Veteran reflects on life

Published 3:53 pm Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alabama native Amos Myles graduated from Ensley High, went to work at A & P Grocers and then volunteered for the Army.

In February 1943, he was sent to the old Camp McCain in Mississippi. From there he went to Newport News, Va. where orders to ship overseas took him to North Africa as a member of the now famous 34th Infantry – Red Bull. His military stories are detailed and accurate and he has mementos and clippings galore.

From ammo carrier to machine gunner, he and M Company headed toward Anzio on a rescue mission. The troops at Anzio finally broke loose and headed toward Rome. The 34th Infantry was to intercept and conquer the 34th German Army.

There was a pass thru the mountains of Italy that was a possible escape route for the Germans. On this pass, Myles and his outfit not only conquered the German Army, but discovered Mussolini and his mistress hiding in a large trunk. On the way, the Americans had traveled through flat land and heat and mountains and freezing weather. Germans could be found hiding in huge haystacks along the way.

Through the Po Valley into Leghorn and through numerous cities they had traveled. The locals who had been tortured by Mussolini bayoneted and hung the dictator and his mistress upside down. Myles tells tales that cannot be written in this column. He has pictures that cannot be shown.

The highlight of all this mess was that Pope Pius XII blessed Myles and his buddies at the Vatican. Myles was close enough to touch him but “of course you don’t do that,” Myles said.

At the end of his tour, Myles didn’t have enough “points” to go home immediately. Finally on Christmas Day, their ship came into the harbor with the Statue of Liberty welcoming them. New Years day he was knocking on his Mom’s door. His father had died during the war – in fact Myles received that bad news from his Chaplain as he was on the front lines.

Back to A & P he went, later transferring to the Woodlawn store. One day a high school girl was picking out apples for her mother. She checked out apples and Myles checked her out. Six months later, in June 1952, they were married. He was 29 and she was 18. He and his wife have been blessed with two sons and four grandsons.

Myles has no complaints – says life has been great to him. However, he worries about the war we are in now and the trouble brewing in North Korea.

His biggest blessings — his wife and his life.