Bill Woodrow

'They really did a job on us'


Long after he left Europe, Bill Woodrow continued to fight the Nazis in his sleep.

He battled at night, unconscious in his Orland Park home, his subconscious flashing back to the years he spent in Italy during the war. It seemed, to him, that the Germans never let up.

"They really did a job on us."

On a particularly nice day with a lull in the action, the men in Woodrow's 34th Infantry Division - the Red Bulls - were sitting around.

The Germans decided in the middle of the afternoon to set up some big guns.

They fired shells right at Woodrow's guys, blasting a giant hole in the ground.

Planks heavy as railroad ties fell over it, covering some men who'd been sitting in the back with dirt and wood.

Woodrow started digging, freeing his buddies.

"They decided they were all settled in on their artillery, so they stopped firing and it went back to normal, " the 88-year-old said.

"They'd put one in there every now and again just for the heck of it, just to see if we were still alive."

Another time, the company got sent back to what they called the kitchen area for some rest. They got to change the clothes they'd worn for weeks and finally shower.

"Well, we were playing cards, and all of a sudden at like 2 in the morning, it got like daylight."

German bombs quickly followed German flares.

"Three guys in the ditch, we ended with six of us, everybody diving in! The worst thing was they bombed our beer ration. Beer was all over the streets."

Somewhere north of Rome, Woodrow got a Purple Heart, in a grim story that makes him laugh.

"You won't believe what happened," he starts.

"We had a bunch of boys that were wounded out in the field. Guy came up with a jeep with a flag on it, an emergency flag. He says 'I need help.' I said, 'I'll go with you.'

"We took the jeep and we went out together and we rolled them up on the jeep, a stretcher here, one there."

Woodrow growls, mimicking the bomb that dropped.

"It came right on top of us. And those punks were crying. They got up and ran like hell. Crying!

"They brought us out there to get them. The driver and me both got them. They just got up and ran!"