone else.

One night,after many nights of volunteering for the dangerous missions, he was woken up by a messenger from the other side. He was told that it was taking too much effort from the other side to keep him safe, and if he volunteered for another mission, he would be on his own, but if he was commanded to go, he had the protection of the Lord. His blood ran cold with fear, and the next day the soldiers were called into formation and were told they had another dangerous mission and asked if there were any volunteers.

Dean had two buddies that had always volunteered with him, and they quickly stepped forward.They turned, glanced, and noticed that Dean had not stepped forward so they quickly returned to regular formation. The commander said, “Stoddard, aren’t you going to volunteer?”

Dean said, “No, I am not going to volunteer for another mission.”

“Will you go if I command you to?” He asked.

“Yes,” Dean told him, and he was commanded to go.

For that mission, they were commanded to take and blow up a bridge. To get to the bridge, they had to cross the railroad tracks that were built across a knoll. The first person tried to cross over the tracks and was shot. The next person again tried to cross and ended up with the same result. Finally, it was Dean’s turn, and he was so fearful and prayed with all of his heart that he could accomplish the mission. All of the sudden, he heard a plane coming in from overhead. Everyone ducked down, not knowing if it was an enemy. The plane came in striking the bridge with a direct hit, completing their dangerous mission.

Another time while off to war, Dean Stoddard and the rest of the men in his company were being heavily bombed by the Germans, and they were holed up in an abandoned building.The bombing and shells were getting closer and closer, and it became so intense it felt like the building would fall down around them.

One of the soldiers in Dean’s company was getting pretty scared and cried out, “We need to surrender, or we are all going to be destroyed!”

Dean took him by his shirt collar and knocked him out cold, and then he turned to the others and said, “Does anyone else want to surrender?”  Everyone else was too shocked and scared to reply. Shortly thereafter, the bombing stopped, and they were alright.

Dean returned home safely from the war and raised a very nice family in the Co-op.  His legacy of honor and service to others lives on to this day.

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