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by DIANE SMITH
Aurora -- Many veterans of World War II wanted to leave the military behind after the horrors they saw.
But despite his experiences, the war was the start of a military career for Lloyd Dull, 97, of Aurora, who was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942.
He went on to serve 24 years in the armed forces, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in the 1960s.
"He came back to Akron, and he wanted to work at Firestone like his dad did," his daughter, Barbara Dull, said of her father's post-war experience.
"He didn't like working third shift, and knew it would be forever until he got to first shift. He decided it wasn't the life he wanted and went back to the Army. He got to see a lot of the world."
Dull, an Akron native, moved to California to seek adventure. The 28-year-old was drafted and bused to Camp Callen, a newly constructed camp. He was assigned a fire control officer for anti-aircraft.
There, he met his wife, Marjorie, a "Rosie the Riveter" who also had moved to California and ended up working on planes used by the military. The couple married in June 1943 and had two children. Son Lloyd died two years ago, and Marjorie died in 1989.
Dull earned a Purple Heart during a mission on Omaha Beach on the day after D Day, the invasion of Normandy.
"The Germans were shooting V-1s at us," he said, referring to a type of short-range missile used at the time. "Occasionally, they would fire V-2s at us."
Dull and his unit were in a building when a V-2 landed half a mile from them, shattering the building. Dull suffered a concussion and had shrapnel in his body, but was patched up and sent back into service until the war ended.
But Dull remembers his service fondly. He points out that he rode into Paris the day before Gen. Philippe Leclerc, and received something he will never forget.
A YOUNG GIRL of about 8 approached the jeep, kissed him on the cheek and handed him an embroidered handkerchief, which read, "Welcome to the first American soldier I have met, with my deepest thanks."
"It was my favorite memento of the war," Dull said quietly.
Dull also keeps three large maps from his time in the service. The maps, classified at the time, showed the locations of enemy positions, minefields and bomb wire locations, as well as the defensive positions of the allies.
"It was worth your life to keep that stuff secret," he recalled.
Dull's post-war military service was during the Cold War, and this time, Dull was called to build up the military's anti-aircraft defenses. He spent a lot of time in South America, collecting antique furniture as a remembrance of his time there.
Since retirement, Dull and his daughter have made numerous trips to France, visiting Omaha Beach every time.
Before the 40th anniversary of the war, the family met Andres and Simone Jouvin, who became lifelong friends of the family. Through them, they met Alain and Claudine Chapperon, who have become extended family to Dull and his daughter, sending photos to commemorate every child born and every wedding.
"It's a wonderful relationship we have," Barbara Dull said.
Dull attends programs at Coleman Adult Day Services in Ravenna while his daughter is at work, and a group of students from Waterloo High School visited one day.
One of them mentioned that the French club was going to France, and Dull made a donation so each student could have spending money. After the trip, the students returned so they could share stories about France.
"He's altruistic," Barbara Dull said of her father. "He has a big heart. He likes to help where he can."
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