LANDINGVILLE, Pa. -- The 75th anniversary of "Operation Market Garden" is this week, and a veteran in Schuylkill County remembers his experience in that battle.
Sitting in his home tucked away on some farmland near Orwigsburg, 95-year-old George V. Jackson Jr. has some stories to tell.
"As I crossed the bridge, laying on the ground was half the body of a British soldier. I stopped. I looked. I said, 'George, that's what it's all about.' From that day on, I never had no trouble. I lost my buddy the next day. A lot of guys died, but it never bothered me after that," Jackson said.
That's one memory that stood out when Jackson was asked about his experience with the 101st Airborne during World War II. Even all these years later, he still vividly remembers his time at war, especially "Operation Market Garden," which happened 75 years ago this week.
"Took us back to camp and gave us our rifles and our helmets, one clip of ammunition, and four hand grenades, eight rounds. Put us on a truck, dumped us off at Bastogne, and the next thing you know, we were surrounded."
"I'm one of the few guys I think that says I had a good time."
Not many veterans would say that about their time in combat, but that positivity is what Jackson says helped him survive through the most difficult of times as he narrowly escaped death when a bomb went off nearby.
"Shrapnel. They couldn't get it out, so it's still in there. Never bothered me. I got an X-ray one day and that nurse came running out and said, 'You got shrapnel in your shoulder.' I said, 'Yeah, ma'am, I have. Never bothered me.'"
Asked what it's like to be one of the last remaining WWII veterans still alive today, Jackson laughed, smiled wide, and said, 'I hope to be the last one.'
He adds he's feeling great physically. His feet sometimes bother him, but that won't stop him from cutting a rug and dancing.