Veterans History Project returns to Lake County courthouse

 
 
Updated 11/12/2018 5:15 PM
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  • The 19th Judicial Circuit and members of the Lake County Bar Association celebrate Veterans Day hosting the seventh annual Veterans History Project Monday in Waukegan. Veterans talked about their military service during interviews that are recorded, preserved and shipped to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

      The 19th Judicial Circuit and members of the Lake County Bar Association celebrate Veterans Day hosting the seventh annual Veterans History Project Monday in Waukegan. Veterans talked about their military service during interviews that are recorded, preserved and shipped to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Lee Filas | Staff Photographer

  • A veteran participates in the seventh annual Veterans History Project Monday in Waukegan.

      A veteran participates in the seventh annual Veterans History Project Monday in Waukegan. Lee Filas | Staff Photographer

Staff Sgt. Albert Mampre said he was lying in field in Holland next to wounded Easy Company Lt. Robert Brewer while a German sniper was shooting at them from the second floor of a house.

It had grown quiet, so Mampre spoke up.

"I asked him, "Are you dead? Because, if you are, I'm gonna go," Mampre said with a laugh at his memory.

Mampre, a medic and identified Monday as the last living member of the famed "Band of Brothers" of the 101st Airborne, 506 Paratrooper Regiment during World War II, said Brewer acknowledged he was still alive. A short time later, a bullet from the sniper hit Mampre in the leg, just above his boot.

In all, five people were shot in that field, but Mampre and Brewer survived.

The personal accounts of Mampre and 29 other veterans about their time in service to America were part of Monday's Veterans Day festivities during the seventh annual Veterans History Project at the Lake County courthouse.

The soldiers' accounts were recorded and transcribed by volunteer court reporters from the 19th Judicial Circuit. The transcripts will be preserved and shipped to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Interviewees included 30 servicemen and women from the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy who were deployed in World War II, Vietnam War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Cold War and Korean War.

Lake County judges, private lawyers, and attorneys from the Lake County state's attorney's and public defender's offices questioned veterans about their military service.

The morning started with speeches by Lake County Chief Judge Jay Ukena, Circuit Judge Chuck Smith, and Carol Calabresa, acting chairwoman of the Lake County Board.

"On behalf of the entire Lake County Board, I want to thank the veterans for your stories and sharing them today," Calabresa said. "But, most of all, I want to thank you for serving your country so bravely."

Mampre, who was interviewed by attorney David Winer, received two Purple Hearts during World War II. He was also a medic during Operation Market Garden and worked a first aid station during the Siege of Bastogne, during the Battle of the Bulge.

"I never did have that feeling that we wouldn't make it out of there alive," Mampre said about Bastogne.

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